What Did We Put on the Altar?

My computer came to me and told me what it would do for me. If that were true, I wouldn’t be pleased. I want to use my computer for my own concerns, not for what it chooses to do. When it comes to Christians versus a computer, what have we put on God’s altar? Is it our talents, our knowledge, our plans, our goals? If so, what use are we to God? I want control over my computer; God wants control over our talents, knowledge, plans and goals. In short, He wants us to place ourselves on the altar. If I maintain control of my computer, I can accomplish a lot; if God maintains control of our lives, think what He can and might accomplish. My machine has no choice in the matter. We do have a choice! We can do things our way and accomplish nothing of eternal value or we can yield to God and He will accomplish things with eternal value! It’s a matter of control. When I’m in control, what I do is a “fleshly” work. I will take pride in what I do. God will never bless that which is of the flesh! When He is in control, it’s a work of the Spirit, God, the Holy Spirit, and He gets and deserves the glory! And we “end up” blessed! This is what Paul, in Romans 12:1-2, was urging the believers at Rome to do: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, (which is) your reasonable service, and be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what (is) that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Let the chorus in Charles H. Gabriel’s hymn, “More Like the Master,” be the offering of our lives: “Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone; take Thou my heart and make it all Thine own. Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore, wash me and keep me Thine forevermore.” Selah! When God’s fire strikes our self efforts, only ashes are left; when His “fire” works in and through us, pure gold emerges from the flames.     Ron

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

 

 

What Is That Smell?

There are two phrases you have probably heard: “Smell those flowers!” and “The stench of death.” There can be an application made in the lives of genuine Christians. Think on “Smell those flowers!” What a pleasant scent comes from some flowers! We really enjoy it. Being around a vibrant Christian who loves and enjoys His or Her Lord, who is filled with joy and peace and who really cares for others; this brings pleasure! What about “the scent of death?” If a child of God is deeply burdened over lost people and has a chance to explain to those who are lost what they face if they do not come to Jesus as Savior and Lord, some will begin to think on what death means to them. They may begin to “sense” what would happen to them if they face eternity without knowing Jesus. An awareness of impending death and judgment may move them to come to Him while they can. Failure to receive Him leaves one with a nagging sense of fear of what comes after the grave. In II Corinthians 2:15-16, Paul writes: “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” A. J. Hodge, in the hymn, “Have You Counted the Cost?” musically describes the contrasting impacts that our lives and words can have on people: “There’s a line that is drawn by rejecting our Lord, where the call of His Spirit is lost, and you hurry along with the pleasure-mad throng – have you counted, have you counted the cost? You may barter your hope of eternity’s morn, for a moment of joy at the most, for the glitter of sin and the things it will win – have you counted, have you counted the cost? Have you counted the cost, if your soul should be lost tho’ you gain the whole world for your own? Even now it may be that the line you have crossed, have you counted, have you counted the cost?” Selah! If we walk closely with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will direct the proper scent to the right people.   Ron

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

 

Excitement with Stability

We’ve all known people who are all excited when they are “up” and hurt emotionally when they are “down.” They are fun to watch, when they are excited and hard to deal with when things go wrong. Born again people have a lot to be excited about, with all that God means to them and all that He does for them. However, if this excitement is not anchored properly, it can result in emotional instability. How, then, does one anchor excitement? By basing our excitement on solid Biblical Truth, by being governed by Scriptural guidelines and principles, by learning obedience and developing discipline in our daily lives, we find that our excitement doesn’t run our lives. It is the daily blessing of the Spirit directed life. It doesn’t fluctuate with varying circumstances but is like a steady current moving us closer and closer to Jesus. We rest in His wisdom and love, through the “highs” and “lows” of life. We are thrilled with His working in our lives but we are at peace, trusting His control and help for our trials. We are often excited but always stable. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). This constant stability testified to in G. A. Young’s hymn, “God Leads Us Along,” speaks to this: In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet, God leads His dear children along; where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet, God leads His dear children along. Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright, God leads His dear children along; sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night, God leads His dear children along. Some through the waters, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood; some through great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.” Selah! That kind of love, protection ,strength and help, along with His Presence is something to be excited about and doesn’t leave us all ‘shook up!”  Ron

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

Losing the Passion in the Process

 

Remember when you learned to drive? Do you recall the first time you got behind the wheel? There was the challenge, the excitement, the thrill of the power, the prospects of what could be done with the vehicle. Now, a long time later you go routinely along, out of habit and with little thought. The passion has given way to the process! When we are talking about a motor vehicle, that’s one thing. When we are talking about our experience of Jesus, It’s quite another matter! Has your, has my, passion for Jesus become lost in the process? We do all of our “Christian activity” week in, week out until we become so habituated that we can function without excitement, enthusiasm, or much thought. The fervor has faded in the “form.” Until we  stop and really think, the magnificent obsession will dim more and more until we lose sight of Him, relegating Him to the background of our lives, leaving Him on the distant fringe of our consciousness. Is that what you want? I don’t! I think this is what William Cowper became concerned about, when he wrote, “O for a Closer Walk with God.” He asked a question and offered a prayer that we might well ask and pray: “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I sought the Lord? Where is the soul-refreshing view of Jesus and His Word? What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void the world can never fill. The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be,  help me to tear it from Thy throne and worship only Thee.” As you ponder these thoughts, do you hear Someone knocking at the door of your heart, a Voice desiring admittance: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Selah! Have we shut Him out of the center of our lives? Answer the door and draw Him back in with welcoming love!   Ron

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

 

 


 

In the Aftermath of the Resurrection

 

The Resurrection is history! It happened about 2,000 years ago. It is one of the two greatest events of all of time. However, that was then and this is “now.” Is the Resurrection only a fact of history? Did God put a period after the event? End of story? No way! For context, let’s take just one of the amazing things that transpired in the aftermath of the Resurrection. Peter’s God-given message had just come to an end in Acts 2:39. In Verses 40-41, the Holy Spirit recorded the response: “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added (unto them) about three thousand souls.” The Presence of Jesus living in Peter accomplished this! This was just one incident among a countless number of times that Jesus’ Presence in His people has profoundly impacted others. The wish is often expressed by true Christians that things like this would happen today. “Come, Holy Spirit,” by John W. Peterson, is a musical expression of this longing for God’s working today: “The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, He came in mighty fullness then; His witness thru believers won the lost, and multitudes were born again. The early Christians scattered o’er the world, they preached the Gospel fearlessly; tho some were martyred and to lions hurled, they marched along in victory! Then in an age when darkness gripped the earth, The just shall live by faith” was learned; The Holy Spirit gave the church new birth as reformation fires burned. In later years the great revivals came, when saints would seek the Lord and pray; O once again we need that holy flame to meet the challenge of today! Come, Holy Spirit, dark is the hour; we need Your filling, Your love and Your mighty pow’r! Move now among us, stir us, we pray; come, Holy Spirit, revive the church today!” This can be experienced today! Jesus is in all who have been born again but only as He reigns in us, filling us with Himself, can we expect to be revived. Selah! Once the temple (our inner being) is pure, we can expect the release of His power.  Ron

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

 

 

 

Were You There?

For the true Christian, there is an amazing reality In the words of the “spiritual,” “Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb? Were you there when He rose up from the dead?” The answer is: “Yes!” Not bodily there, but positionally. God identified His own as dead, buried and raised to life in the Person of Christ. This is what Paul was explaining to the church in Romans 6:3-5. He was inspired to write: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also (in the likeness) of (His) resurrection.” When a person receives Jesus as Lord and Savior, they are reckoned dead to the old life (and are actually dying to it). When Jesus arose, we were identified with Him in this miracle of rising to a new life, the life of God. We, from the moment of genuine conversion live in and make progress in this new life of God placed within us. Water baptism is a visual illustration and a public testimony of this miracle. In Galatians 2:20, Paul gives us additional insight: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” I am crucified! Based on the tense, I have been crucified way back there, once and for all, but as a result, I am constantly dying to my old life received from Adam. Now, I walk in the new life of the last Adam, Jesus. These words from D. W. Whittle’s hymn, “Moment by Moment,” expresses this amazing reality: “Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine; living with Jesus, a new life divine; looking to Jesus till glory doth shine, moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine. Moment by moment I’m kept in His love; moment by moment I’ve life from above; looking to Jesus till glory doth shine; moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.”  Selah! God removes our “roots” from Adam and “transplants” us in Jesus. Our “roots” now draw life from Him and Spiritual fruit is the result.    Ron

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

Talk About Visual Impact!

Those early believers were disappointed, discouraged and struggling with the question of where do we go from here. Their hopes were dashed, their dreams unrealized, their thoughts in disarray. The One they had trusted in was dead; the prospects they had, the plans they thought were working out, were overturned. Freedom from Roman tyranny was no longer possible, or so they thought. Add to that, claims of an empty tomb had reached them. These claims were greeted with unbelief. Peter went and checked, found it to be true. He was left puzzled and pondering. Not long after, they received a “shock” so great as to defy articulation. Imagine, you attend a funeral, you observe the dead body of the deceased in the coffin, you witness the burial, and you leave the graveside. A few days later, you are with friends and all of a sudden, you look and there is the dead person, very much alive! Wouldn’t you be shocked? Robert Lowry, in his hymn, “Low in the Grave He Lay,” expresses the wonder of His return to life: “Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior, waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord! Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior, vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord! Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior; He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord! Up from the grave He arose; with a mighty triumph o’er His foes; He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever, with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!” In Luke 24, the Stranger that had joined Himself to two downcast followers on the Emmaus road revealed to them Who He was and then vanished. These two immediately went to Jerusalem to the eleven. Verses 34-37 record this: “….The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things (were done) in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace (be) unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” Selah! Once the reality struck them, they were transformed into vibrant and bold witnesses, drawing on His indwelling Presence and power. Has the reality gripped us? Are we drawing on His Presence and power? If not, why not? When will we start?   Ron

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