Behold the Glory!

All those we call great were driven by some powerful conviction an/or concern. They had a passion to correct an evil, discover a cure, invent a great invention, advance understanding, promote a cause, etc. They had a purpose; a focus; a goal, and they moved with determination toward the accomplishment. They reached levels of accomplishment that have caused many to marvel. Some people live simply for pleasure and/or to survive without any great driving passion. How many Christians drift with the restless, passionless tide of complacency? Empty of joy and excitement, with no motivating purpose, they settle for a “ho hum” experience of salvation. What a travesty of the life changing potential of the Gospel. Consider the contrast! A burning desire to know more of God; a powerful hunger to grasp more of His Word; a craving for holiness of life; a longing to be ignited and to ignite others with the excitement of being a child of God, these should define the trophies of His grace. What will arouse us; wake up the latent reality that pushes for expression? Only a profound preoccupation with His Person. That can only be done as we focus on His Person in His Word. Reader, are you among those who can say with Paul, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). Selah! Mary D. James, seems to have captured this passion that she so beautifully expressed in her wonderful hymn, “All for Jesus.” She wrote, “Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus, I’ve lost sight of all beside, so enchained my spirit’s vision, gazing on the Crucified.” What do we really know of that?   Ron

Why Do We Let Ourselves Be Manipulated?

A dishonest salesman brags about the people that he convinced to give in to his spiel. “I sold them junk and persuaded them to think that they had made a wise choice.” How can we allow ourselves to be swindled like that? “It sounds so good.” “I got a real deal.” “My friends got one and they are not stupid.” “I can hardly wait to show this off!” “It is so much fun.” “It gives me such pleasure.” Did we critically consider the possible purchase? Did we think on the consequences of a corrupt lifestyle?  Did we seek reliable counsel from others who are wise? Did we check the integrity of the salesman? Can the manufacturer be trusted? Is there a better way? Is there a better product? Can I honestly afford it? Is it overpriced? My point is that we are swayed by our “feelings” and bypass critical thinking. This is bad enough in the material realm; it is fatal in the Spiritual realm! That wily con-artist making “slick” use of our emotions lures us into a life of self-gratification, tranquilizes us with euphoric “feelings,” while we are led to certain regret. This is a shame for anyone. It is much more a shame for a born again Christian to be conned by the evil one. All the help that we need to escape the enemy’s devices is found in Scripture. Why will we buy the devil’s “bargains,” when God offers the genuine product; a life lived to the glory of God. That brings great rewards now and in the life to come. Selah! II Corinthians 2:11 points out that we need not be, “….ignorant of his (Satan’s) devices.” By constantly studying and applying Scripture we are aware of dangers and can avoid them, lest Satan should get an advantage of us.” Let’s not give him an inch of ground.   Ron

Do Not Go to Church

“I was out so late last night; I am just too tired to go to church today.” “That pastor is so boring! I don’t want to listen to Him.” (We don’t go to hear the pastor; we go to hear what God says through His Word). “Nobody goes to church anymore.” “I’ve got a game, today.” “I work five or six days a week; I need some time to relax.” “I promised my friend or husband or wife or parents or children that I would help them and Sunday is the only time I have to do it.” “I haven’t gone fishing all summer and God will understand if I skip today. After all, I can worship Him in nature.” Where do we think all these excuses come from? Did we think that we originated these excuses? Who benefits, if we don’t honor God by gathering in His Presence? Who loses out? I think this master con-artist “laughs up his sleeve” at how easy it is to sway human beings. “I know how to play them” characterizes his thinking. We docile creatures just follow his leading and he leads us right into his trap. We have a casino in our area and the parking lot (a big one) is packed early Sunday AM. I wonder what would happen if all those people went to church and became serious about God. We’d have revival and a Spiritual awakening! Selah! It will take discipline and determination to avoid Satan’s traps. II Timothy 2:26 speaks of those who can “….recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Will we be one of those?   Ron

One “Slick” Con-Artist!

An honest salesman cares about your genuine needs; a dishonest one tries to invent needs. Once a dishonest man creates a need in your mind and emotions, he usually wants to sell you something you don’t need and which may prove to be worthless junk. He’ll gain by it unless you catch him in the act and refuse his scheme. Satan is this kind of schemer! He is one “slick” con-artist! He suggests that you need to enjoy this or that; that you’ll really enjoy it. Or, if you had this or that, people would envy you. What prestige you will enjoy. How proud you’ll be. If you use a common objection such as, “I can’t afford it!” he’ll tempt you to put it on your credit card or take out a loan. He may try to entice you into immorality. “You’re human; you have needs.” “Everybody is doing it.” There’s no harm in it.” “People can protect themselves, nowadays.” Sometimes, he tries to persuade you that some things that are true are not necessarily true at all, or some things that are not true are actually true. He will try to persuade you to believe that the media has it right; that science has proven the Bible wrong or outdated. These are just a sampling of his dishonest salesmanship. He has a hidden agenda that he uses to damage or destroy people. Don’t be a gullible victim of his shady tactics! Selah! “But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15). God offers valuable insights, in His Word, on how to avoid being a victim of Satan’s fraud.  Ron

An Educational Lions’ Den

I’m convinced that the majority of Christian parents do not have a clue about the conditions in most schools today. We know the Bible and prayer have been removed. We assume that our kids have the background to handle that and whatever else educators throw at them. That’s a dangerous assumption! The peer pressure is strong. The educational content is provided by people with an agenda to instill humanistic thinking in our young people. Evolution is assumed (including billions of years); the Bible is seldom given a hearing. Even good teachers are limited in their ability to provide wholesome influence. Christian values are ridiculed by students and some teachers. Tolerance of most everything is preached; except of Christianity and conservative values. Drugs are available in many schools, even if it is done “under the counter.” Abortion is accepted, if not encouraged. Parental influence is carefully controlled. The state and federal governments have too much regulation of the schools. Schools in rural areas may have a somewhat better record but still have much that is undesirable. Extra activities are often contrary to Christian values. Even some Christian schools are not holding fast to basic Bible truths. What are parents to do? Some cannot afford a Christian School, some don’t have the time or ability to homeschool. Do everything possible to find a reliable Godly education for your children and for the good of the country. At the very least, teach them how to adequately defend their faith. Give them solid reasons for Godly standards. Motivate them to be missionaries (so they won’t be mission fields) where they are being trained and pray hard for them.….ye fathers….bring (your children) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (From Ephesians 6:4). Selah! If we love our children, we will protect and equip them; if not, we may watch them abandon Christianity!   Ron

Prepare for “Survival Mode.”

I fervently hope that this call for preparation is premature. Having said that, however, signs are multiplying that indicate times of intense testing may actually be at our doorstep. The Islamic advance, turmoil in the Middle East, the tidal wave of immorality, the rejection (for the most part) of God in our nation, the skyrocketing national debt, the increasing hostility toward Christians and responsible conservatives, the clashing of world powers, anti-God indoctrination, fixation on entertainment and celebrities, the occult, the drug culture and the increase of false teachers are all warning signs of the urgent and immediate need of revival and Spiritual awakening. It may be too late for Divine intervention; we may have passed the point of no return! What are we to do? Pray for revival and repentance. Deal with any sin(s) in our lives. Pray for our nation and our leaders. Develop Spiritual strength by spending time studying, applying and obeying God’s Word. Share the gospel. Resist unrighteousness. Model righteousness. Pray for God’s working in and through our lives. Spare no effort to be certain that you have a rock-solid faith. Put on the Gospel armor. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (I Corinthians 16:13). Stop playing “church!” Paul’s advice to Timothy, in II Timothy 2:3, is also for us to heed. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Selah! If we fail to prepare before things come to a head, we will be casualties; if we become serious disciples now, we can survive the onslaught as honored soldiers. Defeat or discipleship? The decision is ours!   Ron

How Does One Love God?

Hollywood and what we call “romantic” literature, etc. have given us a concept of love that is woefully inadequate when we try to understand what it means to love God. When we truly love someone, we highly value them. However, that is also a completely inadequate understatement for loving others and especially God. We can only love someone when we know them. We get to know them by involvement with them. This is true of God. We can only get to know Him by what we are told by people who know Him and love Him. This is only an introductory phase. Then we get to know Him by spending much time with Him. We can only do this by spending much time in the place that He has chosen to reveal Himself. That place is in the pages of His Word. The first thing that we discover is that He loved us with a love so great that He sacrificed His Son to salvage us. No greater cost has ever been borne! When we begin to grasp the overwhelming immensity of that love, we reciprocate. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (I John 4:19). The next discovery is that He has a perfect plan for our lives. This plan is revealed in the Bible. Once we align with that plan, it begins to develop in detail in our daily experiences. We discover that His counsel is foolproof! “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy law; yea, I shall observe it with all my heart” (Psalm 119:34). Discovering that His counsel is absolutely right, the next component is: “If ye love Me, Keep My commandments” (John 14:15). This trust in His judgment, loving Him because of His great love, motivates willing and joyous obedience. Selah! “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” (From: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” By Isaac Watts). How could we not love God?    Ron