If It’s Locked, Use the Key!

People struggle with the Bible. They believe what some ignorant person says about it; they ignore it themselves; they say it’s boring and/or that they can’t understand it. They make all kinds of excuses for not reading it or believing it. Some have read it through and dismissed it, or diminished it as nothing more than interesting literature. To all such, it’s a “locked” book! What is still more awful is when Christians struggle to come to grips with it but fail to use the key to unlock its treasures. The key? There’s a key that unlocks the Bible? Absolutely! The key is a Person! The key is Jesus! Regarding the Scriptures, Jesus said in John 5:39: “…. they (the Scriptures) are they which testify of Me.” For hearts open to receive Truth, seeing Jesus from Genesis to Revelation is the key that unlocks the understanding of God’s Word. Once you go through that door, open your life to Him as Savior and Lord; you’ll spend the rest of your life understanding and internalizing more and more of its Truth treasures! Eliza E. Hewitt captures this reality in the third stanza of her hymn, “More About Jesus:” More about Jesus in His Word, holding communion with my Lord; hearing His voice in ev’ry line, making each faithful saying mine. Selah! The fact that the whole Bible is about Jesus is a testimony to its inspiration. Humanly, it wouldn’t be possible. Perhaps, God willing, we’ll think on this tomorrow. Do stop by. We miss you when you don’t!   Ron

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

A Reliable Guide

If you are planning a walk in a dangerous place, you better have a reliable guide. For the true Christian, this world is a dangerous place. It may not seem at all dangerous and that only makes it more dangerous because we are not on guard. There are many wrong trails in our walk through life. Some of these trails make us curious to explore them. If we do, we might experience a snake-bite or a lion attack There are unseen obstacles that can cause us to stumble. There are tempting opportunities that seem to offer fun or pleasure. If we are not discerning, not able to tell if the pleasure or fun is truly wholesome, we may be lured into a deadly trap. Over confident in our directions, we might find ourselves fearfully disoriented. How can we avoid any or all of these dangers? There is only one way! We need a reliable guide and a proven guidebook. We have One! We have only to listen to Him and read the Guidebook He has given us. We will walk the right trail, avoid the dangers, and arrive safely at our destination. God’s Word is the Guidebook and the Holy Spirit is our Guide. His ministry is to persuade you to study the Guidebook and follow the directions. He makes the trip (your walk from conversion to Heaven) with you, using the Guidebook (God’s Truth) to inform you, teach you, warn you, equip you, etc. He is with you each step of the way quietly explaining, teaching, helping you understand the Guidebook and urging you to trust it and not go off on your own and be hurt. Jesus spoke about this Guide in John 16:13-15: “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall shew it unto you.” Haldor Lillenas testified to this in his hymn: “How Can I Be Lonely?” “One is walking with me over life’s uneven way, constantly supporting me each moment of the day. How can I be lonely when such a fellowship is mine, with my blessed Lord divine!? How can I be lonely when I’ve Jesus only to be my Companion and unfailing Guide? Why should I be weary, or my path seem dreary, when He’s walking by my side?” Selah! The Psalmist understood and prayed: “Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133).     Ron

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

Competing Desires

Satan still has a toehold in the lives of the redeemed. It is our old nature that was passed down to us from Adam. Until we came to Christ, that nature was without any serious competition. When we are born again, we are given a new nature, God’s nature, a Spiritual nature. Receiving this nature is a death sentence for the old one. However, the old nature will not give up until the last gasp. It is gradually losing its strength but can still muster some resistance. It’s ability to hold on is in its use of wrong desires. These tempt us to give in and do what we “feel” we want to do. Our new nature wants to honor and obey God. Our thinking is pulled in both directions. Only as our minds are strengthened by God’s Word can we resist the emotional pull of the old nature and satisfy the desires of our new nature. When temptation comes, our Biblically informed minds see it for what it is and turn to God for strength to resist. This strength is for us to will to refuse to succumb to our feelings and will to do His will. This strength is a disciplined determination to go by God’s Word and not be controlled by sinful desires. When we feel that pull to give in to sin and wrong, we must use our Scripturally strengthened wills to go by God’s principles and refuse to go by “feelings.” Paul explained this to the Galatian Christians (and to us) in Galatians 5:16: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust (desires) of the flesh (the old nature).” (Walking in the Spirit will engage our thinking tomorrow, God willing). In the third stanza of “Teach Me to Pray, Lord” by Albert S. Reitz,) we are given insight: “My weakened will, Lord, Thou canst renew; my sinful nature Thou canst subdue; fill me just now with power anew, power to pray and power to do!” Selah! One of the greatest aspects of our freedom in Christ is freedom from slavery to our “feelings.” Learning to bring our wills down on the side of God’s Word is wonderfully liberating!   Ron 

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

Living as Good Samaritans-A.W. Tozer Devotional

Guest Article By A. W. Tozer 

Living as Good Samaritans

Fri, April 22, 2016

The testimony of the true follower of Christ might well be something like this: The world’s pleasures and the world’s treasures henceforth have no appeal for me. I reckon myself crucified to the world and the world crucified to me. But the multitudes that were so dear to Christ shall not be less dear to me. If I cannot prevent their moral suicide, I shall at least baptize them with my human tears. I want no blessing that I cannot share. I seek no spirituality that I must win at the cost of forgetting that men and women are lost and without hope. If in spite of all I can do they will sin against light and bring upon themselves the displeasure of a holy God, then I must not let them go their sad way unwept. I scorn a happiness that I must purchase with ignorance. I reject a heaven that I must enter by shutting my eyes to the sufferings of my fellow men. I choose a broken heart rather than any happiness that ignores the tragedy of human life and human death. Though I, through the grace of God in Christ, no longer lie under Adam’s sin, I would still feel a bond of compassion for all of Adam’s tragic race, and I am determined that I shall go down to the grave or up into God’s heaven mourning for the lost and the perishing. And thus and thus will I do as God enables me. Amen

Consider: “I would be friend of all–the foe, the friendless; I would be giving, and forget the gift; I would be humble, for I know my weakness; I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift; I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift. I would be learning day by day the lessons my heav’nly Father gives me in His Word; I would be quick to hear His lightest whisper, and prompt and glad to do the things I’ve heard; and prompt and glad to do the things I’ve heard.” (From “I Would Be True”-By Howard A. Walter).

Selah! “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead………a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him, and on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” (From Luke 10:30-35).         Ron
Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Which Way Will You Go?

You are in a place where you must go forward or backward; you can’t stand still. You are pulled in two directions. Which way will you go? This is a I Kings 18:21 situation: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” While this is a choice between following the true God or a false god, the principle applies to Christians who are pulled toward the world and, at the same time, they are longing to know God in a deeper way. Failure to move toward a fuller experience of God intensifies the pull of the world. We simply can’t stand still and halt between two alternatives! How can we draw close to God? Psalm 24:3-4 answers this question: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” Only applying and obeying God’s Word can bring about that outward and inward purity called for here. A truly born again person is promised: “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you….” (From James 4:8). In this verse we are told to cleanse our hands (outward purity) and purify our hearts (inward purity). How do we gain this purity? The Psalmist asks and answers this question: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word” (Psalm 119:9). This craving to draw near to God is implanted in the hearts of all genuine Christians. We must make a decisive choice to be in God’s Word and let God’s Word fill and control us! “Lord, I have shut the door, speak now the Word which in the din and throng could not be heard; hushed now my inner heart, whisper Thy will, while I have come apart, while all is still. Lord, I have shut the door, here do I bow, speak for my soul attent turns to Thee now. Rebuke Thou what is vain, counsel my soul, Thy holy will reveal, my will control.” (“Lord, I Have Shut the Door-By William M. Runyan) Selah! Time with God alone, praying and internalizing  His Word, will move you in the right direction.  Ron

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

Close, But Distant!

Perhaps the saddest experience for any true child of God is to be so close to Jesus and still be so distant. How can that be, you ask. Imagine someone dearer to you than your own life, someone you are always close to. However, you do something that deeply grieves that person. They are very hurt but they don’t write you off. This is because they love you. This causes a strain in your relationship but doesn’t end that relationship. The problem is not them. The problem is you! They are hurt, but ready to forgive and forget. You created the distance by going your own way. They are waiting for you to come to your senses. You finally admit that you were wrong and ask for forgiveness. It is willingly and joyfully given. The strain is gone; the relationship is enjoyed! They never disappointed you; you disappointed them. Now, having been forgiven, the temporary distance is gone. You have come close to the one who is always close to you. This is how it is with God. Once we know Him; He is always there for us. We can and do grieve Him. Once we admit our sin, we are forgiven and the distance that we caused is gone. He never gave up on us; He was there all the time. It was we who wandered away. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:6-9). We might well pray, as did Robert Robinson in his hymn: “Come, Thou Fount:” “Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!  Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee: prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it;  seal it for thy courts above.” Selah! The only way to keep from wandering is to keep drawing closer and closer!   Ron
 
Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com 

Closer Than We Think

 In the minds of many, if they think about God at all, they imagine Him in some far distant place called Heaven. Actually, He is there. However, He is also much closer than we might realize. In fact, Paul was inspired to declare to the Athenian philosophers (and us) that: “….they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being….” (From Acts 17:27-28). This is a most remarkable reality! On the one hand, His Presence makes it possible for us to function on earth. On the other hand, a vast distance separates us from Him. It’s a gap caused by sin and that gap could only be bridged by Jesus. His sacrifice enables whosoever will, to connect with God. Once we surrender to Jesus, trusting in His perfect sacrifice to pay our sin debt, and receive Him as Savior and Lord, Jesus dwells, not just with us; He dwells within our very being. Once we are born again, even though He abides within, there is a danger. The light of His Presence grows dim or is shut off. He’s there but our sin(s) leaves us in spiritual darkness. A room has a light switch that has to be turned on to light that room. I John 1:9 is our Spiritual light switch. When we confess our sins, His light comes back on in our lives. He is there in our darkness but we can’t draw on His Presence until we flip the I John 1:9 switch. He won’t let us enjoy His Presence until we confess and turn from our sin(s). That’s when His glory shines through! In the hymn, “Jesus, I Am Resting,” Jean Sophia Pigott describes the life that belongs to those who walk in the undiminished Light of His Presence: “Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart. Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, as Thy beauty fills my soul, for by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole. O how great Thy lovingkindness, vaster, broader than the sea! O, how marvelous Thy goodness lavished all on me! Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved, know what wealth of grace is Thine, know Thy certainty of promise and have made it mine. Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art, and Thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart; satisfies its deepest longings, meets, supplies its every need, compasseth me round with blessings: Thine is love indeed Ever lift Thy face upon me as I work and wait for Thee; resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, earth’s dark shadows flee. Brightness of my Father’s glory, sunshine of my Father’s face, keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with Thy grace.” Selah! If you know Him, live each day walking in the Light of His Presence!  Ron

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