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Short Articles, Bible Lessons and Devos Intended to Edify and Encourage Others

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    Here at Dale Ridge you will find a loving, committed group of believers doing our best to follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ. We strive to deeply develop our relationship with God through study, fellowship, and service.


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Roanoke, VA 24019

Devotional Thoughts

Every Excuse Works

When it comes to faithfulness to the assembly some reasons are valid. Illness, the demands of work, family crisis, even travel for vacation are all proper excuses for not being present on Sundays or Wednesdays.

Lately, however, it seems that for some brethren anything that passes for an excuse is reason enough to skip worship or Bible study. The top non-excuses that I've seen and heard recently:

1. "I don't feel like it"

The Bible says that the flesh and the spirit are at war with each other so that neither can always do what it "feels" like Galatians 5:17. The body rarely feels like making time to worship God, this is its natural state and to give in to this is to lose the battle of the flesh over the spirit. If you wait until you "feel like it" you might never come to church.

2. "I'm too tired"

This can be a legitimate excuse in this stressful world. But I've noticed that when people review their schedules they find that they're not too tired for their kids' sports or watching TV late into the evening, just too tired to go to church. Perhaps if we understood that spiritual life is a much higher priority than entertainment or hobbies we'd make time to rest so we could be fresh for worship.

3. "I'm not into...church"

The problem here is that if you're not into church then you won't be into heaven either. Revelation 21:9 tells us that the church is the "bride of the lamb", the group that will be with Christ in heaven. To reject the church is to reject Christ and His reward.

I notice that our attendance is down lately and I suspect that it's because we've allowed every excuse to become a valid excuse to be absent. We can fool ourselves and sidestep the preacher but God knows whether you should be here or not.        Mike M.

Are We Living On the Brink Of Hope?

(4 Min read, but worth it)


  During the weeks preceding Christmas, I watched my children as they counted down the days, hours and minutes until that special moment when the "gifts" were opened. For days they could think of nothing else, everything was secondary to the big event.

  I think we all can relate to the feeling of living on the brink of expectation, waiting for something special (new job, wedding, graduation, special event). This feeling can be exhilarating and fun but when it lasts too long it can become tiring and depressing.

  Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

  I believe that this is so because when we are in this state of heightened expectation we have a tendency to lose touch with the present and live in the future. And living in the future is unsatisfying and dangerous to our faith.

In the Thessalonian church, many believed that the return of Christ was imminent and would happen in their lifetime. They lived on the edge of hope all the time and ultimately lost touch with the present to the point where Paul had to admonish them to get back to work, get back to normal living because their heightened anticipation had led them to forsake the business of everyday affairs.

  So now I want to share a few thoughts on how to successfully live through those times in our lives when we are on the edge of hope, the brink of expectation, the waiting room of change.

Coping with hope

  It is okay to hope, dream, plan and anticipate but if we are to avoid being totally absorbed by these things we need to remember a few simple things:

  1. Hope for tomorrow but live in today

We must not allow dreaming and hoping and planning to sap all of the energy we have so that we have nothing left to deal with today.

  Matthew 6:34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

  In other words, do not invest all of your energies in worrying about tomorrow but rather use your emotional and physical and spiritual resources caring for today's problems. I believe if we take care of today's affairs, we are contributing wisely in making tomorrow's dreams come true.

  2. Be thankful for what you have today.

  Our minds and hearts are sometimes filled with hopes for tomorrow and yet we feel depressed and anxious. This is because dreaming and hoping does not satisfy us. Satisfaction comes from praise, from prayer, from thanksgiving for hopes and dreams that have come true, not the ones still in the future. A healthy view of our blessings and a continuous outpouring of thanks to God in prayer and praise, this is edifying and satisfying. We need hope and plans and dream but let us not allow these things to replace gratitude as the central emotion in our hearts for what God has given us today.

3. Seek first the kingdom

  Jesus said: Matthew 6:33 "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you."

  Underline that word first. Make the seeking of God's kingdom and will a priority today and this will guide and guarantee the nature and possession of our dreams tomorrow. After all what good is it to hope and dream for something against God's will? Our ultimate hope, the substance of our dreams is to be with God in heaven so our plans should follow a course that points us in this direction.

Seeking the kingdom today will help set our sights on goals and dreams along the line that will finally see us with God at the end. Seeking the kingdom helps us to properly set our sights on goals and dreams that are worthy of disciples of Jesus.


  Hoping and dreaming causes us to live on the edge of anxiety and even though this experience is pleasant it also causes anxiety and discouragement. In order to balance our hopes for tomorrow with the reality of life we experience now, let us remember to

  1. Live within today. Take care of today's affairs today.

  2. Consciously recognize and be grateful for what you have today.

  3. Make the seeking of the kingdom your first priority every single day.

  I believe that if we follow these simple suggestions we will be able to live satisfying and joyful lives every day regardless of what happens tomorrow.    Mike M.

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​Wednesday  Bible Study:   (Will Resume Soon)

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The OUTLET: A collection of writings by Ashby Camp

    These are things I have written through the years. Some are more detailed and academic than others. Many are notes from classes I have taught at church. If I failed to credit a source of wording or ideas it is because I did not cite the source in my notes and no longer remember it. Audio and video recordings of some of my classes are available by clicking the Audio & Video button.

I add to and revise the collection regularly. If anything here is helpful to you, I would be encouraged by knowing that. Drop me a note at theoutlet@cox.net. 

My thoughts this morning:

The death of no mere human can atone for humanity's sins, but God the Son, who cannot die, became the sinless God-man, Jesus, who died as an atoning sacrifice for humanity's sins, the benefits of which are appropriated by faith.   Bill C.

In the words of Christian theologian Wayne Grudem:

"The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God could become man and join himself to a human nature forever, so that infinite God became one person with finite man, will remain for eternity the most profound miracle and most profound mystery in all the universe."  Submitted by Bill C.

Which Are You?


  The question today for all of us. Am I "indoctrinated" or am I "converted"? One takes place in the head, the other takes place in the heart. One describes our religious actions as habitual, mindless, and meaningless. The other is from the heart with total involvement of both mind and heart. One is a "shell" of the other. The other envelopes our all. One comes from a book of rules. The other comes from a way of life. The one is entertained in Worship. The other Worships in Spirit and Truth. The one has introduced what we like in Worship. The other makes Worship all about God and what pleases Him. One is indoctrinated, the other is converted. Which are you?       Rob K.