If you were invited to the Oval Office for a meeting with the President, would you just “come by” and “shoot the breeze” or carefully prepare and give earnest thought to what you wanted to discuss with him? Would you think of this meeting as dull, something to be endured, anxiously waiting for it to end? Or would you be excited to have such a privilege and opportunity? How do we enter into God’s Presence? Are our Spiritual eyes open to recognize the marvel of God and be awed by His Glorious Presence? Does the typical “Sunday Morning Service” happen something like this: The “Service” begins, the routine unfolds, we go through the motions, time for the message, we half listen (maybe), sometimes critically, we may or may not think it is interesting, it’s over, good, now I can get going on what I want to do? It takes discipline (that is what being a disciple is all about) to break this mold. It would be wrong to waste the President’s time. Is it not a far more serious offense to waste God’s time? What can you and I do to change all this? It will take real effort! Arrive rested. Focus your mind (and heart) on the fact that you are now closeted with God. Admire Him, adore Him, thank Him, love Him, worship Him. Firmly resist distractions. Listen to Him carefully, as His Word is read and taught. Don’t allow yourself to be controlled by the clock. God doesn’t necessarily stop, in the middle of your time with Him, at 12:00 noon. Enter into the singing with thoughtfulness. Make the message of the music personal to you. Give, out of love and gratitude. Start this coming Sunday. Engage in meaningful time with Him between now and Sunday. Print this article out and review it regularly. Selah! If you think about it and then do it faithfully, it will be transformational. Ron
Please read carefully and thoughtfully, Psalm 100 Please do this!
Most (hopefully all) Christians would strongly disagree with the title of today’s article but my question is this: do we act as if having the local church is not all that important? Do we attend church faithfully or haphazardly? Do we endure the services or enter into them with excitement? Do we give sacrificially or only what is convenient? Do we work in the local church regularly or only when we’re not too busy? Would it really matter if the local church were discontinued? (In China today, Christians consider church so important that they risk torture, loss of income, suffering, ridicule, rejection and even death to attend a local church, or even one that is located a long distance away). I am afraid that many claiming to be born-again Christians are like the young man who called his girlfriend on the phone and said, “I would climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, or cross the hottest desert just to be at your side. Oh, by the way, dear, I’ll be over tomorrow night if it doesn’t rain.” Just how important is the local church to you? One of the marks of a disciplined disciple is his or her dedication to the local church. Selah! Do our lips proclaim the importance of the local church while our lives advertise that it really doesn’t matter all that much? Think that over! Ron
Hebrews 10:24-25: And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
* The article for today was sent to me and it fits so well with the thrust of this site that I asked permission to reprint it for today.
“I believe that God wants us to be happy. In fact, Solomon tells us that God grants happiness to us as a privilege (Eccl. 3:12; 7:14; 11:9). Sometimes, though, we take the search for earthly happiness too far. We see it as the most important pursuit, and even believe that our happiness is God’s highest goal for us. That’s when our thinking gets confused. God’s Word tells us that true happiness comes from keeping God’s law. God demands holiness and has called us to live a holy life – one that exemplifies His moral character. This will produce in us a deep abiding joy, which is different than happiness. Happiness comes and goes, and often depends on our feelings at the moment and on external circumstanfces. Satan can use our desire for happiness as a way to manipulate us and tempt us to focus our attention on worldly things and away from God. But true joy comes from the pursuit of holiness in our thoughts, words, and deeds, and this will have eternal benefits. When we face decisions about the way we should act or how we should live, we must keep in mind that God’s command is not ‘Be happy,’ but ‘Be holy.’ True joy will come from a holy, God-honoring life. There is no happiness apart from holiness and no holiness apart from Christ.” (Source Unknown).
“Follow (pursue) peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”-Hebrews 12:14
Selah! Think about it! Abiding joy trumps spasmodic happiness! Ron
There are no accidents for the true child of God. Nothing can happen to a child of God unless He causes or allows it! Everything that touches us has to pass through the permissive will of God. I can imagine some immediately saying something like this: “Are you trying to tell me that this tragedy is from God?”. This assumes that God is cruel or, at least, uncaring. Nothing could be further from the truth! There is a purpose behind every detail of our lives. Mark this down and accept it: God does not have to explain to us, everything that He is working on in our lives. He is not accountable to us! There is a basic principle that we must believe. It is found in Genesis 18:25, at the end of the verse. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Get rid of the idea that He has to justify Himself to us. It would be arrogant for us, to expect such a thing! Either He is trustworthy or He isn’t! If we are trusting Him for our eternal destiny, then we can trust what He is doing “behind the scenes”. Having said all of that, have no doubt “That we’ll understand it better by and by.”. Going on, if we trust Him, we will begin to discern a pattern of God’s working in our lives and, not a few times, we will discover that what we thought was just not right was, in fact, a blessing. (Perhaps, well disguised.) What we considered an accident was an appointment, appointed by God to teach us, correct us, change us, and to develop a cast-iron confidence that even when we can’t understand, He is reliable! He doesn’t make mistakes, and no matter how it appears, He never does wrong! Selah! Think this over: “Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.“. (Hebrews 10:35) Ron
An ambassador represents a country. We, too, represent a Heavenly Country. We are all ambassadors. There are ambassadors in a special sense. These travel great distances and usually make difficult sacrifices and adjustments. They are called missionaries. Now all true believers (unless they are blissfully unaware of what is going on) believe in missions. This is a “given”. Now we must and should support and be informed about world missions. I would like to go a little further on this subject. Have you become personally involved in a friendship with a missionary (or with several)? If not you have missed a life changing experience. Invite them to visit with you. Get to know them. Let them share their vision, experiences, needs, and prayer concerns. Go out to a meal together. Phone them occasionally, if possible. Write to (or at least E-Mail) them. Don’t be troubled if they don’t respond soon or at all. They have many responsibilities. Visit their field, if you can. Cards and letters as well as gifts are always welcome. Pray for them. Expose your children to them, when they visit with you. Encourage Christian friends to adopt one or more such friends. When Jesus commanded His people to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, we couldn’t do that all by ourselves. Ambassadors (missionaries) are the part of the Body that can be in different parts of the world than we can be in, at any given moment. We are co-laborers! Don’t miss out on a great responsibility and rewarding relationship. Adopt an Ambassador! Selah! Think about ways to bless a missionary then do as many as you can. Ron
Some things are clearly wrong for a true Christian to do and other things are, just as clearly, proper for a true Christian to do. However, there are some behavior issues that are more difficult to decide if they are right or wrong. What do we do or not do, when we are unsure? Here are some guidelines: 1.) Do I love the Lord enough to not engage in behavior that might be questionable? (I Corinthians 8:13) 2.) Can I do what I might want to do, to the Glory of God? (I Corinthians 10:31) 3.) Would it cause someone to think that I am a hypocrite and because of this they decide against becoming a born again believer? (Matthew 5:16; Note emphases: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father, Who is in Heaven.“)
Here are some general guidelines that are supported by the overall tenor of Scripture: 1.) Would I be comfortable doing what I want to do, if Jesus came right now? 2.) Will this help me (or anyone else) become Spiritually stronger or could it weaken me (or someone else)? 3.) Did I ask God to show me, in His Word, if my contemplated behavior is in harmony with His principles or contrary to them?
These are only a few thoughts. Faithful study of the Bible, and motivated by love for Him and others, will help us to make right choices.
Selah! I don’t know the source of this quote but it is a very important thought. ” Consistency, thou art a jewel!” Let’s be a polished jewel . Ron
Even light reading, such as good (mostly Christian) fiction, can have value. Good stories can explain, inspire, amuse, motivate, comfort, and encourage. If you have been reading and studying some “heavy” material, good fiction can relax your tired mind. However, many Christian novels are off base on Scripture to a certain extent. Don’t park your critical faculties in your mental garage, when you read fiction. Regarding serious books, these always need to be critically studied! Don’t let any books take the place of reading God’s Word!! How should we handle reading books, other than the Bible? Ask yourself questions! Is the author a person who has been used of God? Does he or she validate, even by implication, worldly behavior? God’s standards apply for today just as they did for yesterday. Is the author’s teaching in harmony with Scripture? How is it in harmony or where is it not in harmony? Is there any false teaching? If so, don’t read it unless you are able to refute its error. Does the book contain useful information and neither endorses nor discredits the Bible? Do you really need the information? Be sure that your reading is for more than adding to your intellectual storage bin. Information is to be applied for the Glory of God! One other caution, for some, is don’t use reading as an escape from unpleasant reality. Selah! When you read, think. Is this material enhancing my Christian life and service? “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 Ron
Let’s start with the Bible. We do not criticize the Word of God. In fact, it gives us a critical picture of mankind and men’s rebellion against God. However, there is an appropriate way to approach Scripture. First, what is the overall thrust of the Bible’s teaching on any given subject? Scripture has great harmony in its teachings. Does what I am assuming is a proper understanding of God’s Word conflict in any way with major doctrines such as the Virgin Birth, the Deity of Christ, etc.? What has been the commonly accepted position of all truly Bible Believing churches down through the years? Would what I am studying violate any of God’s commands? Have I discussed a questionable teaching with a Spirit taught, careful student of His Word (one whose reputation for intense study and consecration has proved him to be a reliable source of help)? Even then, check it out (maybe with another student of the same type). If any doubt surfaces, keep studying, asking for the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Be patient. Some truth emerges over time. Use tools to help you study. There are some very good tools. Have a good concordance and a respected Bible Dictionary, among other tools. There will be some areas of honest disagreement among true believers. Let this motivate you to search even harder to see if you can determine who is correct on a subject. More tomorrow, Lord willing. Selah! Can you imagine the impact if all Christians would devote themselves to a disciplined study of God’s Word? Ron
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” I Thessalonians 5:21
Thanks to the help of TV and other aids that are somewhat less effective, too many Believers have developed lazy thinking habits. Sometimes, we are so pre-occupied with entertainment (especially TV) that we fail to take time to think deeply. Sometimes, we are so busy that we don’t find time to read. When we do find time, we may choose to read only “shallow stuff”. In conversation with other people, do our minds skip quickly from one line of thought to another or have we trained our minds to stay on track? Do we have friends that can, and do, challenge and stimulate our minds? Do we buy too much of what the media dishes up as accurate or true, without critically analyzing and verifying what is being communicated? Do we study, above all, the Word of God? After that, do we study thought provoking material from Godly, respected, writers? If so, do we check the teaching against Scripture to see if is reliable or not? Even good authors are not infallable! Can we discern truth from error? Do we ever study theology? This is a great help in defending the Faith, if it is sound theology. Peter, under inspiration, in I Peter 1:13a. commands us to, “..gird up the loins of your mind...”. We need to strengthen our minds. Selah! If your mind has become sluggish, don’t you think it is time to reign it in and bring it under discipline to God’s plan for it? Ron
Not every disciple is an evangelist. Nevertheless, Paul told Timothy, in II Timothy 4:5c, “….do the work of an evangelist.” The same thing is true of teaching. If someone asks you a question, that may be an opportunity to teach. If you have someone who respects you, you can usually teach them. Older women can teach younger women (see Titus 2:3 5). We men are to teach faithful men who can teach others( II Timothy 2:1). A Pastor in the Biblical sense is a Pastor-Teacher. Parents are to train (i.e; discipline and teach) children. (Ephesians 6:4b and Proverbs 22:6). (Even giving a book or tape may be indirect teaching. Good books and tapes provide good teaching. Bad books and tapes shouldn’t be given.) In the light of all this we should be “…apt (i.e; capable, prepared, equipped) to teach…” (II Timothy 2:24). Therefore, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15). Selah! If you are thinking that teaching is only for Pastors, Bible Teachers, Sunday School Teachers, etc. take a careful look at accounts, such as in the Book of Acts and other parts of God’s Word, where believers teach others about God and His Word. If you find someone, today, who will listen or ask questions, this may be your chance to teach. Ron