Secret Orders

There is in human nature a desire to be a part of some club or group. For a large number, their desire to belong leads them to unite with a secret order. This can lead to some very mistaken involvement. While this course of action is understandable for unsaved people that have no better way to invest time and energy, it is distressing for one who claims to be born again to become involved. This is a clear violation of II Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” The application of this command is too often limited to the matter of marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. While this should never be considered, it also applies to other areas as well. Why would we want close fellowship with those who are not of the family of God? We, who have experienced genuine conversion, are part of the greatest fellowship on earth, the Church; the Body of Christ! Our time, energy, and resources should be dedicated to advancing His Church, not supporting a group that is governed by a worldview totally in conflict with the clear teaching of God’s Word. That kind of worldview needs to be rejected by God’s people. In, “Be Thou My Vision,” an 8th century Irish hymn, we find expression of that which should drive us, “Riches I heed not nor man’s empty praise – Thou mine inheritance now and always; thou and Thou only be first in my heart – High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art.” Selah! People are often drawn into these secret orders because these orders do many good things; because the people who are in them seem to be good people; because the members are there for each other, etc. However, as they become members and advance to the highest echelons in these groups, they find demonic influences and escape becomes almost impossible. If this seems extreme, I suggest that you go online and click trustworthy links to those who have exposed them thoroughly. “Not all that glitters is gold,” someone wisely said.   Ron

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Under Enemy Control

I’ve never been accused of being “a radical.” That may change with this article. However, it shouldn’t take a lot of research to validate my conclusions. With some encouraging exceptions, the public schools and secular colleges and institutions have done truly major damage to our country and our citizens. Even some “Christian” colleges have had a share. With liberal philosophies and influences, we have tried to justify various forms of immorality, taught evolutionary theories as scientific fact, rejected God’s Truth, embraced the assumption that the end justifies the means, fought for abortion on demand, tried to remove God from the nation, undermined religious freedom, tried to remove the Ten Commandments from the public square, are trying to separate our nation from its historic Christian roots, etc. These are only some things that are going on in our once great country. I, personally, have no doubt that we are on the brink of profound judgment. God has been astonishingly patient, but for how much longer? We don’t know. Nevertheless, it could be sudden and soon! The serious problems that we face are the direct result of offending a Holy God. Who could be more pleased with this moral plunge than the enemy of our souls? “….the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.” (From II Corinthians 4:4). We are in urgent and desperate need of revival in the church and a Spiritual awakening in our world and our country. Lethargy in the church and rebellion in the world is a perfect recipe for experiencing an outpouring of God’s wrath. Is there time for repentance and   revival? Only God knows. II Chronicles 7:14 offers hope, “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” Add to that, “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that  without  remedy” (Proverbs 29:1). Selah! We need the counteracting power of a revived church to reverse the tide of ungodliness that is engulfing our world.   Ron

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Has Prayer Become Unbalanced?

Why is prayer often unexciting? Why do we treat it as something that may be helpful? Why, in prayer meeting (if you have a prayer meeting), does prayer seem simply like a list of things we want God to fix? Why is our private prayer (if we have private prayer) like something that we need to work in somehow, because that is what Christians do? Have we completely lost sight of what prayer really is? Do we grasp that we are talking to God!? This is so vital to understand that I’m going to repeat my question: Do we grasp that we are talking to God!? Do we tell Him how much we love Him? Are we filled with gratitude for Himself, His goodness, kindness, grace, mercy, provision, etc.? Are we caught up in the wonder of His Person and attributes? Do we worship? Do we praise, admire, adore? Do we listen; listen carefully? Do we pray for our brothers and sisters in God’s family? Or, is our praying mostly confined to a list of needs? If so, no wonder that prayer is reduced to the status of a “religious” duty! I’ve prayed! I’ve done my duty! Now, I can get on with life. That kind of prayer can only be more and more boring. It’s unbalanced! It’s a scandal that talking to some famous person: athlete, political leader, movie star or other kind of celebrity excites us while talking to Almighty God is treated as a responsibility that we need to get behind us. In Psalm 100:4, we are instructed to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” This is not done as a formula but is the outpouring of a heart of love for such a God as ours! Paul, inspired to admonish the church at Philippi (and us who are born again, as well) wrote “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:4;6). Requests are important to God because He loves us, but are incidental to the thrill of enjoying His Presence and having an opportunity to tell Him how much we love and appreciate and value Him. Cleland B. McAFEE, in his hymn, “Near to the Heart of God,” reminds us, “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God, a place where we our Savior meet near to the heart of God. There is a place of full release, near to the heart of God, a place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God. O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God, hold us who wait before Thee near to the heart of God.” (Emphasis, mine). Selah! Enjoying, loving, honoring, praising, thanking, etc.; then requests turned over to Him, trusting Him to handle them as He knows best; that’s balance!   Ron

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What Prayer Moves God?

Sometimes, it seems as if God doesn’t hear when we come to Him. If, however, our hearts are right, He does hear! That leads me to ask of myself, and of you, some questions. First, are our requests motivated by a genuine concern for God’s will? “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (I John 5:14-15). The “bottom line” here is this: is our petition according to the will of God? When we ask God for something and there seems to be no response, go to the Word, see if we are in harmony with or in conflict with God’s Word. Second, what motives prompt our requests? Do we want what He wants? Are we just doing the “Christian thing” or are we earnestly desiring God to do what He knows is best? Or, do we want Him to do whatever we want of Him, as if He were our servant to satisfy every desire that we have?  Third, do we come with true concern for people’s needs or do we say, as a matter of habit, I’ll/We’ll pray for you. Then, do we mention the need to God and feel that we’ve done our duty? Perhaps, we can sometimes be part of the answer. Are we really concerned for the individual(s) or do we pray and forget it? Finally, is prayer a wonderful, personal  time of talking things over with, and sharing our burdens with, the One Who loves us? Or, are we only doing a “religious” thing? In the third stanza of the hymn, “Renew Thy Church, Her Ministries Restore,” Kenneth L. Cober shares a prayer that we would do well to make our prayer. He wrote, “Teach us to pray, for Thou art ever near: Thy still voice let us hear. Our souls are restless till they rest in Thee: this our glad destiny. Before Thy Presence keep us still, that we may find for us Thy will and seek Thy guidance ev’ry day: Teach us, Lord, how to pray!” Selah! Hearts on fire with love for God and ignited by His love for us, will soon learn to talk to Him in confidence that His will is best!   Ron

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What’s Missing at the House?

If there is something you need or want very much for your house, or something that you use that is in short supply, if it is within your means, you will likely go and get it. There are things that are extremely important to have. How is it, then, that nothing much seems to concern us about an extremely important thing missing or in short supply in God’s House? Jesus, in Matthew 21:13, confronted those that were conducting business in the temple. “And He said unto them, It is written, My House shall be called the House of Prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Is prayer absent or in short supply in our local churches? How much vital corporate prayer do we see or do? Has prayer been reduced to a formal part of the “Order of Worship?” Does what prayer that takes place lack substance? Why is prayer relegated, far too often, to the “back burner?” What “thieves” cause this to happen? Could it be those who have bought into substitutes for God’s power? Programs? Promotions? Publicity? While these may have a legitimate place when properly used, we make a fatal mistake if we rely on these instead of praying down the Spirit’s power and using God’s methods of ministry. Wouldn’t it be real wisdom to evaluate our priorities to determine if they align with God’s? George Atkins, in the hymn, “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship,” voices this appeal, “Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God; will you pray with all your power while we try to preach the Word? All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down; brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.” The great revivals were birthed in prayer; perhaps that lack is why we are not being revived! Selah! What can we do to re-supply God’s House with quality prayer? God tells us in James 5:16, “….the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Let’s offer our portion of the supply!    Ron

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The Revelation

There is a book in the Bible named “The Revelation.” Some people claim to have been given a special revelation. The fact of the matter is that the entire Bible is a revelation; a revealing. We might well add that it is a revealing like none other. (No extra or special revelations needed)! Before we take a closer look at this, I want to emphasize that the Bible is completely inspired. If it were not inspired, without error and supernaturally preserved, true Christianity has no reality. Christianity can only be validated by the total reliability of the Word of God! Having made that clear, the Scriptures alone give us God’s plan from eternity past, through time and into eternity future. It reveals God’s character, standards, principles, commands, purposes. It explains the source and consequences of sin. It shows us the means of pardon and forgiveness, cleansing and redemption. It reveals how we got here, why we are here and where we will be. It affords counsel, guidance, comfort, hope, confidence, purpose, meaning, etc. It has been attacked more than any other book and continues to survive, in spite of relentless and often harsh attacks. It has a supernatural Presence in its message for those with ears to hear. It is the Voice of God, speaking to the heart of man! It has never been proven wrong and never will be proven wrong. It has transformed more people, from being lost sinners into God’s children, than all other books combined! Its prophecies have always been fulfilled, are being fulfilled, or will be fulfilled.  In John 6:63, Jesus said, “….the  Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” God Himself, speaks to our hearts and minds, if we truly listen. In the second stanza of, “The Bible Stands,” Haldor Lillenas gives us more insight, “The Bible stands like a mountain tow’ring far above the works of man; its Truth by none ever was refuted, and destroy it they never can.” Selah! Time in the Bible, with a heart to listen, a will to apply and a determination to obey will soon reveal that we have heard from the Throne and we will be blessed with an awareness of God’s Person.   Ron

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A Foolproof Foundation

We don’t have to look very far to see heartache, misery, poverty, depression, loneliness, fear, anxiety, etc. People around us, and often we ourselves, experience these things. People murder, hate, envy, hurt others, say awful things, lie, cheat, steal, etc. Some live fairly upright lives but are caught up in addictions, living for pleasure, materialism, always searching for a better life. People wander aimlessly, or in the wrong direction, all through life. If not that, they relentlessly pursue wrong goals, live with wrong motives, and behave in ways that God condemns. Lives are built upon sand and unless people discover a Rock solid enough upon which to build their lives, these lives will collapse in eternal ruin! There is such a Rock! It is knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord! If we build on Him, knowing Him in this way, we can weather the storms of life and ultimately arrive in the Haven of Rest. But, how do we do this? We begin with the establishing of a saving relationship with Him; a Spiritual rebirth. (See John 3:3). God has provided all necessary information, understanding, guidance, guarantees, aids, security, purpose, motives, goals, etc. to live life abundantly. All this is found in the Bible, His Holy Word. Jesus Himself, the Living Word, is the Rock. When we build our lives on the written Word, having been born again, we are building on the Living Word. There is no other foundation that will hold up forever! Psalm 119:89 tells us, “For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in Heaven.” “The Bible Stands,” another great hymn by Haldor Lillenas, gives voice to this unshakable truth, “The Bible stands like a Rock undaunted ‘mid the raging storms of time; it’s pages burn with the truth eternal, and they glow with a light sublime. The Bible stands tho’ the hills may tumble, it will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble; I will plant my feet on its firm foundation, for the Bible stands, the Bible stands.”  Selah! Tomorrow, Lord willing, I hope to explore some essential facts about God’s Word. Christianity rises or falls on the total inspiration of Scripture!  Ron

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