The Problem Of Anemia

There seems to be a serious problem among many Christians today. Is it possible that they are suffering from spiritual anemia? Where is the excitement, the enthusiasm, the thrill, the joy, the passion of authentic Christianity? An inadequate diet can cause anemia. The same thing is true with spiritual anemia. Is there a cure? Yes!! The medicine is strong! It's a formula that includes these essential elements: 1). Determine that we will make the Lord our "Number One Priority" each day. He is the most important above all things and people. 2). Let the Holy Spirit develop love, obedience, and gratitude in us. 3). Be regularly exposed to all the means of grace (i.e; prayer, the Word, the local church, and witnessing). 4). Included in this formula is a generous dose of motivation (i.e; making regular use of all means of motivation such as books, tapes, devotional material, music, some conferences, spiritual discussions, etc.). Caution: These ingredients must be of the highest Spiritual quality from a source that has proven their effectiveness. Taking this prescription faithfully has had dynamic results. When we see what it will do for an anemic Christian, we can heartily recommend it to anyone who is spiritually run-down.  Selah! If anybody suffers from a serious illness, it only makes sense to take the medicine prescribed.     Ron

"But seek ye first (and always) the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and…" (From Matthew 6:33).  One of the outcomes of this will be Spiritual vibrancy and vitality.  

Dimensions Of Discipleship

Here are some bottom-line indications of being a disciple. Before I start, let me point out that learning to be under discipline to our blessed Lord is a lifelong growth process issuing out of an initial commitment (and often out of a return to and renewal of that commitment). 1). A passionate devotion to our Savior (and to the whole Godhead). 2). An ongoing and increasing involvement in His Word and prayer. 3). Study of books and use of other materials that will stimulate Spiritual growth and most especially, the Bible. 4). Good and Scripturally sound music. 5). A heart full of worship, praise, and gratitude. 6). Faithful attendance at (what we call) church. 7). Finding some way to tell people about Jesus and His Salvation (at least tracts and words of testimony). 8). Involvement in and a burden for missions. 9). Cheerful giving of tithes and offerings. 10). Supplying the needs of the saints, even sacrificially sometimes, if at all possible. 11). After helping the brethren, reaching out to outsiders if we can. 12). Loving the brethren. 13). Serving in the local assembly, in some capacity. 14). Defending the Faith. Selah! Now, lest you think all this is too much for you, realize that you don't learn it all overnight but you can and must grow in and into these things. God is patient with you while you are learning. When these become "regular" in your daily walk, the reward will be great joy and peace.   Ron

"And He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." Luke 9:23

After The Dinner Is Over

Isn't Thanksgiving a special day? It is a day of family, friends, food, a day to relax some (except for the preparation), but hopefully, a day to pause and thank God for His many blessings. Having taken some time for gratitude, will we forget about how good God has been to us, until next year?  I fervently hope not! THANKSgiving needs to be a daily experience! In addition to not taking God for granted, which is far and away the most important thing not to do, we will find joy for our souls. Being grateful is a tonic that brings relief from wallowing in self pity and discouragement. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,.." Proverbs 17:22a. What if God removed all our blessings? It might take just that to cause us to realize just how much He has provided. How would you feel if you gave and gave and gave and never received a word of appreciation? How would you feel if someone had the attitude that you owed it to them? One important facet of discipleship is to be disciplined to respect and value God and to be filled with THANKfulness for His faithfulness and kindness to us. Let's let His Holy Spirit develop that kind of discipline in our daily lives. Ingratitude is a drag on body, soul, and spirit. ("But a broken spirit drieth the bones.") Proverbs 17:22b. Selah! Thoughts of how bad things are become a spiritual cancer, and thoughts of His goodness to us, brings a cure. Therefore, praise the Lord and enjoy a personal relationship with Him.   Ron

"No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."  Psalm 84:11c.

A Special Day!

We set aside one day a year to remind ourselves to consider all our blessings and give thanks. To the air? To Whom? God! Do we really comprehend that He is the source of all blessings? We sing, "Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!" Do we internalize that truth?  But why one day?  Why not every day?  Thankful for all the good things and the hard things, as well? There is a purpose in the hard things! We dedicate Christmas to the memory of Christ's birth. We celebrate Easter to commemorate His Resurrection. Could it be a ploy of our arch-enemy to implant in our sub-conscious the idea that when we keep these days, we have done our duty and so we can now get on with our regular routine? Am I suggesting not having these special days? Certainly not!! However, let's let the Holy Spirit build the discipline into our lives of living in the reality of what these days are all about. Let's make every day a time of rejoicing, rejoicing that He came, that He died in our place, that He rose from the dead, that He is going to return (maybe soon). Let's give thanks for these blessed truths and all other things, as well. Selah! It only makes sense to the thoughtful child of God to live with the "gratitude attitude," daily. Try it!  It will be life transforming!   Ron

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands, serve the Lord with gladness; come before His Presence with singing. know ye that the Lord; He is God; it is He Who hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His Name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His Truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100

A Guaranteed Future

This guarantee is the only one that is absolutely iron-clad! Other guarantees can and may fail. This one will not!! We are guaranteed Heaven, if we are born again. Eternity is forever but time is very short. Troubles, trials, and testings are only blips on the screen of eternity. We will, in this life, have blessings and burdens. Here, we can draw strength from God's Word to cope with our burdens, if we have been saved. There, there is only blessings. The number one purpose of this life is to open our hearts and lives to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. If you have done that you can and should be thankful for the two greatest blessings of all. 1). Jesus died on the cross to atone for all of our sin and sins. 2). We will be in Heaven forever ( where He is, it is Heaven)! Once we have surrendered our lives to Him, we have His Presence, His Comfort, His aid, His guidance, His wisdom, His encouragement, His peace, His joy, and His guarantee of Heaven. This is the wonder of discipleship. If you are a genuine believer, don't live below your birthright! Yield to Him and His discipline and experience the wonder of a God-filled life. Selah! Too many Christians have failed to give serious thought to the honor, privilege, and thrill of being His disciple. Have we given serious thought to this?    Ron

"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 GodRomans 12:1-2

Applied Hymnology-He Hideth My Soul

Words by Fanny Crosby         Music by William J. Kirkpatrick

"When clothed in His brightness," The spotless robe of His Righteousness; the likeness of His Person. Can we even imagine such a thing? Conformed to His Image, finally! Beyond grasping, but promised! "transported I rise"  Gravity suspended! Rising, fully free, at last! "To meet Him in clouds of the sky." What a meeting that will be! As another hymn puts it "Face to face with Christ, my Savior. Face to face, what will it be, when, with rapture, I behold Him, Jesus ChristWho died for me?"  "His perfect salvation,"  It is absolutely perfect! "His wonderful love,"  To be loved by God, the entire Trinity, is fathomless Grace!! "I'll shout" (and sing?) "with the millions on high." With a redeemed, restored voice, we'll lift our voices in triumph, wonder, worship, and praise!  To quote from one of my favorite hymns: "Holy! Holy! is what the angels sing and I expect to help them make the courts of Heaven ring but when I sing redemption's story, they will fold their wings, for angels never felt the joy that my salvation brings!" All assured because "He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock"  Selah! If thinking about these things doesn't thrill you, what could?   Ron

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." II Corinthians 5:8

Applied Hymnology-Blessed Assurance

Words by Fanny Crosby     Music by Phoebe P. Palmer

Do we have that "Blessed Assurance" that "Jesus is mine!?" God intends for us to enjoy that vital truth. "O what a foretaste of glory divine!" The joy of that assurance is only a small sample of the divine joy we will have in Heaven. "Heir of salvation," What an inheritance! "purchase of God," think about what it cost Him! Would you give your son to go through what Jesus went through for us who couldn't have deserved it less. "Born of His Spirit."  What an amazing reality this is! We are born into God's family. We become His child. We have His nature imparted to us. We are being shaped into His likeness and we will be home with Him forever, one day!  "washed in His Blood." Sin stains the soul, clear to the core of our being. His Blood can make the foulest sinner clean!  Indeed, "This is my story, this is my song," Are we talking about it? Are we singing about it? (Have we lost the wonder of it all)? "Praising my Savior all the day long." Do we meditate enough on these things that our heart bursts forth with praise, silently, and even sometimes out loud, all day long? Selah! What percentage of our thoughts are taken up with this kind of gratitude and joy? Sunday, at assembly only, or do we reflect and rejoice often?    Ron

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life,…" I John 5:13a.

Applied Hymnology-I’d Rather Have Jesus

Words by Rhea F. Miller  Music by George Beverly Shea

For a few days, let's really think about some hymns and what they say. So often, we are caught up in the music, without thinking about the message. Sometimes, the problem is not thinking about either but just doing what Christians do when they gather. The thoughts and truths of most hymns will reward careful consideration. For example:

"I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I'd rather be His than have riches untold;"  If we were offered $250,000 to renounce Jesus what would our decision be? Would we truly rather be His than have riches untold? "I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands," (more than a beautiful home on a prime lot, with perfect landscaping, overlooking the ocean or a beautiful lake)? "I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hands." Have we really thought about those wounds? Another hymn says, "He was wounded for me." We deserved that suffering, He experienced it!  Are we allowing those Holy Hands to direct our lives? The Chorus continues, "Than to be the king of a vast domain" (to control millions of lives)? "Or be held in sin's dread sway;" (Is sin dreadful to us and does it hold sway over us rather than Him)?  Would we be able to honestly say, "I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today" (or any other time)? Selah! If the thoughts in this hymn reflect your own commitment, then you have much to be thankful for as a Christian!   Ron

"For what shall it profit a man,, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Mark 8:36

The List Goes On

I hope you are catching the excitement and the reason for these "thankful thoughts" that are only a sampling of countless blessings that we enjoy. Let me start at 35).Peace of Heart. 36).Joy (even in trials, knowing God has a purpose). 37). Principles, and answers to the great questions of life, in the Bible. 38). Strength for life's burdens. 39). A guarantee of Heaven. 40). Learning more and more to love others. 41). Learning to be unselfish. ( I wish I was a faster learner of 40 and 41).  42). Prayer (conversation with God). 43). Being loved by God. 44). Forgiveness for sin and sins. 45). Help to overcome failures. 46). Sharing about God. 47). Godly counsel for myself and others from His Word. 48). Not being destroyed by sinful vices. 49).Jesus willingly bearing my much deserved punishment on the Cross. 50). God doesn't give up on me, even when I'm tempted to give up on myself. Well by now I think you see how we could go on and on and on with so much to be thankful for to our wonderful God. Why don't you take time to write your blessings down? It will bless you, if you do. Selah! If you think it over, we have a very important choice to make. We can focus on all the difficulties, sorrows, and problems and be miserable or we can consider all that God has blessed us with and trace His working in our lives (even in our trials) and rejoice and give thanks for His great mercy and love.   Ron

"That I may publish [make known] with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Thy wondrous works."   Psalm 26:7

16 And Still Counting

Thinking about this since yesterday, I have come to the conclusion that I haven't even begun to list all my (our?) blessings. (16 Yesterday.)  So, I'll start today at 17). Freedom, more than a great many on earth today. 18). My precious wife and children. (Remember, these are in no particular order.) 19). Friends.  20). Sight to behold beauty and to function. 21). Smell. Think of a delicious beef roast and how it smells while cooking and the appetite it creates, or fresh brewing coffee. 22). Shoes and socks. (Imagine going outdoors barefoot in a Maine winter.) 23). Income. 24). The right to vote. 25). Good books and videos. 26). The Word of God (the Bible.) 27). Wholesome entertainment. 28). The gift of humor. 29). Good doctors and hospitals. 30). A telephone. Think how easy it is to communicate today. 31). Household conveniences. 32). God's working in and through our lives. 33).  Good music. 34). The great old hymns of the faith. More tomorrow! We haven't even scratched the surface.  Selah! The more one thinks about it, the more one realizes how much there is for which to give God thanks.    Ron

Here's one we might never think of, if it weren't for the Psalmist:  "At midnight will I rise to give thanks unto thee, because of Thy righteous judgments." Psalm 119:62