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  • TFRStaff 8:26 am on May 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals, ,   

    We don’t need a creed 

    The scripture for today, May 4, is 1st Peter 5:4 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

    “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

    Many denominations appoint someone to be the head of their religion at their world headquarters. He goes by different titles — bishop, high priest, father, president. Their headquarters may be a small office or an entire complex. From here the head meets regularly with others to make decisions for their denomination. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 1:02 pm on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , devotionals,   

    Inspired men with a passion 

    The scripture for today, April 15, is 1st John 4:15 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

    “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”

    The New Testament was written by people who walked and talked with Jesus. They saw his miracles, they heard his amazing words. They were eyewitnesses. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 8:11 am on March 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals,   

    Most think of Christianity in a way foreign to Scripture 

    buffet-religion“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” Ephesians 4:4-6.

    Many like buffet restaurants that give us a good excuse to eat as much of our favorite foods as we want. We pick and choose what we like while rejecting what we don’t like.

    That’s how most think of Christianity—that Jesus is the vine and denominations are the branches. We think it picky to point out teachings that oppose other groups or the Bible because if you don’t like a particular dish, just load up your plate from another. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 9:34 am on October 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, ,   

    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


  • TFRStaff 9:58 am on April 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals, Methuselah   

    Old As The Hills (Alan Smith) 

    ===== Thursday’s Thought For The Day (April 4, 2013) =====


    The census taker knocked on the lady’s door. She answered all his questions except one. She refused to tell him her age.

    “But everyone tells their age to the census taker,” he said.

    “Did Miss Maisy Hill, and Miss Daisy Hill tell you their ages?” she asked.

    “Certainly,” he replied.

    “Well, I’m the same age as they are,” she snapped.

    The census taker simply wrote on the form, “As old as the Hills.”

    You may have heard that our nation’s oldest person, a 113-year-old woman, died recently just weeks before her 114th birthday. The world’s oldest person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group, is a Japanese man, who will turn 116 next week. The oldest person ever on record was a Frenchwoman who was 122 when she died in 1997. All of these could easily be described with the phrase, “As old as the hills.”

    But they are all babies when compared with Methuselah. You recognize his name. He’s known in the Bible for one thing — being the oldest person mentioned. 969 years old! That’s a lot of years. And I think it’s sad. Not that he was so old, but because that’s what he is known for. He’s not known for his great faith, for his moral courage, or for his righteousness. He’s known for being old.

    In fact, if you do the math, you come up with an interesting fact — Methuselah died the year it started flooding. Was it just a coincidence, or was Methuselah one of the many who perished in that judgment of God? We don’t know.

    I just pray that some day I’ll be remembered, not for the number of years I lived upon this earth, but for the way that I lived while I was here.

    “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31)

    Have a great day!

    Alan Smith
    Helen Street Church of Christ
    Fayetteville, North Carolina

    To subscribe to “Thought For the Day,” send a blank email to join-thought-for-the-day@hub.xc.org

    Send any comments or questions to alansmith.servant@gmail.com

  • TFRStaff 3:10 pm on April 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, ,   

    How love grows within us (Doug Kashorek) 

    “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” Ephesians 4:2.

    We’ve explored why the greatest of gifts God gave us is love. Now we must see how love grows within us as a fruit of the Spirit. All around the North Country, we’ll soon see trees in full blossom. It will be many months, though, until itinerants will fill totes with apples. The same goes for the fruits of the Spirit. That’s why we are to be humble, gentle, and patient with others–bearing with one another in love. ‘Bearing with one another’ implies a perseverance that has built up over time. I still remember tearing up the day I’d read a former student whom I’d had years earlier was hurt in a motorcycle wreck. Though he had made my first year of teaching a true trial by fire, I had worked with him a lot … and, I guess, grown to love him – enough so that the mention of his name made the decade disappear. I suppose that that was the love of the father, who, filled with compassion, ran to his son. While we are the prodigal in that parable and not to be the older brother, the fruit of love growing in us is to be like his for others that we need to bear with.

    How’s the fruit of love growing within you?

    Doug Kashorek

    Plattsburgh church of Christ


    author of Kin of Cain

    a Christian historical fantasy


  • TFRStaff 9:04 am on November 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , devotionals, ,   

    Fat, not frugality: Doug Kashorek 

    “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” Romans 5:3-4.

    No, this isn’t the season to speak about suffering building character; it’s the season of warm, opulent comfort. We like images of roaring fires in a room decked in gold and silver and holly, tables laden with every meat and casserole and pie, and piles of presents under a fat and bejeweled evergreen.

    Truth is: this world is too much our home, and instead of celebrating a Savior being born a man to die for His blood to cleanse our sins, we allow ourselves to become mesmerized by a jolly old elf in a red suit and his sugar-cookie-baking wife. We want fat, not frugality. We put down roots in this life instead of yearning for the next. But God’s all about ‘Character, not Comfort.’

    Why else would Paul cry out, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead”?

    This time of year can be an opportunity for the gospel, but only if those who have obeyed it aren’t too busy loosening our belts and falling asleep by the fire.

    Do you seek comfort more than character?

    Doug Kashorek

    Plattsburgh church of Christ


    [I bought the rights to Kin of Cain from the publisher, so I'm needing to reduce my inventory to recoup the cost. So, checks written out to me for $12.00 and sent to PO Box 2659, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, will cover the signed book (at my cost), sales tax, and shipping. I'll even throw in a bookmark. This is an even cheaper deal than my website: http://www.douglaskashorek.com.

  • Randal 7:33 am on October 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , devotionals, divine faithfulness, Jesus' wife   

    So Jesus had a wife, did he? 

    People get all bent out of shape about supposed discoveries like the manuscript that claimed Jesus had a wife. Or they get excited about the latest discovery of Noah’s ark. (Poor Noah must have built a dozen of them.) I didn’t even bother to read beyond the Twitter headline about the wife claim. You can pretty well be sure that if a major media outlet touts it, it’s wrong. Scripture is complete in itself, and our faith ought not to be shaken by such news. Nor should our faith rest in said archaeological confirmations. Or in the Shroud. If the words of Scripture do not convince, no material evidence will either.

    • The FPress website was down for over 24 hours. This morning it appears to be back up. These things happen, seems like, just as you’re working on something or depending on it to be online.

    • For those who like to keep up with us, our latest ministry report is now online in PDF format. This time, I did a little Zingers feature, one-liners on things happening around here and in the work.

    • Brad Cobb sent out the following email. which I’ve slightly edited for length.

    Michael Shank is not preaching full-time, and is looking for secular work so that he doesn’t have to move his family. Ordering some of his book, Muscle and a Shovel, now would be a good time, for his benefit. The congregation here ordered another hundred a few weeks ago, and they’re already gone. We’re considering placing an order for another 200 this week (and we’re a congregation of 75 people).

    Last week, a Christian in the next town over confided in one of the members that he was struggling with his attitude and anger and in doubting his faith. This member gave him a copy of Muscle and a Shovel. Yesterday, the man called our member, thanking her for the book, said his faith has been incredibly strengthened because of it, and that because of reading just the first half of the book (he’s not done yet), he conducted the first Bible study he’s ever conducted with three other people.

    If you can help out Mike (and trust me, it will help you also), please order his book from http://www.MichaelShankMinistries.com.

    I’ve not read the book, but I hear good things about it.

    • After the first presidential debate on Wednesday, several saints on Facebook made comments that called attention to Jesus’ discussions with the religious leaders of his day, an attempt to redirect attention from politics to spiritual matters. I liked that. It seemed effective for me, so I hope it was for others as well.

    • I like devotional thoughts (and write them, too) and follow not a few brethren’s writings. On occasion I read outside the brotherhood, too, like this one, on BibleGateway.com, about the integrity of the gospels, taken from the Case for Christ Study Bible by Lee Strobel. Seems to me to be quite a challenge to talk about apologetics in a devotional format, but maybe it works for those who already believe. Reinforcement. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 9:41 am on September 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, ,   

    Leading back to slavery 

    Subject: Weekly Devotional for 9/16/12

    “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery” Nehemiah 9:17.

    In their restoration to God and rebuilding of Jerusalem, the Israelites confess their sins and those of their fathers – among them being this incident from their nation’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness. So many want to lead without really knowing the way. Through the plagues and the Red Sea, God had rescued His people from slavery. In their rebellion God’s people appointed a leader to return to that slavery. Jesus said that if the blind lead the blind, they both will fall into a pit. But in our case we often idolize celebrities, sports or political figures who influence us right back into the slavery of sin. Sometimes the leaders we appoint in our rebellion are fleshly desires, time-wasters, and selfishness we yield to.

    Who or what is leading you?

    Doug Kashorek (More …)

  • Larry Miles 7:10 am on June 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals,   

    “Renewing Your Mind Spiritually” eBook available as ePub 

    my e-book has been OK ed for distribution from Barnes and Noble in the epub (Nook) format — please click on the link below for more info

    Renewing Your Mind Spiritually” (Devotional Articles by Larry Miles) -

    I hope you will check it out. Please pray that it can be used, along with the Kindle version through Amazon, to help Christians grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Randal 4:22 am on October 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, ,   

    I will follow you 

    Daily Bible Devotional.

    DiscipleshipThe Mt. of Olives Christian Camp, like many Christian youth camps, excels in teaching the gospel to children and adolescents. But caution is needed: sometimes a young person becomes enamored with the atmosphere and wants to be baptized, without considering the cost of following Jesus after going home.

    Then an expert in the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
    Matthew 8:19 NET

    It must be deliberate that, both before and after this narrative of the scribe, Matthew registers three examples of Jesus’ cures. It appears that the scribe becomes enamored with Jesus’ power to bring effective change in people’s lives.

    Maybe Matthew wants to say that it’s one thing to receive a cure from Christ, but another to give him one’s life.

    One might understand the Lord’s answer to the man as a bucket of cold water. He does not receive him with open arms.

    Take Peter as an example. It’s wonderful that Jesus comes to live in his house and cures his mother-in-law, but his house becomes surrounded by multitudes seeking healings (verses 14-16).

    Being a follower means putting oneself at the Lord’s disposal, being a servant as Christ served. It’s more that clicking “Like.”

    Have you considered the cost, now that you want to follow him, after you’ve decided to be baptized?

    Personal website is still inoperable, so we’re coming here again today.

  • Randal 12:22 pm on June 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alan Smith, devotionals, , tftd, ,   

    Understanding what God says: Alan Smith 

    ===== Thursday’s Thought For The Day (June 9, 2011) =====


    A Swiss guy, looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting.

    “Entschuldigung, koennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?” he says. The two Americans just stare at him.

    “Excusez-moi, parlez vous Francais?” The two continue to stare.

    “Parlare Italiano?” No response.

    “Hablan ustedes Espanol?” Still nothing.

    The Swiss guy drives off, extremely disgusted.

    The first American turns to the second and says, “Y’know, maybe we should learn a foreign language….”

    “Why?” says the other, “That fellow knew four languages, and it didn’t do him any good.”

    It’s true. Knowing a lot of languages is no guarantee that you can communicate with someone (though it may increase your chances!). Even Jesus, the great communicator, found that there were people who couldn’t understand what he was saying.

    “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand….” (Matthew 13:13)

    Why? It wasn’t a problem of languages; it was a problem of the heart.

    “For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:15)

    Father, there are times when I am so slow to understand what you would have me to say and do. Though you speak clearly to me through your Word, my heart is not always receptive to what you have to say. Please help me to open my eyes and ears, and to get rid of everything that stands in the way of me hearing your voice. In Jesus’ name, amen.

    Have a great day!

    Alan Smith
    Helen Street Church of Christ
    Fayetteville, North Carolina


    To subscribe to “Thought For the Day,” send a blank email to join-thought-for-the-day@hub.xc.org

    More TFTD messages can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thought-For-The-Day/150294201666410

    • Jason Longwith 1:04 pm on June 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for posting this here Randal. Alan was the preacher at White House church of Christ in TN while we attended there. He and his family are wonderful people and he is also the one who baptized my wife.

  • Randal 11:32 am on June 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals, , ,   

    He who speaks in a tongue 

    on speaking other languagesThe Missus and I started using an online Flashcard service to memorize our Bible verses for the 100 Days of Scripture. Of course, we’re doing it in Portuguese. You can start your own card set in English, if you like. Nifty service. (OK, so, yes, I forgot and created the name of it in English. One of the hazards of being bilingual.)

    • Speaking of bilingual, you’ve probably heard me tell this joke, which I recalled after reading Alan Smith’s devotional yesterday. Goes like this. What do you call a person who speaks several languages? A polyglot. And a person who speaks two languages? Bilingual. And a person who speaks just one language? An American.

    • Alan’s devotional, you ask? I’ll see if I still have it and post it. It’s not online that I can find. He does a great job on those. Recommended.

    • Going to be a busy weekend. Tomorrow morning, I teach the three-hour advanced study on the Biblical model, part 3. Four friends of The Maiden are coming tomorrow and staying through Sunday, for her birthday. (She asked for a Portuguese/English bilingual Bible for her present.) I’m preaching Sunday at both SJCampos and Taubaté, a rare occurrence these days. Oh, and there’s the church bulletin to do still.

    • GBN Program Director Jim Dearman was kind enough to send an article about Barry Gilreath to BNc, “The Dream of God.” Be sure to read it.

    • Once upon a time there was a little poetry group called Christian Poets. It didn’t last long. I must have had too many irons in the fire to keep it going. Swapping out some poems with Rick K. recently has made me wish it was still active. It had the niftiest little forum, which I still am partial to.

  • Randal 6:33 am on May 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals, , John Donne, meditations   

    ‘Whensoever mine shall come’ 

    Winter is setting in, it seems. Although the day invites laziness — cloudy, 57º, with a forecast of rain — much needs to be done today. No meetings scheduled, but plenty of other tasks, writing and such. The Maiden is teaching English at a language school on Saturday mornings from 8-11 a.m., so the mornings are quieter. Not that she’s a noisy person, no.

    • The daily devotional is done already. I wish I could keep up the English translation, but that’s down the list of important tasks. Maybe today, who knows? I used to make a bit of a deal about them being translated from the Portuguese, but these days I just stick them on my blog and let it go at that.

    • Last night, I talked to my parents for about an hour. I enjoy catching up with them, grateful to have them in my life still. Keeps me up with the old hometown as well. The other day, while in BK, the retired people’s hangout, they ran into an old school friend of mine I’ve not seen since 1975, when I transferred from Lafe school after finishing the 11th grade. Lots of water under the bridge since then.

    • Yes, I went to the same school, same building, for 11 years, then transferred my last year to Marmaduke High School, into a class three times larger. I thought it was the end of the world. Things have a way of turning out, though.

    • Thanks to Richard M. for the kind review of my book, Choose!. The sequel has gotten gummed up somewhere, but maybe I can brush off that project for another rousing success. After some other items get checked off the list.

    • Many people we know have passed on recently, not to mention the many deaths from the tornadoes, floods, and other disasters that have struck towns and cities around the globe. We pray, we send money, some are able to go and give physical help. Our brief mortality rings in our ears constantly, does it not? But the Christian is not disheartened by it. On the contrary, he can say as John Donne, in his Meditation XVI:

    God hath kept the power of death in his own hands, lest any man should bribe death. If man knew the gain of death, the ease of death, he would solicit, he would provoke death to assist him by any hand which he might use. But as when men see many of their own professions preferred, it ministers a hope that that may light upon them; so when these hourly bells tell me of so many funerals of men like me, it presents, if not a desire that it may, yet a comfort whensoever mine shall come.

    Than with that, what better way to conclude?

  • Ron Thomas 4:03 am on April 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals   

    You Insult Us Also 

    This may come as a surprise to you, but the Lord’s words were interpreted as an insult. In Luke 11:45 (ESV) the religious leaders took the Lord’s words as an insult when He said that people walk over them as they are unmarked graves. The Lord was not intending an insult as much as he was being very pointed in His remarks. The insult received was the result of the interpreter’s hearing. Take for example the proverb the Lord used when He spoke to the woman desiring Him to heal her child (dogs); she could have taken that as an insult, instead she took that as a lesson to be learned and a teaching to be extended. The Lord was pleased. So, rather than being overly sensitive (thin skinned) let us listen and learn. Moreover, let us also be mindful of the words we speak; our words are to be seasoned with salt, not salty language (Colossians 4:5-6).


  • TFRStaff 7:42 am on March 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals, , Lord's table   

    BibleTalk: What the Lord’s Supper Does For Us 

    Steve Preston’s BibleTalk on the Lord’s Supper. Any thoughts on the supper are good to consider, these especially so.

    One avenue of worship to God is what we call the Lord’s Supper. It is a reflection of what our Lord Jesus has done for us. When we partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine, we are partaking of that sacrifice that was made for our sins. It is an act of worship that is as important as anything else that we might do during the assembly. This lesson will focus on two things that the Lord’s Supper does for us.

    First, partaking of the Lord’s Supper reminds us of Jesus’ death. 1 Cor. 11:26 says “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” What was so important about the death of Christ that it needed to be remembered “often”? The death of Christ is what gives each of us a chance to make it to heaven. His death was the greatest sacrifice, the only sacrifice that could make atonement for our sins. Christ is the only man that has ever lived on the earth that didn’t deserve to die. In a similar fashion to the passage in I Cor., Luke 22:19-20 tells us that Jesus “took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Jesus was preparing His disciples for what was about to happen. He gave His body for the life of the world. Jesus shed His precious blood for us even while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:6-8; Matthew 26:28).

    Secondly, the Lord’s Supper reminds us that we are sinners in need of saving. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). If not for man’s sin, Jesus would have remained in heaven (Psalm 8:4-5). Matthew 20:28 declares “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Sin has “kidnapped” man and the blood of Jesus was the ransom. Jesus was the only one that could have paid the debt. Scripture also tells us that “.almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). There was no other way for our sins to be remitted but by the blood of Christ. Hebrews 9:28 reinforces this idea by saying “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.”

    Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is a very solemn event. It is a time when we look back to the sacrifice that Jesus made for all people for all time. As we consume the bread and the fruit of the vine, let us meditate on the death of our saviour and pray to the Father thanking Him for giving up His only Son that we might be saved. Hebrews 10:18 tells us there is now no more offering for sin since our Lord offered Himself. The Lord’s Supper helps us to remember the offering that Jesus made.

    Sign up for BibleTalk, short messages

    In Christ, Steve Preston

    from God’s word, at bibletalk-subscribe@freegroups.net
    or on the web at freegroups.net/groups/bibletalk

  • TFRStaff 4:36 am on March 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, , ,   

    Glenn Hitchcock: Prayer 

    Prayer is asking, seeking and knocking at a door for something we do not have, which we desire, and which God has promised us.

    Prayer is a direct address to God. “In everything let your request be made known unto God.”

    Prayer secures blessings and makes men better because it reaches the ear of God.

    Prayer is only for the betterment of men when it has affected God and moved him to do something for men. Prayer affects men by affecting God. Prayer moves men because it moves God to move men.

    Faith must have a tongue by which it can speak. Prayer is the tongue of faith. Faith must receive. Prayer is the hand of faith reached out to receive.

    Prayer asks. Faith lays its hands on the things asked for. Prayer is not a sweet little privilege. It is a great prerogative, far-reaching in its effect.

    Prayer is not a mere episode of the Christian life. Rather the whole life is a preparation for and a result of prayer. In its condition, prayer is the sum of religion. Faith is but a channel of prayer. Faith gives prayer wings and swiftness.

    What forces lie in importunate prayer! What mighty results are gained by it in one night’s struggle in praying! God is affected and changed in attitude and men are transformed in character and destiny. Satan dreads nothing but prayer.

    "Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day" by Glenn Hitchcock

  • TFRStaff 6:38 am on November 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals,   

    Find it all on The Christian Hub 

    For the best articles, posts, and information in the brotherhood, The Christian Hub pulls together sources from all over and brings them to you in one place. You can even make it your home page, just check the explanations on the site if you need them.

    A special feature is Ron Thomas’s Pointers, recommendations of articles that he’s read and which the site has linked to.

    Many names you’ll recognize, like Neal Pollard and Cindy Colley, plus many of our own: Weylan, Jeff, Mike R., Richard M., Daniel, plus the BNc, Forthright, and TFR sites.

    There are also sections on missions, church websites, The Equip Network, Daniel’s Daily Devotional, and Quick Bible Truths.

    It’s all there, on a single page. No wonder it’s called the site to find them all! The Christian Hub!

  • Randal 7:58 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, ,   

    When you should stop praying 

    Two items here. One, Steve Higginbotham’s excellent devotional today:

    MercEmail A Weekly Devotional by Steve Higginbotham
    Stop Praying!
    October 29, 2010

    Stop praying? Now, that’s not what you typically hear, but that’s exactly
    what God once told Moses. Not that God was frowning on prayer, but the time
    for praying without action had passed. It was time to act. God told Moses
    to tell the children of Israel to “move forward!” (Exodus 14:15).

    Friends, could it be time for you to stop praying and “move forward?”
    Understand this one thing; many of the prayers we have prayed to God have
    already been answered. He has said “yes.” Yet, we remain in a quandary,
    not because God hasn’t answered, but because we haven’t “moved forward.” My
    point is, “Don’t just sit there and continue to simply pray when you can
    “move forward” and receive God’s answer to the prayers you’ve been praying.

    Copyright C 2010, Steve Higginbotham. Permission is granted to copy these

    Two, this is exactly what I’ve said we ought to understand in Ananias’s words to Saul in Damascus, where the preacher found the persecutor praying and fasting:

    And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name. (Acts 22:16 NET, emphasis mine)

    What should Saul get up from doing? From praying and fasting. It was time to stop praying and time to obey the Lord by being baptized to get rid of his sins.

    Can you imagine some other moments when it would be appropriate to say, “Stop praying”?


  • Randal 5:36 am on October 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, various   

    Off to pick up #1 at the airport, which is about an hour from our house, in good traffic. That will take most of the morning, so we’ll let yesterday’s Nudge about the apple cart stay up for today, in hopes that a few more Fellows will chime in.

    Did I post yesterday to mention the devotional thought “Follow Me”? The Word Cue offers a bit more on signficant terms in the biblical text.

    If you’ve not subscribed already, be sure to sign up to the email subscription, at top right, just above the search feature. You’ll get a teaser by email with each post made on TFR.

    A parting thought as I head out the door, to begin the day, from 1 Chr. 16:27: “Majestic splendor emanates from him, he is the source of strength and joy” (NET).

    • J. Randal Matheny 9:42 am on October 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      We got him and made it back safely. Good to have him for a few days. Was a bit of traffic approaching the megalopolis, but nothing terrible.

  • Randal 3:15 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals   

    Judging others, Matthew 7 

    Speaking of devotionals. Usually, I translate my “God with Us” devotional from Portuguese to English, since in the former is where we maintain the actual website and email list, so that on the occasion when I turn it into the mother tongue, I just put it on my personal site.

    Today, however, I wrote it out first in English. Don’t ask me why. Maybe because I wrote about devotionals today on TFR. Or I’m still recovering from our trip to the US. Or perhaps it’s because I was using mainly English study resources. No matter.

    I’ve revamped the format of the devotional, including a prayer, a word cue (vocabulary), and an Action Question. Several good links, too. You may be interested in hopping over to read “Stop Criticizing Others.”

  • Randal 5:47 am on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotional books, , devotionals, quiet times   

    Devotional guides I’ve used 

    Over the years, I’ve used a number of devotional guides. For two or three years, though perhaps not consecutively, back around the late 80s, early 90s, I read through Oswald Chambers’s My Utmost for His Highest. For several years we subscribed to, and I wrote for, 21st Century Christian’s Power for Today. I bought some other devotional books, but they didn’t sustain me, couldn’t keep my interest.

    I see a difference in devotional guides and articles that have a devotional slant to them. The latter are legion on the Internet, but the former still aren’t widespread. The guides usually have, at the very least, besides being marked by dates, set Bible readings or verses and often a prayer. Some are quite elaborate, adding a main thought, quotes, or other items to add value and interest.

    This year, I’m not following any guide, just doing my own personal Bible reading and prayer, but lately I’ve been peeking in on this Daily Devotional. Time will tell if it has any denominational slants or hobbies that will turn me off, or if it has enough depth of thought to sustain interest.

    Update: I forgot to mention our own Don Ruhl’s Email Devotionals, sent out twice daily, which would, for me, qualify as a devotional guide, including suggested Bible readings, and using them as the basis for his thoughts. Don doesn’t miss a lick, and has provided me with plenty of food for thought.

  • Randal 4:52 am on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals, ,   

    Daily Nudge: devotional guides — and news 

    Do you use or have you used a devotional guide in your personal time or quiet time, as it used to be called? A post that quoted from one daily devotional book a couple days back reminds me to ask this one. Lots of them out there. Our brethren, for example, publish Power for Today, which I contribute to for a period of years.

    Now, I’m not talking about biblical articles as such, but a real devotional guide. Some do devotional articles, but somehow I see a difference.

    My news: Friend Mike Benson is in Tanzania teaching at the Andrew Connally school on Revelation, I believe. I’ve watched his Facebook status posts. And I posted an item yesterday about the launch of ETSPM’s “The Journal.”

    What news do you have this fine Tuesday?

    As always, we’re happy to hear from our readers on the Nudge.

    • Don Ruhl 6:36 am on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Randal, What would you say is the difference or differences between a devotional guide and a devotional article? Don

    • J. Randal Matheny 6:49 am on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, Don, see my post on Devotional Guides I’ve Used, where I attempt an explanation. I probably need to firm up that distinction. Your Email Devotionals (which we call “Twice Blessed” on Forthright.net, for other people’s information) I’d probably tend to put in the guides, rather than articles, since they are dated, always regular, and offer a reading. Probably another distinction I might make — though I’d have to think it through more — would be that devotional articles tend to be longer than the meditations in the devotional guides. So yours would also fit well under guides, as far as that one would be concerned.

      I asked myself what I was leaving out on the post. Now I know. Will do an update and mention it.

  • Daniel Haynes 7:08 am on July 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, ,   

    When I Consider the Stars 

    There will be plenty of objects lighting up the sky over the weekend, most of them accompanied by a loud explosion. Like a lot of other people, I love shooting off fireworks.

    But the objects we briefly shoot into the air fade away quickly and simply can’t compare with what God has placed in the sky. (Read more at The Proclaimer)

  • Randal 7:59 pm on March 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals,   

    One mother’s solution to private prayer 

    As I finished my post on this subject, I remembered something I’d read about John Wesley’s mother. I found this, supposedly, from Dick Eastman’s book, but I had to clean up the text. It gets the idea out there, however.

    “Susannah Wesley, the mother of nineteen children, including John and Charles, had no specific place for prayer. So at the chosen time for her spiritual exercise she would take her apron and pull it over her face. Her children were instructed never to disturb Mother when she was praying in her apron.” (The Hour that Changes the World, page 21)

  • Randal 7:33 pm on March 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: communing with God, devotionals   

    My place alone with God 

    Until I took it home, I had a comfortable cloth folding chair at the office, which sat on the only rug next to my bookshelves of Bible commentaries. Now I use a plastic chair. My office, named Snuggery, is a rented spot, since the church here doesn’t have a building, and I have too many books to park them at home. So I have a quiet place, most of the time, to read, write and commune with the Lord.

    We recently built a small varanda on the back of our house, and I want to get in the habit of using that, as well.

  • Randal 9:54 am on March 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals, ,   

    Daily Nudge: spot — and news 

    Where is the place you go to be alone with God? is the Daily Nudge on this overcast Wednesday morning.  Is there a spot you retreat to, a corner of the world where you meet him? If so, what makes that place a good one for your regular encounters with the Lord?

    Another late one for me last night, but for good reasons. The body is slow to surface from the morning grogginess. I usually hit the floor with eyes wide open, but the eyelids are still heavy from a sound sleep. I give thanks for falling asleep quickly and snoozing soundly. That’s a great blessing.

    Sorry for the personal bit. Seems we all like to talk about our sleep and eating habits. I’m no exception in that.

    So, can we can some real news here? What have you today?

    In São Paulo, an elderly brother, Abramo Lucarelli, is in the hospital in serious condition with pneumonia. He has been a mainstay in the work in the capital for many years, having served as a bishop in two congregations there. A good man through and through.

    • Mike Riley 11:58 am on March 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Randal, sorry to hear about Bro. Lucarelli being in the hospital. We will be praying for the Lord to guide the hands that are ministering to him, that his health will be fully restored.

  • Daniel Haynes 5:39 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , devotionals   

    Elm or Evergreen? 

    Several years ago, The Wall Street Journal carried a story about Sally, an overly conscientious youngster who made herself miserable over the smallest failures and setbacks. Early one fall, while the leaves were still on the trees, there was an exceptionally heavy snowstorm. Sally’s grandfather took her for a drive during which he said,

    “Notice those elms; the branches are so badly broken that the trees may die. But just look at those pines and evergreens. They are completely undamaged by the storm. My child, there are two kinds of trees in the world, the foolish and the wise. An elm holds its branches rigid. As it becomes weighted down, eventually its limbs break. But when an evergreen is loaded, it simply relaxes, lowers its branches, and lets the burden slip away. And so it remains unharmed. Be a pine tree, granddaughter.”

    Christians who give all their cares to the Lord can face life’s burdens much better than those who try to bear the weight themselves.

    “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

    “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

    Taken from Glad Tidings

  • Randal 11:33 am on February 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, ,   

    Daily Nudge and Tuesday news 

    Today’s Daily Nudge asks the Fellows (and anybody else who wants to reply here), are you a morning or night person? Now, how does that affect your personal devotional time? Some people grope blindly through the morning, until they wake up about noon. (I won’t call names.) Were David (Psalm 88:13) and Jesus (Mark 1:35) morning people to get up early and pray?

    Still looking for news from our readers out there. Easy to do: click on the Reply link in the upper right of this post.

  • TFRStaff 11:25 am on January 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals,   

    The More You Have 

    Steve Preston writes the BibleTalk email twice a week. His email today is titled, “The More You Have …” Here’s the first part of it:

    The first job that I ever had was as a bus boy in the local seafood restaurant. And perhaps the first lesson of business that I learned there was the fact that the more one knows, the more that is expected of him. It didn’t matter that everyone was paid the same hourly wage. If your regular job was as a prep cook but you also knew the work of a fry cook, then there were some nights you were expected to function as a fry cook.

    Our heavenly Father operates on the same basic principle; the more you know, the more you are expected to do. Consider what Jesus says in Luke 12:48: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more”.

    Check out the link above for the rest of this good piece and for information on how to subscribe.

  • Randal 11:22 am on December 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals, ,   

    What God has done for us all 

    Steve Preston has a good reminder for us today in his email devotional, “What God Has Done for You.” I recommend it as a kickstarter today in your prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord. It’s located here, I hope you’re able to open it. If not, start from here and you’ll be able to get to it, going to today’s date in the calendar.

    Steve starts out like this:

    Have you ever wondered what God has done for you? This question is one that every person on earth should ask themselves. It is a question that will help to convince the non-Christian to obey the gospel. It is a question that should serve as great encouragement to those who have been a part of the church for many years as well as those new to the faith. When we as Christians become discouraged with life in this world, it should encourage us to meditate on and know just exactly what God has done for all of us.

    Steve goes on to mention three wonderful things God has done for us. Worthy of much meditation during our day today.

    Steve sends out twice-weekly devotionals by email, by the way, and has good things to say. If you’re interested, you can sign up at the link above.

  • Randal 7:40 pm on November 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: devotionals,   

    I’m often encouraged and instructed by Don Ruhl’s twice-daily email devotionals. They’re short and to the point. Here’s one from this afternoon.

    The Power of Humility
    By Don Ruhl

    Since we should submit to one another, clothing ourselves with humility, because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5), Peter made this conclusion, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

    Humility is one of those many things in life that produces the opposite of what we expect. As people of the world, we think that humbling ourselves before others will humiliate us and hurt us, but Peter assures us that it has the opposite effect. Since God works in your life, He will exalt you when you submit to others and be humble.

    Try it and see what happens.

    You can receive Don’s devotionals by sending an email to this address and then replying to the confirmation request.

    Don should be logging some of his wisdom here on FR as a Fellow before long.

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