Theology and Example

I have observed that some seem to be right on the mark, theologically and yet be a poor example to others. One way to be a poor example is by “looking down our noses” at people who haven’t progressed far in understanding Theology. Another way to be a poor example is when our lives don’t model our theology. Still another way is to try to insist that others fit into our theological system instead of studying out the Scriptures. A theological system carries a danger of trying to make the Bible fit the system instead of checking our system against the Word. The Bible will never completely conform to any man-produced system. Theology is the study of God. The motive for this study is to be “lined up” with God’s will; to live as He would have us live and to hold correct Scriptural doctrine. If we are to be a good example, our theology must inform the living of our lives. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God.” (From II Timothy 2:15). “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). Selah! Scripture (and theology) that gets no further than the head leads to dead orthodoxy; when the heart is changed, it leads to Christ-likeness.   Ron

A Critical Spirit or a Spiritual Critic?

When someone is in error, too many who spot error (or think they do) seem to find delight in catching the error. Shouldn’t it be cause for grief rather than delight? Sometimes, it appears as if they are proud of their ability to spot error and even “pat themselves on the back” that they would never fall into that kind of trap. Far too often, no consideration is given to the underlying motivation. Could the erring one be won away from his or her error with some love and patience? There is a profound difference between having a critical spirit and being a Spiritual critic. A Spiritual critic wants to help. A critical spirit tears someone or some ministry down. It is often done publicly without having gone to the person or ministry first. A spiritual critic will deal with issues; not character. A Spiritual critic prays, grieves and hopes to restore. The Pharisees didn’t have a monopoly on having a Pharisaical spirit. It might even be found among Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. Galatians 5:1 reminds, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are Spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” If we reach out in love and patience and do not see results after two or three attempts, pray for the offender. Leave him or her to God. With regret and concern, bring it to the church for whatever discipline is called for. Selah! If it comes to discipline, keep praying and reach out to the erring one. Sometimes, when discipline and love have had a chance to work, the person comes to his or her senses. You may be the channel for God to work through, to win back an erring brother or sister. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Ron

Breaking the Bonds of “Busy-ness”

Since I have “retired,” I’ve had more time (than I used to) to spend with God. Why not sooner? Looking back, I think I know why. In fact, much the same hindrance exists today. We have so many things to do; so many cares and responsibilities. In addition, all these things tire us out. Being so tired, we naturally want to relax and enjoy some “fun;” to unwind. Too often, after all this “busy-ness,” little or no time is left for God. My pastor used to warn: “Beware of the barrenness of a busy life!” If we are too busy to fellowship with God, we are too busy! What are we to do? First and foremost, we need to put God ahead of our activity. (There may be an occasional exception, such as an emergency. Let’s be sure it’s an exception and not an excuse). To begin with, we must never try to tuck God into our schedule; we need to develop our schedule around time with Him. Next, Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The prophet Isaiah said, “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength.” (From Isaiah 40:31). If activity is keeping us from time with God, some activity will have to go. We need to evaluate each activity. Does God want us doing a particular thing? Is this responsibility important to God or have we only convinced ourselves that it is? Is there someone else who could do this activity and release us from doing it? Lying behind much activity, there is a preference for the activity, instead of for God. Let’s ruthlessly determine to cultivate time to spend quietly with God, no matter what has to go. Selah! Jesus cautioned Martha to put aside her “busy-ness;” that one thing is needful.” (See Luke 10:38-42). Are we serious enough with God to put Him first?   Ron

A Simple Choice with Profound Implications

We decide what to believe, true or not. We really have only two choices. We can believe God or man! If we say that we don’t believe there is a God, we automatically believe man (even if we are the man). How many times have men been wrong? Frequently! How many times has God been wrong? Never! God even explains why men refuse to believe in Him. “….men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (From John 3:19-20). It’s ironic that men try to avoid accountability, only one day to find that they will still give account. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). If we choose to believe men instead of God, we are foolish indeed! “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). This means eternal Hell! Someone might say, “I don’t believe in Hell.” Can anyone afford to be wrong; to discover that Hell is real, regardless of man’s denial? Man has been proven wrong over and over. History is littered with the horribly wrong choices of man. God has never been wrong! Receiving Jesus, as Lord and Savior, leads to Heaven; rejecting Him leads to separation from Him forever, in Hell. Selah! God speaks absolute Truth to us in the Bible; man speaks from spiritual blindness. Whom we choose to trust determines our eternal destiny!   Ron

How Do We Know What’s True?

For most people, what they have been taught or told, by those they trust, is accepted as truth. What they have observed as something that always works the same way is assumed to be true. For too many, educators and media people are assumed to usually be telling the truth, although, deep down in, they know better. Truth (such as mathematics and laws such as the law of gravity) is confirmed by experience. Whatever worldview that we have built, we assume to be basically true. Those whom we trust, friends, teachers, family, media people, authors, etc. have been proven wrong time and again. What we personally believe has often been found to be wrong. Is there no absolute truth? Some tell us that there is no absolute truth. When they tell us that, is what they are telling us absolutely true? If there is no God, we are adrift in a vast sea of uncertainty. No one but God can guarantee absolute Truth. John 17:17 tells us, “….Thy Word is Truth.” Jesus, Who is God, declared in John 14:6, I am….the Truth.” What we choose to believe is true is our responsibility and we are responsible for the consequences that come from our choices. Trusting God unconditionally is the only absolutely solid foundation upon which to build our lives. Selah! The sand of man’s ideas or the rock of God’s Truth, which will you choose? It’s a “no brainer!”   Ron

When Death Casts Its Shadow…

There are times when death casts its shadow. It might be while we are on a bed of sickness. It might be when a loved one is given a limited time to live. It might be when we are “in the sights” of an enemy. Sometimes death strikes suddenly, without a shadow of warning. Then, of course, there is the shadow that comes with advanced age. When we are old, we realize that death could come most any time. Death’s shadow may be a blessing in disguise, affording us some moments to make sure that we know Jesus, as Savior and Lord. However, realizing that death can strike quickly without warning, we would be foolish to wait for the shadow of death’s warning. We might miss Heaven, by a very slim margin. II Corinthians 6:2 cautions, “….behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Turning to Jesus now, if you haven’t already, will free you, who “…..through fear of death were (have been) all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (From Hebrews 2:15). Death, without Christ, is bondage. Whatever else that means, it includes the bondage of fearing certain judgment. When He is our Savior and Lord, we can say with the Palmist, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me…..Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23:4;6). Selah! Life, at best, is brief. We will be well advised to be ready for eternity. We may have a little time to receive Christ, or our opportunity could end in the next moment. Don’t risk ending up lost forever. Receive Him in the only time that you are sure of being able to do so, NOW!  Ron

Truth That Outlasts the Grave

Many of the fathers of our country wrote and spoke some wise truth. If we were to apply principles laid done by some of the wisest of them, our country might experience greatness once again. Statesmen, philosophers, educators, friends and parents have often given wise counsel. That which they taught has often meant something in our day, and will be worthwhile long after their deaths. What we say, do, and exemplify may last beyond our lifetime to benefit those who outlast us. Still, they and we are human and what is passed along is often wrong. There is One Whose teaching and counsel is never wrong. He said, in John 6:63, “….the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life.” As we assimilate and implement His Word, we will share with others His Truth. This Truth will help now, for time to come, and for eternity. Therefore, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6) and “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and Spiritual songs.” (From Colossians 3:16). No truth, no matter how useful, can come close to His Truth. Share that Truth above all! Selah! Wise sharing of His Truth can impact generations to come.   Ron