Calm in Crisis

When we are engulfed in troubles: health problems, danger, discouragement, overwhelming circumstances, etc. normal responses include fear, panic, despair, giving up, etc. That’s to be expected with most unsaved people. However, the true Christian has a supernatural resource. This resource is often forgotten and inadequately understood by far too many believers. Because we have been reconciled to God, we have peace with God. The enmity that existed between us (because of sin) is removed, The line of communication is restored. The lost fellowship is reinstated. Therefore, we have been promised the peace of God, no matter what we face in life. It may not free us from our troubles, but knowing God is in control and present to guide and strengthen us provides a wonderful calm in any crisis. It may or may not relieve the stress but real trust knows that living or dying He will see us through. Deuteronomy 33:27, which includes this statement: “The eternal God (is thy) refuge, and underneath (are) the everlasting arms” can be only a Truth that we believe or it can also be experienced as a reality. The choice is ours. Judging from his hymn, “Wonderful Peace,” Haldor Lillenas enjoyed it as both fact and reality: “Coming to Jesus, my Savior, I found wonderful peace, wonderful peace; storms in their fury may rage all around, I have peace, sweet peace. Peace like a river, so deep and so broad, wonderful peace, wonderful peace; resting my soul on the bosom of God,  I have peace, sweet peace. Peace like a holy and infinite calm, wonderful peace, wonderful peace; like to the strains of an evening psalm,  I have peace, sweet peace. Gone is the battle that once raged within, wonderful peace, wonderful peace;  Jesus has saved me and cleansed me from sin,  I have peace, sweet peace. Peace, peace, wonderful peace, peace, peace, glorious peace; since my Redeemer has ransomed my soul,  I have peace, sweet peace.” Selah! Living or dying, He will pilot us through the turbulent storms and, in His perfect timing, He will bring us into our eternally safe Harbor!   Ron

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An Unimaginable Destiny

Going way back into eternity past, before time began, God knew how it all would play out. Before time, through time and beyond time, God is moving toward His goal for all who truly receive the Lord Jesus Christ into their lives. In the realm of “eternity past,” God knew who would yield their lives to His Son. God planned their birth, life and destiny. In Romans 8:29-30, God, through Paul, gives us a “peek” at how it works: “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate (to be) conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” Now, some mistakenly believe that God just picks some to be saved and leaves others unsaved. The key lies in how He “picked” some for salvation. He simply foreknew before they were created that they, within His Sovereignty, would exercise their will to receive Jesus. He didn’t make them do this; He allowed them a measure of free will. Those who received Jesus are called, justified (and, notice the tense) “glorified!” It is an accomplished reality! It will take place! What does it mean to be “glorified?” Bottom line: we will be conformed to the image of Jesus! Unimaginable, but guaranteed! If you have not received Him, won’t you open your life to Him and seal your glorious destiny?  “O boundless love divine! How shall this tongue of mine to wond’ring mortals tell the matchless grace divine – that I, a child of Hell, should in His image shine? The Comforter has come!” (Excerpted from, “The Comforter Has Come“-By  Francis Bottome). Selah! What a “forever future” awaits those who choose Him as Lord and Savior!  Ron

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On the Winning Side!

No matter the failures, the hardships, the attacks, even death, all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior are on the winning side! The war may be painful, discouraging and look hopeless. However, there is joy and peace even in adversity. It is because we are not in the battle alone. We have the weapons, the strategy, and God-given strength. Nevertheless, we have to obey orders from the Soldiers’ Manual (The Word of God) and know how to use our weapons: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare (are) not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:3-5). We will be resisted, but in II Timothy 2:3 we are given a charge: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Paul, in Romans 8:35, gives us a look at what we are up against and asks: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Shall) tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? In Verses 37-39, he answers the question:Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In the hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers,” S. Baring-Gould musically shouts the call to arms: “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle, see His banner go! At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; on, then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise! Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before!” Selah! We might lose some battles but not the war! Therefore, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (I Corinthians 16:13).  Ron

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A Crucial Contrast!

There are many watered-down appeals these days to believe in Jesus for salvation. Agree with the facts of the Gospel and your ticket to Heaven is punched! If there are implications in these facts you certainly should think about them. Nevertheless, don’t worry! Because of your embracing of the facts, you are guaranteed to go to Heaven. Wait a minute! This line of thinking is in sharp contrast, a crucial contrast, to Paul’s inspired warning in Romans 8:6-9. He wrote: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded (is) life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” To go on living in our “flesh,” our old nature passed down to us from Adam’s fall, means that we don’t have the Spirit of Christ and we are none of His! The new nature given at genuine conversion turns us from continuing to live the way we did before we received Jesus as Lord and Savior. We are now committed to walking in the light of God’s Word. We’ll have setbacks, but our new direction is Godly living and God enables us to grow in His grace. If we get off track, we’ll get back on. (In rare cases, God might take a child of His home prematurely). Charles H. Gabriel has given us the hymn, “Walking With Jesus,” which speaks of a true Christian’s new direction in life: “Walking with Jesus, O how delightful!  Leaning upon Him day after day; beauties anew to me are unfolding, as to my soul He talks by the way. Walking with Jesus, fearing no evil!  Thus we together journey along; brighter the sunshine, lighter the burden, clearer the sight, and sweeter the song. Walking with Jesus, onward and upward, dreading no danger, fearing no foe; blessings I need He showers upon me, as with rejoicing onward I go. Walking with Jesus, safe in His shelter, kept by His pow’r, upheld by His grace; never to leave Him, never to wander, until in Heav’n I look on His face.” Selah! Our desires indicate in which direction we are going. Sinful desires fade and fade, if we are saved. Godly desires increase and intensify in the lives of those who are His!   Ron

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A Close Look at Failure

Failure can hurt us or help us! The devil can use it against us or God can use it for good. How we react to failure determines which way it impacts us. Christians will have failures. That is a given! Read Romans 7 carefully. Paul had failures. Did they discourage him? Short term. yes! Long term, no! He went on to write “…. we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (From Romans 8:37). How can that be? First, he didn’t excuse his failures. He didn’t succumb to the “I can’t do it” or “I can’t help it” attitudes. Secondly, he looked to God and what He has done for us and for help to overcome. What happened? He remembered: “(There is) therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1a). And, he recalled the means of overcoming failure: We are to “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1b). How does that work? We let the Holy Spirit guide us into the Word (John 16:13), ground us in the Word and govern us by the Word. Perhaps you reason: “but, I keep failing.” We start out in the Christian life as spiritual infants. We have to learn to walk. We will stumble, take some bad falls, take some faltering steps, but we keep trying until we can walk steadily! Even then, we trip; we may injure ourselves. However, we don’t stay on the ground! We work our way up or someone helps us. We move forward. If we, who truly know Jesus as Savior and Lord, get turned around, the Holy Spirit alerts us and points us in the right direction. “Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior, trying to follow our Savior and King; shaping our lives by His blessed example, happy, how happy, the songs that we bring. Pressing more closely to Him who is leading, when we are tempted to turn from the way; trusting the arm that is strong to defend us, happy, how happy, our praises each day. Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior, upward, still upward, we’ll follow our Guide; when we shall see Him, “the King in His beauty,” happy, how happy, our place at His side. How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior, stepping in the light, stepping in the light; how beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior, led in paths of light.” (From, “Stepping in the Light,”-by Eliza E. Hewitt). Selah! Even with failures, get up or let someone help you, move on and up and let Him plant your feet on higher ground!   Ron

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It’s Not All Smooth Sailing!

When a person experiences genuine conversion, an actual Spiritual new birth, he and she will soon realize that Satan hasn’t given up on them. He has lost possession of them, but he still hangs on to what little territory that he can. They have been taken out of Adam, but not all of “Adam” has been taken out of them. It is in God’s plan for us to draw on Himself for the strength and means to wrest the last bit of territory from the devil’s control. Satan is a master manipulator of our emotions. He stimulates curiosity and sinful desires to lure us into sin, thereby protecting his turf. We can and must resist! We are disciples! We are to exercise discipline over our emotions, and with God’s help, not allow them to influence wrong choices. When we “feel” the pull to give in, we need to discipline our wills to choose to go by God’s Word, just as Jesus did! We don’t have to let our emotions drag us into sin, like a bull being led around by a ring in its nose. Paul’s inspired charge to us, found in Romans 6:11-12, is to: “….reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Horatio R. Palmer offers sound counsel in his hymn, “Yield Not to Temptation.” “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin; each vict’ry will help you, some other to win; fight valiantly onward, evil passions subdue; look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through. Shun evil companions, bad language disdain; God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain; be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true; look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through. To him that o’ercometh,  God giveth a crown; through faith we will conquer, though often cast down; He who is our Savior, our strength will renew; look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through. Ask the Savior to help you, comfort, strengthen and keep you; He is willing to aid you, He will carry you through.” Selah! Disciplining our wills to follow God’s principles and drawing on His strength, we can halt sinful desires right in their tracks!  Ron

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The Outcome!

One moment pronounced guilty and sentenced to eternal punishment; the next moment, we find that “Another” paid our penalty in full. All charges are dropped and we go scot-free! Such is the grace of God toward all who place their trust in Jesus as their Savior and Lord! Paul, in Romans 5:1-2, gives us the inspired summary of what our trust in Jesus made possible: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Further on in Verse 8, we are reminded of the wonder of God’s love: “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When we couldn’t care less, God couldn’t care more! Margaret J. Harris’ hymn, “He Took My Sins Away,” captures some of the wonder of the outcome of genuine trust in Christ: “I came to Jesus, weary, worn, and sad,  He took my sins away, He took my sins away, and now His love has made my heart so glad, He took my sins away. The load of sin was more than I could bear. He took them all away, He took them all away, and now on Him I roll my every care, He took my sins away. No condemnation have I in my heart, He took my sins away, He took my sins away.  His perfect peace He did to me impart, He took my sins away. If you will come to Jesus Christ today, He’ll take your sins away, He’ll take your sins away, and keep you happy in His love each day, He’ll take your sins away. He took my sins away, He took my sins away, and keeps me singing every day! I’m so glad He took my sins away. He took my sins away.” Selah! He took our sins away and gave us His Son! This is the most amazing transaction that we could ever experience! If you haven’t done this, do it now, while the offer is on the table.   Ron

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