Heart Attitudes: Mechanical or Miraculous?

We have invented machines as effective, sometimes more effective, than human beings. They go through a regular process. However, they have no life!” They may function and even “talk.” For machines, that is acceptable. This raises a question: have you ever tried to have, or considered having, a relationship with a machine? I hope not! Where does that leave us with people who go on day after day in a regular routine with little or no thought about the meaning of life? Many lives lack peace, joy, excitement, purpose and hope. It is far worse, when one who claims Jesus as his or her Savior and Lord, operates mechanically, devoid of the abundant life that Jesus came to give (John !0:10). Jesus didn’t go to the cross to die for spiritual machines! We need to realize that Jesus lives in us! His very life should energize us, thrill us and impact others. Yet, if we view that life as only a true fact and fail to live in the reality of it, we will be much more mechanical than miraculous! Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians and for us is recorded in Ephesians 1:17-20a. He prayed: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:1he eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what (is) the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead….” Let us pray the prayer that Daniel Iverson gave us in, “Spirit of the Living God:”Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me, Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.” Selah! God’s life in us is a fact; when we live that fact in our daily lives; when we draw upon His Presence, power, passion and purity, we will move beyond the mechanical and mundane, into the “miraculous.”    Ron

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

Heart Attitudes: Whose Terms?

So many times, when we are confronted with the offer of salvation, we have certain reservations. For examples: “I’m willing to give it a try.” “I don’t think I can (or should be expected to) give up certain things that I really enjoy.” “I prayed earnestly for something and it didn’t happen, so I guess there’s nothing to it.” The point is that we are trying to persuade God to meet our terms. It simply doesn’t work that way! We deserve nothing, not one thing, from God. Before we come to Him, we are spiritually dead to God. We function in rebellion to God. Our wills come first. We choose what we want, even when it conflicts with what He wants. It is only His love for us and His desire for a relationship with us that moves Him to extend His offer of grace and mercy to us. Our only acceptable response to such love is a complete surrender to His Lordship. We commit unconditionally to His will initially, and then we learn to follow through from that point on. There will be “learning bumps” but no complete turning back. We may even get turned around temporarily, but as He works with us, we turn around and resume going His way. Total turning back indicates no genuine conversion has taken place (I John 1:19). In Matthew 16:24, Jesus explained to His disciples: “….If any (man) will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Charles W. L. Christien’s hymn, “Lord, I Make a Full Surrender,” expresses the response of the truly converted person: “Lord, I make a full surrender, all I have I yield to Thee, for Thy love, so great and tender, asks the gift of me. Lord, I bring my whole affection, claim it, take it for Thine own; safely kept by Thy protection, fixed on Thee alone. Lord, my will I here present Thee gladly, now no longer mine; let no evil thing prevent me blending it with Thine.  Lord, my life I lay before Thee, hear this hour the sacred vow!  All Thine own I now restore Thee, Thine forever now. Blessed Spirit, Thou hast brought me thus my will to Thee to give; for the blood of Christ has bought me, and by faith I live. Show Thyself, O God of power, my unchanging, loving Friend; keep me, till in death’s glad hour, faith in sight shall end.” Selah! Because of our failure to strongly press home the claims of Jesus, do the “tares” outnumber the “wheat” in our churches?   Ron

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

Heart Attitudes: How Can We Justify Refusing?

One attitude that is very hard to change is the subject of today’s article. It’s extremely hard to change because of the cause for the attitude. Someone has wronged us, offended us, hurt us. Our normal response is to write them off; reject them and have nothing more to do with them. At the very least, until they come, express sincere apologies, make things right and demonstrate that they have changed. Even then, we may hesitate. After all, what they did was inexcusable. What if we wronged God, offended Him and hurt Him? What if His attitude was: “No, I won’t forgive you!?” The fact is that we have sinned against God far more than anyone has against us. Nevertheless, when we “own up,” He forgives! The amazing part is that we offend many times and He not only forgives but helps us change. Interestingly, when we release those who offend us, “we” experience release. When we don’t, the cancer of bitterness eats away at us, sabotaging our spiritual lives. God’s Word is clear: “….be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). “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.” (From the hymn: “Help Us Forgive, Forgiving Lord,” by Herman G. Stuempfle). Selah! God’s grace and mercy has flowed into the lives of all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior; let us let it flow on into other lives, touching them as it has touched us.    Ron

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

Heart Attitudes: The “Lost!”

Have you and I really thought much about those that are “lost?” What does it mean to be “lost?” It’s an unending fate! One is lost to God, to hope, to peace, to joy, to righteousness, to Heaven! One is “lost” in sin, suffering, flames, in the company of evil people and “lost” in despair. When we think about the “lost,” do we think, “What can I do?” If we consider saying something to someone about his or her need of a Savior, do we fear rejection or hostility? Do we figure that they don’t want to hear it? So, what’s the use of offending them?” Isn’t this just the way that the god of this world wants us to think? Do we care about souls enough to risk offending people (which it may not always do)? Because very little is said about Hell these days, do we lose awareness of the horror of this place? “Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Have we become neutralized? Can we be stirred? Will H. Houghton’s hymn, “Lead Me to Some Soul Today,” expresses a deeply “felt” burden for the “lost” that should be mirrored in our hearts: “Lead me to some soul today, O teach me, Lord, just what to say; friends of mine are “lost” in sin, and cannot find their way. Few there are who seem to care, and few there are who pray; melt my heart and fill my life, give me one soul today.”  Selah! There are ways to reach some and God can use you and me, if we care enough. Ron

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

Heart Attitudes: The Church

What is our attitude toward the church? “It’s a good church.” “We like it.” “The people are nice.” “Good music.” Our church preaches the gospel.” These statements may be true of your church. However, I’m only talking about a local church as the visible expression of the invisible church (The sum total of all who are truly saved starting at the birth of the church and extending to the Rapture). This church has been identified as Jesus’ bride and as His Body. That’s truly personal! He loves us and cares for us. Do we thrill to be vitally related to Him? Do we love Him, like a bride would normally love her husband? Value Him, appreciate Him, desire to please Him, honor Him, submit to His leadership? Are we thankful to be objects of His love, His care, His provision? When we function in a local church, are we conscious of it, as if it were an organization, or a club, or a society? Shouldn’t we rather be conscious of a Spiritual union with all within its rank who are genuinely born again? We are one in Him! Ephesians 5:25-27 tells of His love for all who are His: “….Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” In the hymn, “Church of God, ” Frances R. Havergal and Daniel S. Warner have given us some timely thoughts on His church: “Church of God, thou spotless virgin, Church of Christ, for whom He died, thou hast known no human founder, Jesus bought thee for His bride. Sanctified by God the Father, built by Jesus Christ the Son, tempered by the Holy Spirit, like the Holy Three in One. God’s own holiness within thee, His own beauty on thy brow; glorified in His own image, this thy wondrous portion now. In thee dwells the triune fullness, blessing all thy pilgrim days; all around thee His salvation, and before thee gates of praise. Church of God, in heaven written, thine the risen life of Christ, and the treasures to thee given, never, never can be priced. Far above this world’s confusion, walking close by Jesus’ side, leaning on His loving bosom, is the church, His chosen bride.” Selah! Being a part of this amazing entity we know as His church, we are loved and blessed beyond measure. REJOICE!     Ron

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

Heart Attitudes: Changed Contents

You have a product that you really like. You’ve used it for years. It has good ingredients. A little bit at a time, the contents are changed. It tastes the same; it looks the same; the box it comes in is pretty much the same. However, the ingredients are not the same. You’ve been cheated! It is in this same way that the word “love” has been changed. It used to have the best meaning. But the word has had its content drained and a cheap substitute is called “love.” The content now could include lust for things, sexual immorality, having perceived needs met, scenery, etc. Love, in its Biblical meaning is to highly regard and esteem others (even enemies). To love is to seek others’ welfare; be willing to help them, if possible; be patient with them; weep with them; rejoice with them; pray for them; counsel and admonish them, etc. I Corinthians 13:4-8 speaks to this: “Charity suffereth long, (and) is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…..” Go back over this passage; substitute the word “love” for charity. Then go a second time and substitute the name “Jesus” for charity. You will recognize the original ingredients. William J. & Luella B. Henry’s hymn, “Love One Another,” gives us insight on this kind of true love: ” Let us ever love each other with a heart that’s warm and true, ever doing to our brother as to us we’d have him do. When the heart is sad and lonely, and the eyes with tears o’erflow, gentle words and deeds of kindness fall like sunbeams on the snow. Let us help our fallen brother, lift him gently by the hand; speaking words of cheer and comfort, point him to a better land. In this world of toil and sorrow many hearts are full of care, let us live to serve our Master, and each other’s burdens bear. Kind and loving to each other, gentle words to all we meet; thus we follow Christ our Savior, proving all His service sweet.” Selah! Let us expose the cheapened contents and seek the restoration of the original ingredients.  Ron

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

Heart Attitudes: When and How to Be Firm

I want to borrow a phrase from Ephesians 4:15. It is this: “….speaking the Truth in love.” We have stressed doing that. We have said that some can be reached this way. We have cautioned against being harsh, condemning and unloving. What happens when we do this and the person doesn’t respond? He or she seems to be entrenched in error. In Titus 3:10, Paul advised Titus: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject.” This is when to be firm (not mean; firm). How are we to be firm? One example might be: “What you believe and/or you are teaching is not Scriptural. If you are unwilling to stop, we can’t fellowship with you or we can’t let you spread error in our local church.” We need to be able to show this person where he or she is “off.” Then pray! If you have any indication that they might be ready to turn from error, talk to them. However, remain firm. Error must be stopped! We should “hurt” for any who are “caught up” in error. In the hymn, “Blest Instructor, from Thy Ways,” James Merrick offers this wise prayer: “Blest Instructor! from Thy ways, who can tell how oft he strays? Save from error’s growth my mind; leave not, Lord, one root behind. Purge me from guilt, that lies wrapt within my heart’s disguise; let me thence, by Thee renewed, each presumptuous sin exclude. Let my tongue, from error free, speak the words approved by Thee! To Thine all-observing eyes let my thoughts accepted rise. While I thus Thy Name adore, and Thy healing grace implore, blest Redeemer, bow Thine ear! God, my Strength, propitious hear.” Selah! Give no ground to error; offer solid ground to one who errs. Love them, be there for them, be firm, draw a line, but don’t shut out any who might be reachable.   Ron

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