Forthright Magazine

Rick returns. Sleeping soundly. Loving failure. Much more.

¶ Rick Kelley has returned to Forthright with his column. We’re excited to have him back. His author description tells you much: “Christian, husband, father, proclaimer, servant. Also…feeder of pets, lover of songs, player of instruments, writer of words, questioner of the universe, and consumer of info. Laborer in the kingdom (Massillon, OH since 2014).”

¶ What may be a psalm of David written during Absalom’s rebellion, in Psalm 4 he says, “You people love what is false” v. 2 IEB. The word false is the same word translated as “vanity.” One Brazilian version (Nova Bíblia pastoral) interprets it as the people “loving failure.” Isn’t that true?

¶ Even before being vindicated, David proclaims at the end of Psalm 4, “I go to bed and sleep soundly. Why? Because, O Yahweh, You are the only One who can keep me safe” v. 8 IEB. Maybe we need this psalm in our day more than ever.

The world is in turmoil, but Christians sleep soundly. They know the Eternal One will protect what is essential to their salvation. They continue doing the Lord’s work, because people in the world need to know more than ever that God welcomes all into the Kingdom of peace and love.

¶ One more note on Psalm 4. David wrote, “You are allowed to become angry, but don’t sin. Think about these things quietly as you go to bed” v. 4 IEB. God knows we are emotional beings, but we can and must control emotions. They ought to lead us to serious meditation about the state of the world, about whether or not we are fighting against God, and about how God honors the faithful.

In his 1996 commentary, J.E. Smith wrote, “They needed to ‘trust in Yahweh,’ not in revolution.” Our dissatisfaction with events does not necessarily reflect God’s intentions. It may in fact run counter to what the Lord is doing. Like Absalom’s supporters, we may be more attuned to political developments than to divine purpose and activity.

¶ Shall we empower error by silence? Will finances deter the protest against what is wrong? Are we complicit in the spread of false doctrine? Does fear of reprisal or rejection stop us from speaking out? More may be turned away from Heaven’s Gate for omission than we dream of.

¶ It was mentioned in a recent item of news to our supporters and encouragers, but it deserves mention here as well. We thank God for the Iuka, Miss., congregation’s 39 years of constant support of our work. Their support concluded last month. They were the last of our original supporters since our arrival in Brazil in 1984.

¶ My personal theme for this year is Truth. Possibly, I’ll offer a single seminar this year based on this theme. I’m sketching out an outline. Is this not a sorely needed subject in today’s subjective world? Know any good books on the subject?

Previous themes have emphasized glory (2019), God (2020), peace (2021), goodness (2022), and mission (2023). Does anybody else do this? I’d be interested in knowing.

¶ One measure of new cars is (or was) the speed they can attain from zero to 60 seconds. In like fashion, we went from freezing to (feeling like) boiling in a matter of hours as we flew home. We did miss what they called two “heat domes” just before we returned. Some items in the house had heat damage. The leather-like cover of one Bible melted (see photo, above). Small stuff in the greater scheme of things. But life always provides us with new experiences, does it not?


J. Randal Matheny
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