The Moving Word

Writer, Preacher, Bookworm, Student of the Word

Archive for the category “Forthright”

Keep on Writing for God

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J. Randal Matheny made some nice comments about me today and I greatly appreciate them. He is a dear friend and colleague.

He wrote,

About three weeks ago, columnist and former managing editor Richard Mansel wrote his 500th consecutive article here on Forthright. He’s never missed a single week. He holds a Forthright record that will likely never be beat. We’re grateful for Richard’s consistent, quality articles. We count him as a good friend and coworker in the gospel. His contributions continue to enrich our lives and we pray the Lord will increase his fruitful harvest in his upcoming change of ministry.

I’m proud of this milestone and now I press on to 520 weeks or a full 10 years of consecutive articles at Forthright Magazine. I’m thankful that they allow me to write for such a wonderful site and to share with such a great staff of writers.

Writing to the glory of God is as great an honor as exists on earth and I am deeply privileged to have the chance to serve Him in this manner. I pray my health allows me to do so for years to come. I have too much more to say. Thanks to all my readers who make it possible.

Understanding Blessings

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We all want blessings from God, but we must develop spiritual maturity to understand and identify them when they come. Not everything we call a blessing is from above.

God loves his creation (John 3:16), and especially those who serve him (Isaiah 59:1-2). He sent his Son to earth to live, die and establish his church (Romans 5:6-11; Matthew 16:18).

Those who are baptized into Christ are added to the body of Jesus (Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 1:22-23).

Jesus tells us that God takes care of his children (Matthew 6:25-34). If we’ll serve God faithfully, he’ll shower us with blessings (Malachi 3:10; Philippians 4:19).

We must realize the following four important facts about blessings and examine them in terms of spiritual maturity and prayer. A deep study of God’s Word allows us amazing insight into the mind of God.

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Why Being Thankful May be Impossible

Pile of credit cards, narrow focus.

by Richard Mansel

The bane of the Western world is materialism. We’ve been known for waste and greed in the United States for a very long time. Yet, we’ve been humbled by recent developments. Has it helped?

We spend a lot of money for Thanksgiving and then we go into debt on Black Friday. We thank God for what we have on Thursday and then bow to possessions on Friday.

The American economy has been a disaster over the past decade. /1

The national debt is more than $17 Trillion.
Personal debt is more than $16 Trillion.
Almost 48 million people are on food stamps.
More than 91 million people are out of the work force
More than 21 million people are unemployed.

Despite these staggering numbers, stores are filled with consumers spending money that they don’t have for the latest toys and gadgets. Nothing can stop the swipe of credit cards.

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Becoming Better Bible Students

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by Richard Mansel

The Bible is God’s inspired book (2 Timothy 3:16-17). From it, we find the path to heaven (Romans 10:17). Therefore, we should be eager to immerse ourselves in God’s Word.

How can we presume to follow and emulate a Savior that we know nothing about? Christians must develop the initiative and routine to read and study God’s Word on their own (John 14:15).

We must be very careful when we study so we can learn the truth of the Gospel. We must be diligent to monitor the veracity of the teachings of men (Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 4:1).

We must never tamper with the Word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18). In fact, we’re warned not to even think beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6).

There are many guidelines that we can use to become better Bible students.

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The Meaning of Jesus’ Baptism

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When Jesus is involved, no day is normal. Accordingly, when Jesus came to the Jordan River where John the Immerser was baptizing, the world changed forever (Matthew 3:1-17; Mark 1:1-11).

Jesus said of John, “among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11, NKJV). John was the forerunner who prepared the way of the Lord (Malachi 3:1).

Matthew and Mark quote Isaiah 40:3. However, one bit remains in the original passage. Isaiah writes, “make straight in the desert, a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).

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Negativity in the Pulpit

 

In order to grow and maintain peace and unity, the atmosphere of a congregation must be constantly monitored. Encouragement builds warmth and strength while negativity spreads disunity and suspicion.

The leadership of a local congregation has a responsibility to create a desirable climate so people feel comfortable. Things grow much better in the sun then they do in the shade.

We must be very clear that negativity in this article does not refer to standing for truth.

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Spiritual Maturity

How can we grow the church if we are not prepared spiritually to do so? If we are acting like spoiled children, we cannot represent Christ. Find out how spiritual growth is the real answer to church growth!

The one thing needed by most congregations of the Lord’s Church doesn’t cost a penny. We can put millions into new buildings, exciting entertainment and comedians in the pulpit.

However, the problems are internal and they are causing great damage among God’s people. The importance of spiritual maturity in our Christian lives cannot be overestimated.

Without it, we can destroy the Lord’s work in the communities we serve. Spiritually immature Christians are deadly to the work of the Church. They bring the sins of the flesh into the Lord’s body and we fight, argue, divide and misrepresent Christ to the world.

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Alone

Gertie awakened into a world familiar and bleak. Her faded wallpaper and antiquated bed brought no cheer to her mornings. She put her feet on the faded carpet and met the day.

Walking down the hall to the bathroom, her younger brother threw a toy at her, hitting her in the side. She yelped and threw it back. She passed her parent’s room and saw her Mom sitting on the bed, digging in her sewing box.

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Preaching and the artistry of words

The preacher uses words to deliver the message of the gospel. They are the brush he wields to paint the vibrant colors of heaven, the vivid reds of the cross and the victories of salvation.

I wonder, though, how many preachers make the connection between their commission and the mastery of language. A novelist lives and dies by the power of words in order to produce more compelling prose.

While preachers and writers differ in their medium, they should share the same vision of changing the world around them.

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Christian Fiction Teaches Bible Lessons

I am using Christian fiction to teach Bible lessons instead of always using non-fiction in my columns.

It is common for Christian writers to begin with an illustration and then leave it to get to the meat of the Bible teaching. Carrying the illustration through the entire piece is not something I have read before, with any regularity. It has been well-received, so far.

I love writing these pieces. They come easily to me. I start with an idea and the story flows. I am slowly working on a novel, so this helps train me in this new genre.

Jesus used parables and stories, so there is a long history of using narrative to illustrate Biblical truth. Moreover, Christian fiction is huge right now. However, Christian short fiction is not as popular.

Here is a listing of what I have had published, so far.

The Road to Valencia

Memorial Day: Written in Charcoal

Wreckage

A Special Home

The Wife of Your Youth

Resurrection

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