Seeing Beyond Sorrow

Suppose, in this life, that we had no sorrow or sadness; How “earthbound’ would we be? We would have a “status quo” and settle down in comfort. We would have no fear of death; no need for His comfort. We would not see the need of His help and compassion. Having no heartaches, we wouldn’t reach out to One Who can identify with us like no other. Heaven would lose some of its meaning to us. Suffering, sorrow and sadness are consequences of human sin(s). This causes a longing for an end to such a way of life, a longing for holiness and Heaven. So, what do we do when we “hurt?” First, we seek Him and ask for His help. Then, we trust Him to see us through. Next, we learn to see beyond suffering. In II Corinthians 4:17, Paul sees beyond suffering (and so can we)! He wrote: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding (and) eternal weight of glory.” The Psalmist wrote: “….weeping may endure for a night, but joy (cometh) in the morning.” (From Psalm 30:5). When we are in the “valley” and the mountain peaks seem hopeless to reach, remember this timeless truth from William C. Poole in his hymn, “Just When I Need Him Most.” He put it this way: “Just when I need Him, Jesus is near, just when I falter, just when I fear; ready to help me, ready to cheer, just when I need Him most. Just when I need Him, Jesus is true, never forsaking, all the way through; giving for burdens pleasures anew, just when I need Him most. Just when I need Him, Jesus is strong, bearing my burdens all the day long; for all my sorrow giving a song, just when I need Him most. Just when I need Him most, just when I need Him most,  Jesus is near to comfort and cheer, just when I need Him most.” Selah! He is there to guide you through sorrow and sadness, giving you strength, encouragement and comfort, as He leads you out of the “valley” and on up to new heights. Take His hand and move on!    Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Winning Over Worry

Worry is like a spiritual cancer. Physical cancer eats away at the body; “spiritual cancer” eats away at the soul. Legitimate concern, decision making, and planning are not worry. Worry is when we get anxious, fearful and wonder what we are going to do. It’s something we don’t know how to handle, or know how to cope with. It may generate fear, panic, hopelessness and undermine our peace, joy and trust. We think that we have to figure out something to solve the problem and when we can’t, we worry. Where is God in all this? Did He take a vacation? Does He no longer answer our prayers? Where is He when we need Him? Is God in control of our lives? If so, why do we need to worry? Jesus spoke to this. In Matthew 6:27, He asked a very simple, yet profound, question: “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” If we worry, will we be taller? Would worry pay even one dollar on our daily needs? Why allow yourself to worry!? God is there for us! He can and will help us-His way! Verses 25-26 give us Jesus’ reassurance: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” He may test us; He may teach and train us, but He is in control. If we are in harmony with Him, acting on His principles, we have nothing about which to worry! Let this truth found in, “Cast Thy Burden on the Lord,” by William J. Kirkpatrick, lift your heart and erase your worry: “Weary pilgrim on life’s pathway struggling on beneath thy load, hear these words of consolation, “Cast thy burden on the Lord.” Are thy tired feet unsteady? Does thy lamp no light afford? Is thy cross too great and heavy? “Cast thy burden on the Lord. “Does thy heart with faintness falter? Does thy mind forget His word? Does thy strength succumb to weakness? “Cast thy burden on the Lord. “He will hold thee up from falling; He will guide thy steps aright; He will strengthen each endeavor; He will keep thee by His might.” Selah! Why be bent beneath the heavy burden of worry? “The eternal God (is thy) refuge, and underneath (are) the everlasting arms.” (From Deuteronomy 33:27).   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Fighting Against Fear

In our sin-infected lives, fear is inevitable. It slyly enters our lives. It seems “automatic!” We can’t ignore it; we must “fight” against it. It resists giving way; it has to be overcome. How? Scripture tells us a number of times to “Fear not!” Yet, we go on fearing. We want to control our situations and circumstances. Do we realize what that means? It means that we think we have to do something about what is causing us to fear. It means that we don’t really trust Someone else to help us or keep us under His care and control. Actually, we unwittingly want a God we can manipulate  to solve all our problems. God will not be manipulated! Sometimes He does take care of our problems and we are happy. Other times, His Sovereign will and wisdom brings or permits severe trials and we cringe in fear. This is where we must make up our minds to trust Him, no matter what! Job had way beyond average fears and troubles. Instead of giving up on God, In Job 13:15 he said: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Paul knew many fears and trials, but in II Corinthians 12:9, he responded: “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Perhaps we might think, “That’s all well and good” but I’m not Job or Paul.” No, and we will never be like them until we yield our fears to His love and control. We must choose to trust even when our fears and “feelings” cry out against trusting. William H. Bathurst challenges us in his hymn, “O for a Faith That Will Not Shrink,” to cry out: “O for a faith that will not shrink, though pressed by many a foe, that will not tremble on the brink of any earthly woe, that will not murmur nor complain beneath the chast’ning rod, but in the hour of grief or pain will lean upon its God, a faith that shines more bright and clear when tempests rage without, that, when in danger, knows no fear, in darkness feels no doubt, that bears unmoved the world’s dread frown, nor heeds its scornful smile, that seas of trouble cannot drown, nor Satan’s arts beguile, a faith that keeps the narrow way till life’s last hour is fled and with a pure and heav’nly ray lights up a dying bed. Lord, give us such a faith as this, and then, whate’er may come, we’ll taste e’en here the hallowed bliss of an eternal home.” Selah! Fear cannot win when faith is unconditional. Let God and His Word make our faith unshakable in spite of Satan’s many attempts to undermine it.     Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

What About Negative Emotions?

Where do negative emotions come from and why do we have them? Are we “stuck” with them? What can we do about them? Let’s think about these questions. Why we have them should be quite obvious. Simply put: if sin had not entered our world there would be no negative emotions. Can you conceive of Heaven with any negative emotions? Of course not, because there is no sin there. A more pertinent question is: Are we “stuck” with them? Depends! If we do not know Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord, we are “stuck” with a certain amount of negative emotions. Some are “stuck” with fewer; others with many. If we know Him, there is a way of overcoming them. For example: “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness” (Psalm 30:11). It has been said that “Nature abhors a vacuum.” This appears to be true in the Spiritual realm, as well.  A case in point: The more we are filled with God’s love, the quicker anger and hate are purged out. Another reality: Fear and worry dissolve in real trust. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Civilla D. Martin understood. She expressed it well in her hymn, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow, ” in these words: “Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart be lonely and long for Heaven and home, when Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. “Let not your heart be troubled, ”His tender word I hear, and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise, when song gives place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy, (I’m happy) I sing because I’m free, (I’m free) for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” Selah! Can we see negative emotions give way to the abundant life Jesus came to bring us? God willing, Let’s take a hard look at this in the next few days.      Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Bound in Bitterness?

If we are not spiritually alert, the seeds of bitterness are sown in the soil of our hearts by the enemy of our souls. This toxic weed of bitterness reproduces itself and takes over more and more of the soil of our hearts. Finally, we can become completely overcome by the weeds. It doesn’t stop with us. These seeds enter the soil of others’ hearts. Hebrews 12:15 speaks of this: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble (you), and thereby many be defiled.” Someone wrongs us. We experience something hard to bear. Life brings disappointments. These may be great disappointments. Somebody we thought was a friend lets us down. Slowly, subtly, the seed works down into the soil of our hearts and reproduces until we are very entangled. We become sour, resentful, negative and unpleasant for others to handle. God can rescue! When we forgive and release those who have hurt us; when we turn all these hurts over to God, the weeds die. In the hymn, “Help Us Forgive, Forgiving Lord,” Herman G. Stuempfle has shown us the way to be free of bitterness: “Help us forgive, forgiving Lord the wrong that others do, and, when our hearts are pierced by pain, to bring the hurt to You. For on the cross You bore for us the curse, the scorn, the hate and gave Your life to lift from us sin’s cruel and crushing weight. Let grace unlock each prisoned heart, uncoil each fisted hand until from hate our hearts are freed, our hands in love extend. And then, the broken circle closed, the broken friendships healed, Lord, hold us fast within the bonds by Your forgiveness sealed.” Selah! When we refuse to forgive and release those who hurt us; when we hold fast to bitterness, we are pridefully assuming that what has been done to us is worse than what we have done to Jesus.      Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Harmed By Hatred?

We are severely harmed if we harbor hatred! The object(s) of our hatred is/are harmed and God is offended. Let me explain: As mentioned yesterday, anger and hatred are closely related. We are harmed because as I John 3:15 points out: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” That is strong language! A Christian may have hatred enter his heart. However, if He is truly a Christian, God will deal with him. God’s love for him, with all of his sinfulness evokes a grateful love for God. If God can love him, surely he can love others! Love and hate cannot co-exist! Furthermore when we hate someone whom God made, we are offending his Creator. Hatred has led to murder and can still lead to murder! Love is placing very high value on another person. Hatred, anger and bitterness rot the soul. Even when love is rejected, we are to keep on loving. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” As the fruit of the Spirit blossoms in our lives, hatred will be evicted! E. A. Barnes gives us a Godly challenge in his hymn, “O Let Us Love Our Brothers.” It is our responsibility and privilege: “Whene’er a brother wrongs us we must love him just the same, and in love forgive and bless him in the Saviour’s loving name.” Selah! What if God hated us for how we offended Him? His love had no room for hatred. Let us be filled with His love! That will leave no room for hating anyone!     Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

 

Addicted to Anger?

Irritation, annoyance, aggravation, frustration, lead to anger. Anger breeds hatred. Sometimes hatred fuels anger. Over time, anger intensifies and often takes over lives. Those given to anger are apt to become addicted. Anger’s tentacles wrap around hearts, and the soil of bitterness nourishes anger. We might understand those outside of Christ being like that, but we expect more of those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord. How can anger get a stranglehold on our hearts? The violation of our “supposed” rights are seeds planted in our hearts that grow and blossom into anger. Dealing with this is one of the most important disciplines that a Christian is to exercise. Drawing on God’s strength, we must control our response and attitudes, or sin will get the upper hand. There is a righteous anger that is directed against sin and wrong. It is, however, never to be used to excuse sinful anger. “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). True Scriptural love can overcome anger’s addictive power! John speaks of this love in I John 4:11-12. Think deeply on his inspired words: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.” When we are offended, instead of giving way to anger, that offender has just become our mission field. We are to love them and pray for them. How wise God is! We can’t pray for someone and be angry at them at the same time. A. K. Miller’s hymn, “I Want to be Like Jesus,” describes what should be our hearts’ desire: “I want to be like Jesus, so lowly and so meek; for no one marked an angry word that ever heard Him speak. I want to be like Jesus, engaged in doing good, so that of me it may be said, he hath done what he could. Alas! I’m not like Jesus, as anyone may see; Thy gentle Spirit, Savior, send, and make me like to Thee.” Selah! The expulsive power of love can evict the cancer of anger and bring healing to a sin-damaged heart!      Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com