Malignant Methodology

If you were a criminal and there was a record of all that was wrong about you, would you like for people to see it? Suppose this record contained information about all that was good and worthwhile and held up standards that you, in your rebellion, despised. Add to that people were embracing these values and learning how to have a relationship with the God against Whom you’d rebelled. Finally, this record which had never contained false information, revealed your eternal state to be forever in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:10). Would you want people to have this information? Neither does Satan! He hates Truth and hates people finding out the Truth! How many people have escaped from his control because of that Book? So he employs every method available to him to keep people from the Bible. Here are some of his methods: Get people to ignore it. Keep people too busy to read it. Dumb down people’s reading skills so they think they can’t understand it. Mock it (convince them its outdated or simply myths or good moral lessons). Make jokes about it. Question everything in it (creating doubts in blinded minds). Explain it out of context; twisting meanings. Crowd the field with multiple versions, often from unreliable sources. Use these versions to advantage, by watering down or removing vital doctrinal Truth from them. He will use false teachers or liberal so-called Biblical scholarship. Our enemy will employ every malignant method that he can think of to beguile people away from the Truth. Quite an array of tricks isn’t it? Well does Satan know that, for himself and those who remain with him, the Truth that Jesus told in John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not My Words, hath One that judgeth him: the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” How fitting the words of “Holy Bible, Book Divine,” by John Burton, “Holy Bible, book divine, precious treasure, thou art mine; mine to tell me whence I came; mine to teach me what I am. Mine to chide me when I rove; mine to show a Savior’ love; mine thou art to guide and guard; mine to punish or reward. Mine to comfort in distress, suff’ring in this wilderness; mine to show by living faith, man can triumph over death. Mine to tell of joys to come, and the rebel sinner’s doom; O thou holy book divine, precious treasure, thou art mine. Amen!” Selah! it is not just a book; it is the Book!  The voice of God, through its pages, speaks to the hearts of men!   Ron

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Object of Hatred

There is a hostility that is so intense in one of God’s creatures that it defies our comprehension. God created Lucifer, an outstanding angel. Lucifer decided that he was going to be like God. That was only a stop along the way; he was going to exalt himself above God. He was evicted from Heaven and changed to Satan. His theater of operations became this earth. In Ephesians 2:2, he is called “the prince of the power of the air.” In II Corinthians 4:4, he is referred to as “the god of this world.” The first manifestation of his character was pride. The next was that he is a rebel. From there, we see his deceitfulness. His first recorded encounter with the human race was with Eve. In conversing with her, he questioned what God had said to her and Adam. He questioned God’s motives.  He wanted to undermine her confidence in God and, tragically, he succeeded. What was his motive? He hated what God said. Why? It is because God spoke with authority. That clashed with Satan’s determination to be his own authority. Hating God’s Word is hating God Himself. From the beginning and all the way to the end, Satan has done and will continue to do everything that he can to undermine and discredit the Word of God. Anything that Satan hates that much is worthy of our most determined efforts to fully embrace it and calls for our submission to, and application of, its complete and perfect Truth. If he hates it, I love it! Martin Luther got it right in the third stanza of, “A Mighty Fortress,” “And tho this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed His Truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him — his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure: one little word shall fell him.”  Selah! What ways does Satan use to minimize the impact of Scripture? Stay tuned!   Ron

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The Holy Spirit and Fruit

The greatest confirmation of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is the different kinds of fruit that He produces through us. There is the nine-fold fruit of Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Notice it doesn’t say “fruits.” It says ‘fruit.” All nine types of fruit will grow in harmony and come out together from the Spirit filled life. There is the fruit of praise, “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.” Then,  there are the fruits of righteousness. We do righteous things out of love for and gratitude to God for His great love to us and this fruit blesses others (and ourselves). This fruit also includes Godly behavior. Romans 6:22 mentions this, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness.” All of these varieties of fruit are character qualities of Jesus. That’s why the Holy Spirit fills us to produce this fruit. When we are abiding in the vine (Jesus), we will bear fruit. The Holy Spirit, activating the Word, starts the growth that will be fruitful. In the hymn, “Blessed Quietness,” by Manie Payne Ferguson, we read, “See a fruitful field is growing, blessed fruit of righteousness; and the streams of life are flowing in the lonely wilderness.” The wilderness of this world needs His fruitful Life flowing out through us. Selah! Satan can counterfeit gifts; he can’t counterfeit all this fruit consistently produced.  Ron

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The Holy Spirit-Jesus and the Future

Another way that being filled with the Spirit is authenticated is also found in John 16:13. First, Jesus is exalted. After reminding us that He is given to guide us into and into submission to the Bible, we are told that, “He shall not speak of Himself….” Absolutely, it is right to teach Truth about the Holy Spirit; we should and we must! However, one of the things to make clear to all who are learning about the Holy Spirit is that He is intent on fixing our hearts and minds on Jesus. The verse goes on, “….whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.” He will give us insight into things to come, including Christ’s conquest and reign. Verse 14 adds, “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you.” If the focus is on the Holy Spirit, something’s wrong! If we are fixing our eyes and hearts on Jesus, it is the blessed Holy Spirit prompting us to make that our focus. If we truly love Jesus, long to see Him honored, want others to know Him, love to learn from Him, it’s safe to say that we are being filled. Let us identify with what Bernard of Clairvaux wrote in, “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee,” He worshipfully prayed, “Jesus, our only joy be Thou, as Thou our prize wilt be; Jesus, be Thou our glory now and through eternity.” Selah! The Holy Spirit is here with us from the time of our rebirth. However, it is even better than that. He is within, taking over more and more inner territory to be controlled by Jesus; filled with Him.   Ron

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The Holy Spirit and the Bible

If it were not for the Holy Spirit, the Bible would only be one of the best among many great books. However, because He breathed the Life of God into His Word, it is unique and in a category of its own, surpassing all other literature. As you have read these articles, you may recall my claim that the Bible is the voice of God speaking to the heart of man. The knowledge and wisdom in the Scriptures are not just information. God intends that we use His revealed wisdom and knowledge in our lives. Only when the Holy Spirit makes the message of the Bible live, do we realize that God is speaking to us. When He speaks, we’d best pay attention! So, as we get into the Word and the Word gets into us, we are to think on it, apply it, obey it and use it. When we do this, truly hearing and responding to God, we are filled with the Spirit. There are two companion verses regarding this experience. The first one is found in Ephesians 5:18. We, who are saved, are commanded to, “….be filled (be, being filled) with the Spirit.” Another related verse is found in Colossians 3;16 where we are admonished, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” If the Word is changing us, the Holy Spirit is the One using the Word to do that changing. The more God’s Word fills us and controls us, the more that we are filled with the Spirit. One primary component of the Spirit’s mission after Christ ascended is found in John 16:13, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth.” Connect this with John 17:17, “Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth.” To be sanctified is to be made holy. If we are holy, it is because the Holy One is filling us; God’s Word is changing us. Eliza E. Hewitt in the third stanza of her hymn, “More About Jesus,” put it well, “More about Jesus in His Word, holding communion with my Lord, hearing His voice in every line, making each faithful saying mine.” Selah! There may or may not be wonderful excitement related to being filled. If, however, the Word is truly making us more like Jesus, to the extent that this is taking place, we are filled!   Ron

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Authentic Emotions

We can have pleasant emotions from things that are bad. They will not last long; they turn sour; they can and often do produce grief and regret later on. Emotions based on our impulsiveness; emotions arising out of giving in to sinful desires, emotions not grounded on solid truth are not authentic emotions. False emotions are deceiving. We often use them to justify giving in to sin(s). “If it feels good, it must be good.” What a lie! Sometimes, emotions of religious excitement beguile us into believing false teaching. If our “feelings” are not in harmony with revealed Truth in Scripture, we are on dangerous ground. We can easily be a victim of deception. Authentic emotions are the result of sound teaching, not the evidence of sound teaching! If God’s Truth, principles, commands, etc. are not changing our lives, then our feelings (no matter how thrilling or satisfying) are not authentic. Isaiah 8:20 reminds us, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” The fruit of the Spirit are examples of Godly emotions. This fruit comes from believing, studying and applying God’s Holy Word by those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord. They do not come as a substitute for diligent obedience to what Scripture teaches. John H. Sammis wrote, “Trust and Obey.” In the first stanza, he explains it simply and concisely, “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. Trust and obey — For there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.” Well said! Selah! Satan, the master counterfeiter, gladly supplies pleasant “feelings,” thrills and excitement that he offers as substitutes for complying with clear Biblical teachings.   Ron 

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Theological or Actual?

While the study of God (Theology) is fascinating and important, there is an inherent danger. One can study God for many years and never really have a vital relationship with Him. We can know about Him without knowing Him. What a tragic thing to be so near to God and miss out on truly receiving Him as our own personal Savior and Lord. I believe many in our ranks today have assumed that having our doctrine straight qualifies one as being saved. It’s possible to end our search for God by simply believing facts. Truth alone, as a body of information, only means that we have valid information. This truth is intended to lead us to the Truth; to a Person; to Jesus! He said, in John 14:6, “….I am the way, the Truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” Truth alone won’t get us to God. When we act on that Truth and open our lives to Jesus, He will enable us to come to the Father. We can purchase a book on the correct way to repair something, without ever lifting a tool. The book is accurate but no repair has been made, until we carry out the instructions. God’s Word is completely and absolutely true but nothing is accomplished until we implement its Truth. Mary Lathbury, in her hymn, “Break Thou the Bread of Life,” captured the distinction. She wrote, “Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me, as Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea: beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; my spirit pants for Thee, O living Word.” Selah! God’s Word is alive with the Presence of God. If we only know truth without knowing the Truth, we can be orthodox and “dead!”   Ron

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