Two Kinds of Holiness

Why would we who know the Lord need more than one kind of holiness? Because this first kind that we discuss today is beyond our ability to experience. In I Peter 1:16, we have an impossible command that we are to obey: “….it is written, ‘Be ye holy; for I am holy.'” Why would God inspire a command that is impossible to obey? The answer is that He knew we couldn’t, but He has something for us that will take care of the problem. The theologians call it “positional holiness.” Hebrews 12:14 states that without holiness: “….. no man shall see the Lord.” What can we do about that? Nothing! God has already done something. In I Corinthians 1:30, Paul shares God’s provision of perfect holiness; “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” “Sanctification” and “holy” come from the same root word. The idea is for us to be wholly set apart to God. So…..when we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, we are credited with the perfect holiness of Christ. Without  perfect holiness we couldn’t come near God! But what about practical (or actual) holiness? God isn’t going to leave us without means to be holy in our daily living. God willing, that will engage our attention tomorrow. He intends for our “state” (our actual condition) to gradually conform to our “standing” (our “positional holiness”). Weigh carefully the thoughts in Mrs. C. H. Morris’ hymn, “Holiness unto the Lord.” She wrote: Called unto holiness,” Church of our God, purchase of Jesus, redeemed by His blood; called from the world and its idols to flee, called from the bondage of sin to be free.  “Called unto holiness,” children of light, walking with Jesus in garments of white; raiment unsullied, untarnished with sin, God’s Holy Spirit abiding within. “Called unto holiness,” praise His dear name! This blessed secret to faith now made plain, not our own righteousness, but Christ within, living and reigning and saving from sin. Holiness unto the Lord” is our watchword and song,” “Holiness unto the Lord” as we’re marching along; sing it, shout it, loud and long, “Holiness unto the Lord,” now and forever.” Selah! How can our lives be actually holy? Do stop by tomorrow!    Ron

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

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Consecrated Cravings

There are many corrupt cravings. People crave fame, popularity, wealth, possessions, acceptance, pleasure, certain sins, to name a few things. Those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord are characterized by higher cravings. We crave more of God. We crave more of His Word and ways. We crave Godly behavior, values, attitudes, etc. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 5:6 where He said, “Blessed (are) they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” When we crave to honor Jesus and become more and more like Him, little by little our lives will increasingly reflect Him. What does this look like? In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul explains: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” This nine-fold fruit is the outshining of what Jesus brings about in the lives of those who long to please Him. When we have these consecrated cravings, we can identify with Mary D. James’ hymn, “All for Jesus.” These are the cravings she shared: “All for Jesus! All for Jesus!  All my being’s ransom’d pow’rs; all my thoughts and words and doings, all my days and all my hours.  All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All my days and all my hours. Let my hands perform His bidding; let my feet run in His ways; let my eyes see Jesus only; let my lips speak forth His praise.  All for Jesus! all for Jesus!  Let my lips speak forth His praise. Worldlings prize their gems of beauty, cling to gilded toys of dust, boast of wealth, and fame, and pleasure; only Jesus will I trust.  Only Jesus! Only Jesus!  Only Jesus will I trust. Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,  I’ve lost sight of all beside,–so enchained my spirit’s vision, looking at the crucified.  All for Jesus! All for Jesus!  All for Jesus, crucified! Oh, what wonder! how amazing!  Jesus, glorious King of kings, deigns to call me His beloved, lets me rest beneath His wings.  All for Jesus! All for Jesus! Resting now beneath His wings.” Selah! If we love Him; if we crave more of His likeness; if we focus on Him, in His Word, our cravings will be satisfied.     Ron

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

Two Ways to Study

Before I begin to explain, I have a hunch some might be thinking: “I don’t do ‘study.'” Yet, all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior are commanded to study God’s Word. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (II Timothy 2:15). We can’t neglect this essential discipline, if we truly love Jesus! The first way of study we might call “intellectual.” This has to do with correctly understanding more and more of Scripture. We “mine” the Bible for its treasures: knowledge and understanding. We dig deeply. We have “shovels” and “tools.” These include things like commentaries, expository studies, theological books, Bible dictionaries, etc. The second way of study should be understood as “devotional.” This is a deep, life-long, getting to know God in a rich personal way. We talk to Him; He listens. Sin loses the “signal!” When we deal with the sin(s), the connection is restored (I John 1:9). This “talking” is prayer and it’s a two-way exchange. How He talks with us is through His Word. As someone has wisely stated: “When the Bible “speaks” to us, It is God, Himself speaking to us! So, we don’t just read; we listen, CAREFULLY! The friendship develops, the fellowship is glorious, the relationship is thrilling and satisfying. Really, what on earth can even begin to compare with intimacy with God? “The Savior has come in His mighty pow’r, and spoken peace to my soul; and all of my life from that very hour, I’ve yielded to His control, I’ve yielded to His control. From glory to glory He leads me on, from grace to grace every day; and brighter and brighter the glory dawns, while pressing my homeward way, while pressing my homeward way. If fellowship here with my Lord can be so inexpressibly sweet, Oh, what will it be when His face we see, when ’round the bright throne we meet? When ’round the bright throne we meet? Oh, it is wonderful!  It is marvelous and wonderful, what Jesus has done for this soul of mine!The half has never been told; Oh, it is wonderful! It is marvelous and wonderful, what Jesus has done for this soul of mine! The half has never been told.” (From: “Tis Marvelous and Wonderful“-by Lelia N. Morris). Selah! Lives that have been empty because of sin are to be filled with God. His Word and prayer are His means to fill us!   Ron

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

This is the Work of an Enemy!

Wheat and tares look very much alike until harvest time is near. There is a big difference, however. Wheat is a beneficial plant while tares are weeds. In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus spoke of this: “….saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Let’s look at this in terms of a local church. What does Satan gain by sowing spiritual “weeds?” Much! They look like the real thing, but act otherwise. It gives outsiders a chance to cry, “Hypocrites! The tares can cause damage to those who are truly God’s people (wheat). As to the tares themselves, some may assume they are actually wheat, providing a false assurance. Here’s an amazing thing: Some of those tares can be turned into wheat! If they aren’t changed into wheat, the “bottom line” is tragic beyond words! They will be separated at harvest time and burned! Margaret F. Sangster wrote of this in her hymn, “Growing Together, Wheat and Tares.” Consider these thoughts: “Growing together, wheat and tares, all clustering fair and green, fanned by the gentle summer airs beneath one sky serene; over them both the sunlight falls, and over them both the rain, till the angels come when the Master calls to gather the golden grain. Growing together side by side, and both shall the reapers meet—the tares aloft in their scornful pride, and bowing heads of wheat. Swift and sure o’er the waving plain the sickle sharp will fly, and the precious wheat, the abundant grain, be harvested in the sky. But O the tares,—for them the word of a terrible doom is cast; “Bind and burn,” is the Lord’s command, they shall leave the wheat at last; never again the summer rain, and never the sunshine sweet, that were lavished freely, all in vain on the tares among the wheat. Where shall the reapers look for us when that day of days shall come?  O solemn the thought with grandeur fraught, of that wondrous harvest-home!  O Saviour grant when Thine angels come to reap the fields for Thee, that we may be found with the golden grain that garnered in Heaven shall be.” Selah! Those who have surrendered control of their lives to Jesus, as Savior and Lord, are “wheat!” “Tares” haven’t done that!   Ron

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

“Forever” is a Very Long Time!

Strictly speaking, “forever” simply contains “time” within its existence. “Time is just a little “speck” in the limitless expanse of eternity. Our brief life span, compared with eternity, would defy being found within the “dot” on our letter “i.” Why, then, do we major on our time on earth and give only a little, if any, thought to “forever?” For the mind-blinded person, Satan keeps him or her focused on the concerns and allurements of this fallen and passing world. Blindness indeed! Perhaps they hear or read a few things from the Bible, but “….the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Then, there are those who yield their lives to Jesus as their Savior and Lord. They desire their lives to count for God. So, they get right “down to business” and go all out, right?  Wrong! With some notable exceptions, Satan manages to distract and divert them from focusing on what really matters. They bear little fruit. The tragedy is that they don’t even realize that they have been manipulated by a master strategist. What to do? Recognize the problem! Intensely determine to make Jesus and the things of God our major focus. Keep in mind that we have only a brief “window of opportunity” to prepare for “forever.” Let God and His Word keep you spiritually clean. Check yourself daily (hourly?) to be sure you are truly set apart to Him. Spend much quality time in fellowship with God. Keep your focus on eternity. Pray with Albert B. Smith, the prayer that he prayed in his hymn, “With Eternity’s Values in View.” May we live: “With eternity’s values in view, Lord. With eternity’s values in view, may I do each day’s work for Jesus with eternity’s values in view!” Selah! “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord (is)” (Ephesians 5:15-17).       Ron

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

Escaping the Undertow

​​Feeling “pulled under?” I’m not talking about the water when I ask this question today. There is a far worse current operative in our world today. That current is generated by the enemy of our souls and it’s no mild force! Satan would drag us down into sin, discouragement, distractions, wrong friendships, etc. He suggests excuses for our failing to “get down to business” with God. The world, the flesh and the devil combine to suck us under. Now, here’s an amazing thing: if we were talking about water’s undertow, we would struggle to escape with every ounce of strength we have in our bodies. Why, then, do we not resist the undertow that is designed to destroy us spiritually? Our neglect of being serious about the things of God has lulled us into a state of spiritual paralysis. We have been tranquilized into numbness! We may not even feel the downward pull. Paul and James unite to sound the inspired alarm: “….(it is) high time to awake out of sleep.” (From Romans 13:11). “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse (your) hands, (ye) sinners; and purify (your) hearts, (ye) double minded” (James 4:8). God is reaching out to us; draw nigh to Him and take His hand and be rescued. If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, draw on His strength and fiercely resist the undertow. These stanzas from, “Trust and Obey“-by John H. Sammis challenge us to resist the devil’s pull: “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word, what a glory He sheds on our way!  While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; for the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way; what He says we will do, where He sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey.” Selah! One response to this will be: I need to do something about this undertow. The other response: “Looking to God, I’m going to fight this undertow with determined effort until I escape!” Your response?  Ron

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

 

Are We Ready for Revival?

When thinking about, talking about and praying for revival, I believe Revelation 3:18 is seldom given a close look. This is what it says: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” “Gold tried in the fire:”  fire burns away dross. The fire of God’s Word, when we are really sensitive to it, burns away sin, and consumes “wood, hay and stubble” in our lives. This includes things like cheap amusements, carnal desires and actions, false idols like money, fame, popularity, even ungodly education, taking harmful substances into our bodies, listening to or sharing questionable talk, etc. “White raiment:” clothed in His promised righteousness, let Him purify our lives with daily application of Scripture. “The shame of our nakedness.” We don’t want to have Spiritual “bankruptcy” exposed in our lives. Be filled with His riches and become holy! (If we don’t want to experience this, we are likely not His yet)! “Eyesalve” heals and relieves eye problems, helping us to see better. Instead of skimming over God’s Truth and missing much of what He wants us to see, we take a hard look; we focus on understanding, applying and obeying what He enables us to see. The “bottom line?” A walk through life with Jesus as our Lord and Savior is serious business! Are we taking our relationship with Him seriously? “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart,” a hymn by George Croly, Includes petitions that are to be mirrored in our hearts: “Spirit of God, Who dwells within my heart, wean it from sin, through all its pulses move. Stoop to my weakness, mighty as You are, and make me love You as I ought to love. Did You not bid us love You, God and King, love You with all our heart and strength and mind? I see the cross there teach my heart to cling. O let me seek You and O let me find! Teach me to feel that You are always nigh; teach me the struggles of the soul to bear, to check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh; teach me the patience of unceasing prayer. Teach me to love You as Your angels love, one holy passion filling all my frame: the fullness of the heaven-descended Dove; my heart an altar, and Your love the flame.” Selah! If we are ready to heed the counsel in this verse we have been considering, we are ready for revival.   Ron

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