When Life Seems Impossible

When South African Pastor Andrew Murray Andrew Murray was visiting England in 1895, he began to suffer pain from a previous back injury. While he was recuperating, his hostess told him of a woman who was in great trouble and wanted to know if he had any counsel for her. Murray said “Giver her this paper which I have been writing for my own (encouragement). It may be that she will find it helpful.”

This is what Murray wrote:

“In time of trouble, say:

First-God brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place. In that I will rest. Next-He will keep me in His love and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child. Then-He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow. Last-In His good time He can bring me out again- how and when He knows. I am here by God’s appointment, in His keeping, under His training, for His time.” (Source unknown).

Selah! Of course, this kind of trust and help is only for one who has come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Unsaved people can’t experience this and do not really believe it.  Ron

….now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ….” (From I Peter 1:6-7).

A Big Obstacle

Master or servant? For those who have acquired wealth, this is a very serious question. Possessing wealth can be a huge obstacle to what really matters in life. It can control our lives and give us a false sense of being very smart and important. Our ego might bask in our accomplishments and influence. Wealth can quietly and insidiously become our idol, our god! The idea of parting with our riches, or yielding them to the true God for Him to use through us, creates a “roadblock” to entering into a blessed relationship with Him. After challenging the man, who had great riches, to sell what he had and give to the poor, the initially excited individual couldn’t bring himself to accept the challenge. He left, empty and sad, rather than let go of his wealth. In Mark 10:23-27, Jesus addresses His disciples: “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men (it is) impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” The “roadblock” can be removed, if knowing Him is more important than anything else in our lives. Fanny Crosby understood. Here is how she expressed the highest of all priorities. In her hymn, “Give Me Jesus,” she wrote: “Take the world, but give me Jesus, all its joys are but a name; but His love abideth ever, through eternal years the same. Take the world, but give me Jesus, sweetest comfort of my soul; with my Savior watching o’er me,  I can sing though billows roll. Take the world, but give me Jesus, let me view His constant smile; then throughout my pilgrim journey light will cheer me all the while. Take the world, but give me Jesus; in His cross my trust shall be, ’till, with clearer, brighter vision, face to face my Lord I see.” Selah! God can reach the “up and outers,” just as well as the “down and outers,” if they will kneel at the cross!   Ron

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

 

The Cost is Very High!

In our day, especially in America, coming to Jesus is presented as easy and without much in the way of demands. Repent, believe, receive and enjoy seem to sum up our invitations to receive Jesus. Of course, if repentance, faith and receiving Jesus were explained more fully, fewer would lay claim to being saved. One man came excitedly to Jesus and Jesus brought him up short. Mark 10:17-22 relates this encounter: “And when He was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? (there is) none good but one, (that is), God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto Him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” He hurried to Jesus, bowed the knees, asked the way to eternal life. He showed respect to Jesus, and even called Him “Good Master.” On top of this, he evidently had lived a morally upright life. The “bottom line,” however, is that he had something more important to him than Jesus. In other words, he wasn’t ready to give himself completely to Jesus. When a person comes to Jesus, he or she must have or acquire a willingness to wholly give themselves to Jesus. This doesn’t earn themselves eternal life; it is a loving, grateful response to God’s love and grace. Frances Ridley Havergal expressed this kind of response in the hymn, “Take My Life, and Let It Be,” in these words: “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in endless praise, let them flow in endless praise. Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose, every power as Thou shalt choose.Take my will and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne, it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love; my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee, ever, only, all for Thee.” Selah! Only to Jesus is due our “all” for time and eternity. Hold nothing back; Jesus didn’t!  Ron

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

 

 

 

What about Children?

Sadly, some folk think children have to be given time to gain understanding of Spiritual Truth. They tell a child to wait until they are a little older before they think about coming to Jesus. They may actually hinder a child from coming to Jesus. The disciples made that mistake in Mark 10: 13. We are told: “And they brought young children to Him, that He should touch them: and His disciples rebuked those that brought them.” Those that brought the children wanted Jesus to touch them. The disciples assumed that Jesus was too busy to give time to children. Jesus noticed this. In verses 14-16, He expressed His displeasure and corrected His disciples: “But when Jesus saw (it), He was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And He took them up in his arms, put (His) hands upon them, and blessed them.” First, Jesus told them to let the children come to Him. So should we! Then, He used the incident to teach an important lesson. Unless we come to Jesus as a little child, we will not enter the kingdom of God. How does a little child come? They come willing and open, with a simple trust, uncluttered with a lot of skepticism. Jesus welcomed them, placed them in His arms, touched them, and blessed them. B. R. Hanby’s simple song, “We Come in Childhood’s Joyfulness,” explains this way of coming: “We come in childhood’s innocence, we come as children free! We offer up, O God! our hearts, in trusting love to Thee. Well may we bend in solemn joy at Thy bright courts above: well may the grateful child rejoice in such a Father’s love. We come not as the mighty come: not as the proud we bow; but as the pure in heart should bend, seek we Thine altars now. Forbid them not, the Savior cried, but let them come to Me;  O Savior dear, we hear Thy call, we come, we come to Thee.” Selah! With hearts unburdened by life’s distractions and doubts, children are joyful in the Savior’s love. Older people who, over the years, have been hardened by life’s experiences and wrong thinking may find it will keep them from coming to Jesus.   Ron

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

A Lingering Question

In the house, after Jesus’ teaching on divorce, the disciples seem to have had a lingering question. The implication is that it was about remarriage after a divorce. In Mark 10:10-12, Jesus addresses their concerns and adds additional  teaching: “And in the house His disciples asked Him again of the same matter. And He saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” Jesus’ strong teaching on marriage and divorce is hard for our human nature to handle. We think there ought to be some justifiable exceptions. We “feel” badly for any who are in this kind of situation. What is hard to grasp is that marriage is an extremely important undertaking and should never be undermined. It must be protected and be inviolable. The breakdown of a marriage damages a family (also very important, in God’s sight) and that in turn damages society. Remarriage pollutes the God-given plan and purposes for marriage. Marriage is never simply to make us “feel” good; that is only a fringe benefit.  Karl Johann Philipp Spitta’s hymn, “O Happy Home,” gives us part of God’s plan for marriage: “O happy home, where Thou art loved the dearest,  Thou loving Friend and Saviour of our race, and where among the guests there never cometh one who can hold such high and honored place! O happy home, where two in heart united in holy faith and blessed hope are one, whom death a little while alone divideth, and cannot end the union here begun! O happy home, whose little ones are given early to Thee in humble faith and prayer, to Thee, their Friend, Who from the heights of Heaven guides them, and guards with more than mother’s care!  O happy home, where each one serves Thee, lowly, whatever his appointed work may be, till ev’ry common task seems great and holy, when it is done, O Lord, as unto Thee! O happy home, where Thou art not forgotten when joy is overflowing, full and free,  O happy home, where ev’ry wounded spirit is brought, Physician, Comforter, to Thee.” Selah! No one should enter marriage without the cast-iron determination to make it work and never stop trying to do so.   Ron

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

What About Marital Infidelity?

Some will argue that in the case of marital infidelity, divorce is allowed. It looks like Scripture allows for that. However, “the exception clause” relates to what we think of as the engagement period. In the Jewish culture of that day, their pledges were given, then the husband went to his parents home to get a place ready for his betrothed (his fiancée). (See John 14:2-3). Note: His fiancée was considered his wife. When Joseph was considering putting away (divorcing) Mary quietly, something happened: “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” She was his wife, even though the marriage was not yet consummated. Had the angel of the Lord not intervened, Joseph would have been justified in putting her away (divorcing her). Once the marriage was consummated, that was no longer an option. What can a true Christian do when he or she has this problem today? First, every effort should be made to maintain the marriage. If the offending partner refuses to repent, separation, but not remarriage, is allowed. Many think this is too hard. However, the sanctity of marriage is to be upheld. It is interesting to note that some Bible teachers attempt to justify divorce when there has been unfaithfulness in the marriage. Andy Telford once observed that some of them have had this problem in their marriage or in that of a friend or family member. Selah! Christian marriages should be a visual illustration of Christ and His bride, the church; each loving the other. What if Jesus were to decide that His bride was unfaithful and so chose to put her away? Let us take marriage very seriously!     Ron

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

A Two-edged Trick Question-2 (Jesus teaches).

When the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus, He asked what Moses commanded. They said: “….Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put ‘her’ away.” They probably were quite smug with their answer. Immediately, Jesus brought them up short: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.” Far from justifying divorce, it revealed their pitiful heart condition! From that point on Jesus made several points from God’s Word. He said: “….from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” There is not one hint here about perceived gender. Jesus continues: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” As one has so aptly put it, “God didn’t create Adam and Steve.” He created Adam and Eve! Then Jesus warned: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Marriage is for life! Because of this, those contemplating marriage had better know what they are doing. Marriage is no light matter! Excited emotions are not the basis for a solid marriage. (I heartily recommend thorough pre-marital counseling). If we think that we can justify divorce, one logical inference that could be drawn from this is that Christ could justifiably divorce the church. Unthinkable! Full of wonder, full of art, full of wisdom, full of pow’r, full of kindness, grace, and heart, full of comfort flowing o’er, full of wonder, still I say, is Love’s chaste and gentle sway. Those who’ve never met before, ne’er each other known nor seen, never in the idlest hour thus employ’d their thoughts have been, yet whose hearts and hands in love tieth God Who lives above! Whom God joins together live, what the best is knoweth He, our thoughts only can deceive,  His from all defects are free;  God’s work standeth firm for aye, when all other must decay.” (From, “The Wonderful Estate of Matrimony-Source unknown). These thoughts are deep but full of wisdom. Selah! Is there any basis for divorce? Come back tomorrow. Hopefully, we can consider this question.   Ron

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