Author Archives: J. Randal Matheny

Time is not your enemy

Following is an excerpt from the book, Choose!

We see time as the enemy. Something we work against. Something that works against us, robs us of life, cheats us out of youth, health, and happiness. Milton called time “the subtle thief of youth.”

We consider time the upturned hourglass whose last grains of sand fall through the aperture while we watch helplessly. A fleeing rabbit to be chased and, by some miracle, trapped.

Yesterday holds a log of lingering woes and fading memories. Tomorrow appears a gathering storm or the bottomless pit of our good intentions. Today we fight a fog of uncertainty clogging along in our daily routine.

But our despair about time wastes it. The Now is where we live. This moment is not merely “all we have,” as if it were little enough, but the gift of God to enjoy, the plenitude of life’s possibilities, the flower in full bloom.

Today draws loved ones near, the present makes plans come to fruition, this moment breathes the air of all that is.

Mick Jaggar, not my favorite philosopher, said, “Time is on my side, yes it is.” He’s right, if I choose today.

The choice, then: to fritter time away by the minute and hour, or to choose today as my day to live, to shine, to love, to laugh.

Choose! makes a great personal or group study, with questions at the end of each of its 13 chapters. Get it here.

Be a voice for heavenly truth

Verification of truth can be a hard thing. When the president of a country claims his administration has built a certain number of houses, counting those constructions presents certain challenges. It’s not impossible to do, but it is difficult.

When a child claims to have done a chore or obeyed his parent, that’s easier to check. Your bank account’s balance is not so hard to discover. So verification of facts and truth can be hard or easy, depending on the claim or the affirmation made.

Many people would put the verification of biblical truth at the hard end of the scale. A few even deny such a scale exists, saying that truth in the spiritual realm is impossible to grasp.

Their answer to Pilate’s question about what is truth? Truth, they say, is whatever you want it to be. As long as you don’t make it absolute for everyone else.

This idea creates a new kind of Christianity. But it’s not the right kind. Because Jesus said the truth is knowable and verifiable, Jn 8.32. He is truth personified, Jn 14.6.

We’re surrounded, and our children are surrounded, by voices that claim relative truth. Voices sing it in music. Voices imply it on television. Voices pontificate it from political bully pulpits. Voices teach it in the schools. Voices whisper it in the night. Voices claim it all over the internet.

The Lord is looking for voices to speak up for a heavenly truth that is easy to verify. Simple to perceive. Open to investigation. Possible to identify. Necessary to live.

Lift up your voice for the truth of the gospel.

A generous family of faith

Over where it all started, on Forthright Magazine, I posted yesterday a rare editorial, “Changes afoot,” detailing a few upcoming novelties. I mention a boyhood memory:

Brotherhood evangelistic efforts, as a rule, do not ask for donations from people they are trying to reach. They seek support from within the brotherhood. I remember watching, as a boy, “The Herald of Truth,” when Batsell Barrett Baxter was the speaker, and feeling glad that, differently from denominational programs, no financial appeal was ever made on the program.

Our people have long been generous to support good works. Such generosity signals spiritual health. Let us develop that willingness to spread the Good News of Christ. Let us seek out people laboring in the fields. And let us do what money alone cannot: pray to the Lord of the harvest for more workers.

He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest, Lk 10.2.

Pray that God will produce fruit from every good effort. Pray that he will uphold the hands of those who labor. Pray that these will be faithful in their task and teaching.

And continue to grow in support of those workers, in every way.

Help the weak

The people of God, then and now, protect the weak and seek the good of all. They are forbidden to take advantage of the helpless.

“You must not pervert justice due a resident foreigner or an orphan, or take a widow’s garment as security for a loan” Deuteronomy 24.17 NET.

Moses considers that helping the weak is not merely a matter of compassion, but of justice. Continue reading

In Search of Perfection: Studies from Job, by Michael E. Brooks

Book of JobTitle: In Search of Perfection
Subtitle: Studies from Job
Author: Michael E. Brooks
Release date: January 2007
Subject: Textual and thematic studies from Job, using selected texts.
Pages: 168.
Chapters: 21
ISBN: 0-945441-13-4
Scripture quotations: NASB
List price: $9.99 plus shipping and handling

See more information on the product page.