Questions to Ask

A disciple wants to walk closely with His Lord and Savior, Jesus! Here are some questions to ask yourself, if He is your Lord and Savior:

1. Do I love Him and am I increasing in my love for Him?

2. Is God’s Word controlling my life and do I love His Word?

3. Is He the most important Person in my life?

4. Is prayer a real pleasure or simply a duty?

5. Do I truly want my life to honor Him?

6. Am I burdened for lost people nearby and to the ends of the earth?

7. Do I love to gather with and worship with God’s people?

8. Am I determined to yield to the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit?

9. Have I lost my interest in the world’s ways and the world’s thinking?

10. Am I closer to God today than I was a year ago?

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” (From Mark 12:30).

Selah! These questions are a means to evaluate our level of serious commitment to Him, Who gave Himself for us, to give us eternal salvation.  Ron

All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all; all to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.” (From “I Surrender All”-By Justin W. Van De Venter).

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Upside Down!

In Acts 17:6, disciples were accused of being those: “….that have turned the world upside down….” Actually, they were being used to turn people right side up. The world itself was, and is, upside down. Isaiah warned: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil…!” (From Isaiah 5:20). The world has consistently claimed that evil is good (usually, in words like these: “There’s nothing wrong with this or that”). Now, here’s a strange thing: Far too many Christians (?) are doing the same thing in our day. Ignorance, excuses, rationalizations combine to “gloss over” many sins today. If you doubt this, call something someone does or enjoys: “sin,” and see what response you receive. Christians who dare to claim that certain things are sin and worldly are usually called legalistic and judgmental, holier than thou, etc. It looks like the world may be turning Christians upside down! Until we are willing to be freed from “pet” sins, “secret” sins, “harmless” sins, etc. we are unlikely to experience a revival! Where are those who do not intend to live as close to the world as they can get away with, but want to live as close to God as they can? If you really want to  know the joys of holy lives, it’s time to draw near to God and distance yourself from the world. If you have done this, or are doing it, you know what I’m talking about. Fanny Crosby’s hymn, “Take the World But Give Me Jesus” is the longing of all who love our Lord: ”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. Oh, the height and depth of mercy! Oh, the length and breadth of love! Oh, the fullness of redemption, pledge of endless life above!” Selah! James gives us this promise: “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”  Ron

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It Can’t Be Done!

Many have been admonished and challenged to live the Christian life. It can’t be done! What do I mean? I mean that only Jesus can live the Christian life! Don’t despair! If you have received Him as your Lord and Savior, He already lives in you and has begun to use you as a channel for His life to draw others. Have you thought deeply about Paul’s inspired words to the Galatian Christians (and to us)? In Galatians 2:20, He wrote: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” The “I” in this verse is interesting. It’s the “self” life that we are born with; in other words: it’s all about us: we, ourselves). A short way to put it is that it was considered dead by our crucifixion with Christ (a sort of legal status). Now, however, it is being put to death. As God’s Word and will are worked into our lives and applied, the old “self” life is being put to death and Jesus’ life is gaining more and more control of us and His indwelling Life is being reflected out through us. Therefore, let us pray the lyrics found in Albert Orsborn’s brief hymn: “Let the Beauty of Jesus.” It’s simple, but profound: “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all His wonderful passion and purity; O Thou Savior divine, All my being refine, ‘till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”  Selah! The Holy Spirit, using God’s Word, does a sanctifying, purifying work in us, removing what obscures “the vision glorious,” revealing our great Savior to those around us. His Life shines; our old “self” life fades and fades until people see Christ in us.   Ron

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The Deeper Life

I firmly believe that teaching on the “Deeper Life” is much needed today. However, the reason why might surprise you! Are you ready for this? Actually, the Deeper Christian Life” is the “normal” Christian life. We have failed, to a large degree, to make clear to honest seekers that this trust in Jesus’ work on the Cross for salvation must also be accompanied by a determination to follow Him for the rest of their lives. This means that we submit our lives to Him as our Lord and His Word becomes the “manual” for our lives. Motivated by love for Him, we fully dedicate our lives to serve Him, honor Him, and grow in Him. We want holy lives, trusting lives (unconditional trust), and lives that are governed by His will. His priorities become ours! We want to know Him more intimately and become more and more like Him. This is the deeper (normal) Christian life! E. O. Excell‘ s hymn, “Since I Have Been Redeemed,” describes the normal Christian life: “I have a song I love to sing, since I have been redeemed, of my Redeemer, Savior, King, since I have been redeemed. I have a Christ who satisfies, since I have been redeemed, to do His will– my highest prize, since I have been redeemed. I have a witness bright and clear, since I have been redeemed, dispelling every doubt and fear, since I have been redeemed. I have a home prepared for me, since I have been redeemed, where I shall dwell eternally, since I have been redeemed. Since I have been redeemed, since I have been redeemed, I will glory in His name; since I have been redeemed, I will glory in my Savior’s name.” “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and (I pray God) your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:23). Selah! The wonder of living in the light of His favor and seeking to know Him more and more fully, that’s the “normal” Christian life! Nothing less will be acceptable for those who really receive Him as their Lord and Savior!    Ron

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Deadly Diagnosis

What would you think of a doctor who told you that you have an upset stomach and then said to try some antacid? However, he knew you had cancer. He thought you would “feel” better, not to know. Isn’t this just how some treat the sin problem? Don’t offend people; don’t judge; don’t be intolerant; don’t be what is called “legalistic.” After all, we all “mess up!” Challenge them to live a good life and they will be blessed. Calling sin “sin” is just being negative. Sure, change the label on a bottle of poison; call it oil of peppermint, right? Dead wrong! Sin is far more fatal than cancer! Let’s tell it like it is (with love and concern for them). The doctor above didn’t offer a cure; it was more like a placebo. The fictitious patient needed real help; so do sinning people. The doctor might have been able to offer a cure that might work. The “Great Physician” has a perfect cure that we are to offer. Consider Ezekiel 33:8-9 carefully: “When I say unto the wicked, O wicked (man) thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked (man) shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” “My Faith Has found A Resting Place,” gives us these relevant lyrics: “Enough for me that Jesus saves, this ends my fear and doubt; a sinful soul I come to Him, He’ll never cast me out. My heart is leaning on the Word, the living Word of God, salvation by my Savior’s name, salvation through His blood. My great Physician heals the sick, the lost He came to save; for me His precious blood He shed, for me His life He gave.” (By, E. E. Hewitt). Selah! Let’s not downplay sin, but confront it in our lives in a firm, but loving way! Let’s have “Truth in Preaching and Teaching.”   Ron

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What Would It look Like?

Can you remember a time when most Bible believing churches had a strong burden for lost people? Can you remember a time when there was a very strong emphasis on spreading the gospel across the world? How about a time when large numbers of young people surrendered for full time Christian service (missionaries, ministers, Christian educators, etc.)? Or, what about a time when evangelistic campaigns, deeper life conferences, and prophetic conferences impacted many people. What about a time when people grieved over sin, and repented in tears and shame? Maybe you recall people who bowed before God and separated themselves to holy living? Can you remember a time when Christians evangelized? When glowing testimonies were shared weekly? Remember from yesterday’s post those three key words: Remember, repent and return. These words were part of Jesus’ warning to the church at Ephesus. We need to remember what used to be common, but is not today. Isn’t it time to repent? (Vance Havner once said the average church today is in such bad condition that you’d have to backslide to be in fellowship). If we returned to the old paths, what would that look like? I think it would look very much like revival! Paul’s words in Romans 12:1-2 are a plea to return that we would do well to heed: “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.” “For a Holy Ghost revival, blessed Lord, we pray, send the Pentecostal blessing in our hearts today; old-time Holy Ghost religion in the old-time way; send a Holy Ghost revival, Lord. May the church on earth be quickened and new life receive, may lost sinners be awakened and in Christ believe; more of power and of blessing than we can conceive; send a Holy Ghost revival, Lord. Send a great world-wide revival, may the people say that the mighty God of Pentecost still lives today, still convicting and converting in the old-time way; send a Holy Ghost revival, Lord. Send a Holy Ghost revival, Lord, may the Spirit on us be outpoured; send a Holy Ghost revival, Lord, and begin it in my heart.” (“A Holy Ghost Revival”-By Mrs. C. H. Morris). Selah! Which is it: Revival would be “nice,” or for Thy blessings, we plead?  Ron

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A Reason to Remember

Is remembering only to enjoy the recall of some nice experiences that we had? I think we all know that there is another reason to remember. We learn from our mistakes so that we can avoid them now and in the future. We also learn from what we did right so that we can keep on doing it right. However, we too often forget what we did right in the past and need to be reminded. (We often become so busy that we forget the things that really count in life).  Jesus knew that this is exactly what happened with the Ephesian Church, so He warned them: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen….” We need only to read Paul’s inspired letter to this church to realize their great start. Is there a comparison today? Can you think back to a time when witnessing, holiness of life, world missions, doing the will of God, fervent expository preaching, Bible study, joy, excitement, prayer, etc. were daily experiences? Is it still that way?  If not, let’s take to heart these additional words of admonition: “repent, and do the first works….” God can use even one person to fan the flames of revival. The key words here are remember, repent and return. If you have been part of an “on fire” church, thank God! Are you part of one today? If not, perhaps God would have you be the “spark” that ignites the fires of revival. Are you willing to be used? Could these words from “Search Me, O God,” by J. Edwin Orr be our honest heart cry? “Search me, Oh God, and know my heart today; try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray. See if there be some wicked way in me; cleanse me from every sin and set me free. I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin; fulfill Thy Word and make me pure within. Fill me with fire where once I burned with shame; grant my desire to magnify Thy name.” Selah! Are you, am I, combustible, or coals with only a slight spark that is almost burned out?   Ron

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