Sending Things Home

When we visit a foreign country, it’s not unusual to send things home. It may be for financial reasons, it may be gifts, or it may be something that we want to keep. When we get home, we hope to enjoy those things that we want to keep. Thinking about home stirs up a desire to be there. Being away is interesting, challenging, instructive, fun, costly, etc. Sometimes we are able to help the people where we visit. There is always a possibility, that we could enjoy our visit so much that we could be tempted to stay there, to settle down, to forget home. On the other hand, home is so much better. When we stop and think, our hearts turn toward home. Those who have been born again experience most of these things that our hypothetical foreign visitor does. However, the Christian’s home is perfect and the heart always turns toward home. Nevertheless, there is always the danger of getting “bogged down.” We need to remember these Scriptural admonitions: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). Albert E. Brumley, in the fourth stanza of his gospel song, “This World is Not My Home,” put it well: “Just up in Glory-land we’ll live eternally, the saints on every hand are shouting victory, their songs of sweetest praise drift back from Heaven’s shore and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” Selah! “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (I John 2:17).    Ron

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Heaven’s Previews

Advertisements for an event give reasons to come to it.. What is given is designed to pique your curiosity and interest and motivate you to come and see. God has done something like that in the Bible. All the glimpses of Heaven are planned to give you an appetite for the whole picture and to make you want to be there. For an event, you usually have to purchase a ticket. For seeing Heaven, Someone has already paid the admission price. We would get ready for the event and we also need to get ready for Heaven. As far as the event is concerned, if someone bought your ticket, you would have to accept it. Jesus has paid for your arrival in Heaven and His death on the cross was the price. When we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord our presence in Heaven is guaranteed. It’s very nice when someone buys you a ticket to a good event. The price that Jesus paid is beyond imagination and comprehension. The glorious truth is that He paid it for whosoever will receive it! A ticket from a friend or generous benefactor is good for a day or a limited time. The gift that Jesus offers is for forever!! To refuse a friend’s gift could be seen as ingratitude; to refuse God’s gift is the ultimate ingratitude. For those who do receive Him, listen to what He has promised in John 14: 1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” These promises are for all who receive His offer of salvation. Consider the musical testimony of one who received the Savior: “The Savior has come in His mighty power and spoken peace to my soul; and all of my life from that very hour I’ve yielded to His control, I’ve yielded to His control. ‘Twas only a foretaste of joys divine in Canaan waiting for me, where sweetest of honey and milk and wine were dripping from every tree, were dripping from every tree. From glory to glory He leads me on, from grace to grace ev’ry day; and brighter and brighter the glory dawns, while pressing my homeward way, while pressing my homeward way. If fellowship here with my Lord can be so inexpressibly sweet, Oh, what will it be when His face we see, when ’round the (great) throne we meet, when ’round the (great) throne we meet?” ( From: ” ‘Tis Marvelous and Wonderful,” by Mrs. C. H. Morris). Selah! If you have received the Lord as your Savior, rejoice! If you haven’t, receive this eternally marvelous gift while the offer is still available. It can be withdrawn at any time.  Ron

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Stationed in a Foreign Country

Being stationed in a foreign country is quite an experience. You are away from home for an extended period of time. You work there, meet people, make friends, visit places, have a place to live, engage in social activities, learn all about the country, etc. You like a lot about the place. Once in awhile, you consider settling down there. Some actually do settle there for the rest of their days. For most, there is a desire to go home. You try to make the best of it while there but you have a longing to get home. This is somewhat like the experience of the born again Christian. They are restored to Spiritual life and come to realize that they are dwelling in a foreign country (this world). Their real home is Heaven and they are longing to go home. They try to make the best of their temporary home. They avoid the degrading things found all around them. Local people notice the difference and treat the redeemed as foreigners. Yet some see qualities that they come to value, in these strange people. They would like to be like these aliens. They are told that there is Someone: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). They are told that they can have their citizenship changed to Heaven. All who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord are adopted into His family and become part of His Kingdom. Just as Americans have a better life than most of the world, God’s true people have a better life and destiny than the whole world. When God’s people come home, they will have a perfect life! Mrs. A. J. Bridgewater’s hymn, “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be,” gives us some ideas about the home that God has for those who are His: “We read of a place that’s called Heaven, it’s made for the pure and the free; these truths in God’s Word He hath given, how beautiful Heaven must be. In Heaven no drooping or pining, no wishing for elsewhere to be; God’s light is forever shining, how beautiful Heaven must be. Pure waters of life there are flowing, and all who will drink may be free; rare jewels of splendor are glowing, how beautiful Heaven must be. How beautiful Heaven must be, sweet home of the happy and free; fair haven of rest for the weary, how beautiful Heaven must be.” Selah! Only those who have become citizens of Heaven will enjoy that “forever” home!    Ron

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To Tell the Truth

There was a TV game panel show called: “To Tell the Truth.” Three people claimed to be a certain person. Only one was that person. The pretenders were allowed to lie; the actual person was sworn to truth. It was the panelists’ goal to discover who was the actual person as opposed to the imposters. For born again Christians, two lessons can be drawn from this show. 1. Those who are authentic can usually be identified by those who observe. 2. The pretenders often look like “the real thing.” The more the life of a genuine Christian is probed, the more obvious it should be that they are real. As to the imitators, they are often exposed. At the end of the show the imitators were revealed. At the end of life, all imitators will be exposed. Speaking of wheat and tares in Matthew 13:30, Jesus instructed His disciples to: “Let both grow together until the time of harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn.” All who belong to Jesus should be easily identified by the life they live and the values they hold. We are different! We are to, in the words of William D. Longstaff, “Take Time to Be Holy.” In the second stanza, he wrote: “Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; spend much time in secret with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be — Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.” Selah! We are to be holy. In order to be holy, we must be purified. Peter tells us: “….ye have purified your souls in obeying the Truth through the Spirit.” Paul, in Titus 2:14, explains Jesus’ purpose in sacrificing Himself. It was: “….that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” A peculiar (unique) people that are easily seen to be the “real goods.”   Ron

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After the Party is Over!

What happens after the party is over (or should I say the meal, the activities)? Is this where the giving of thanks stops? If we limit our giving of thanks to God to once a year, is that enough? Suppose you only thanked your wife, husband, parent(s) or children once a year, would they feel that they were appreciated? Someone does a lot to help us and we wait until one day in the year and then thank them for what they did and do, would that suffice? What if God only blessed us once a year, would that be all that we hoped He would do? The sad truth is that if we didn’t have Thanksgiving Day, too many people would never thank God! Having said that, how many are thankful for blessings but not for the “Blesser?” Thanks-giving is not just a responsibility, it is a way of life for those who are His born again children. Ephesians 5:20 describes the normal response of His grateful children: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is normal for a Spirit filled Christian. Giving thanks comes from hearts that are full of psalms, hymns, spiritual songs and that sing and make melody within and that overflow to ignite gratitude in others (see Verses 17-19). Few hymns afford such a comprehensive array of reasons to be full of thanks, as does August Ludvig Storm’s “Thanks to God!” He wrote: “Thanks, O God, for boundless mercy from Thy gracious throne above; thanks for every need provided from the fullness of Thy love. Thanks for daily toil and labor and for rest when shadows fall; thanks for love of friend and neighbor and Thy goodness unto all. Thanks for thorns as well as roses, thanks for weakness and for health; thanks for clouds as well as sunshine, thanks for poverty and wealth. Thanks for pain as well as pleasure — all Thou sendest day by day; and Thy Word our deepest treasure, shedding light upon our way. Thanks, O God, for home and fireside, where we share our daily bread; thanks for hours of sweet communion, when by Thee our souls are fed. Thanks for grace in time of sorrow and for joy and peace in Thee; thanks for hope today, tomorrow, and for all eternity!” Selah! One day a year is worthwhile for concentrated thanks giving; let every day be full of gratitude and expressed to our loving Heavenly Father.   Ron

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A Mind Manufactured Idol

We, who have experienced a genuine conversion, can fall into a neat trap. Our minds, worked on by subtle thoughts and feelings, can unconsciously manufacture an idol. Here’s how: when we are born again, God’s Truth becomes a sacred trust. We love it, defend it and strive to expose and guard against anyone or anything that tries to promote error. This is as it should be. On the other hand, Satan often hijacks this kind of faithfulness and twists it to his own ends. We can be so committed to God’s Word that we focus only on understanding it, believing it and guarding it. The problem is that we minor on applying and obeying God’s Truth. If our minds have been distracted from obedience and application, they have manufactured an idol. If we come to realize how we have been trapped, the enemy has another trap ready, right in our mental pathway. The suggestion is that we focus on obedience and experience. We are influenced to downplay doctrine and major on experience. Voila! Another idol has replaced the first one! Satan is very clever! Paul in a few inspired words in Romans 10:10 gives the antidote to both kinds of idolatry: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” We believe, defend, apply and obey! This is God’s balance! If we have fallen into either trap, let’s ask God the same thing that William Cowper asked in his hymn, “O for a Closer Walk with God.” This was his appeal; may it be ours as well: “The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be, help me to tear it from Thy throne and worship only Thee.” Selah! In Jude 3, We have been exhorted to: “….earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” In Ephesians 2:10 we have the other half of our needed balance: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Let’s not let our hearts and minds be turned to any idol!   Ron

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When We Stop and Think About It

Perhaps, the problem is that we are so busy that we just don’t have time to stop and think about it. Now, obviously there are times when we have to be busy. Chores must be done, phone calls need to be made , errands run, bills paid, children cared for, etc. Nevertheless, we need to have some times to stop, think and catch our breath. More than that, we who are born again, must have a time to quiet ourselves before God. In Psalm 46:10, God commands: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted.” In order to obey (because of our love for Him) we need to know that some of our activities are not needed. We need to distinguish between necessary things and things that we need to refuse to do. If we are too busy for God, we are too busy no matter how important we think some responsibilities are. On the other hand, when we do stop and think, meditate and pray, we discover the joy and glory of interacting with our Creator. We experience God, Him Whom Jesus has always enjoyed. We become excitingly aware of Jesus’ Presence within us, in the Person of the Holy Spirit! We walk with and fellowship with Him. We learn more and more of His love and our grateful hearts well up with love for Him and overflow with praise and worship to the Father. This is not religion, or duty; it is not trying to earn favor. It is vital, wonderful, thrilling Christianity! It is Christ in us, manifesting Himself to those lives which intersect with ours. A tract to a waitress or waiter, a few words to a friend, an encouragement to a  Christian brother or sister, a Godly lifestyle showing the work of God in our lives, a helping hand in His name, these are a few of the ways in which people are made aware of Him. In the hymn, “Lord, Speak to Me, That I May Speak,” Frances R. Havergal gives us priceless words of prayer: “O fill me with Thy fullness, Lord, until my very heart o’erflow in kindling thought and glowing word Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show.  Selah! If we quiet  ourselves before God and think deeply on Him, our very heart will overflow!  May He use us as salt, provoking great thirst for Jesus and His love.   Ron

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