This is sort of a P.S. Many Christians know that they should share their faith but inwardly they have thoughts of: I don't "feel" that I can do this or I don't "feel" comfortable talking to someone about Spiritual matters. However, no Christian is exempt from this responsibility. I might also mention that when we do share our faith, we are keeping (standing true to) "the Faith" and we experience real joy and satisfaction in meeting our obligation. Far more important than that is the realization that God uses us to show people the way to change their eternal destiny from Hell to Heaven. Here are some ways to share the Truth of salvation in Jesus: 1). When our behavior is consistent with His principles, this will motivate some to ask questions and our answers can be instrumental in their opening to Someone Who can make their lives meaningful. 2). Meeting human needs can also provoke questions especially when done at personal cost. 3). Leaving and/or offering good tracts can be very effective. 4). Sometimes a simple question such as, "If you were to die tonite, where would you spend eternity?" can start a person thinking and may lead to him or her opening to Jesus. 5). Gifts of good books and/or tapes with the way and need of salvation clearly presented can motivate the recipient to consider his or her need. These are a few ways, done faithfully with dependence on the Holy Spirit and backed by prayer to be instrumental in seeing some folk in Heaven because we "kept" the Faith. Selah! There are other ways to reach out to lost people. Think about ways that you can share and then get started. Ron
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of Life…" (From Philippians 2:15-16).
As we conclude this theme today, I would be quite a bit less than candid if I didn't admit that I struggle with what I am discussing today. Knowing how essential certain disciplines are doesn't mean that we just master them without much effort and without considerable help from God. I mentioned in some back articles (you might want to scroll back) that there is a strong resistance and an abundant supply of excuses from our adversary, to hinder our faithful practise of these disciplines. I'm speaking of prayer, Bible study and meditation, regular assembling with the Church, and finding some way(s) to witness to others about our Savior. I can say, that by (and only by) the Grace of God, there has been progress. I'd like to share some insights that I pray that God will use to help you, if you struggle. First, I started way back by determining that I would at least do "Our Daily Bread" (free from RBC Ministries) no matter what else didn't get done. Next, I kept adding more and more to that. I've found that 3-6 chapters from the Bible each day allows me to read the Bible through, once or twice a year. I further discovered that the more I used books by others on how they kept at it and the blessings they enjoyed as they perservered, that I was encouraged to keep at it. I went on to discover that regardless of "feelings" (we don't always "feel" like spending quality time with the Lord) that because we love Him, we do it anyway. Lastly, I have learned that I can't allow the times that I haven't been faithful to discourage me into giving up. Selah! In each of these disciplines, keep working at being faithful, don't give in to discouragement, learn to love God, depend on Him, and He will bless you! How many times do you try again? As many times as you fail plus one! Ron
Remind yourself that "I can do all things (that He instructs me to do) through Christ, Who strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)
Some may have wondered why I spent this much time on this subject. The answer is that too many folk and too many Christians have been "feeling oriented" rather than Word directed. Living by emotions instead of principles from God's Word is a recipe for defeat. Feelings change with the winds of circumstances. Principles are something that will give us solid footing on "the Rock," no matter what storms life brings our way. To be Word governed and not be "feelings" swayed is not a simple task. It requires determination and discipline to discover God's principles and to go by them, no matter how we "feel." It calls for a strong trust in what God says. We must resist unflaggingly, the temptation to respond emotionally. Acting first and foremost on concrete principles will ultimately produce "feelings" of joy, peace, and praise. We are designed to honor God and render obedience to His commands which are for our benefit and His Glory. The "feelings" will then be enjoyed on a much deeper level, as the result and not the cause of our conduct. Selah! A friend shared a good definition of "feelings." "Feelings" are rubber crutches!" Whatever you do, don't lean on them. Ron
"Thy Word (not "feelings") is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path ." (Psalm 119:105)
"To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this Word , it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20)
We were disconnected! The human race was disconnected! Disconnected from God! When? Let's look back. Adam and Eve were created perfect but with a free will. When God said something to them, they obeyed. I suspect that they didn't experience any motivation to obey, coming from their feelings. On the other hand I imagine that they felt good when they obeyed. One day God told them they could eat the fruit of every tree in the garden but one. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die!" (Genesis 2:17) They ate. They died. They (and through them, we) died. The human race was disconnected from God. That is spiritual death! The only way the connection can be restored is something that takes place as part and parcel of genuine Spiritual conversion. This is stated in a phrase found in Titus 3:5. "(..the) renewing of (by) the Holy Ghost (Spirit)." In conversion, He restores the connection. However, we have, all of our lives up until we are regenerated, gone mostly by our feelings. Now, we "have the mind of Christ." (From I Corinthians 2:16). In us? No! In His Word! We are instructed, in Philippians 2:5, to "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.." Key word: "Let" How do we "let?" We do this by going to the Word, reading the Word, studying the Word, applying the Word, obeying the Word. In this ongoing process, we learn to go by what God says instead of by how we "feel." Selah! When we obey, good feelings are the result. When we go by "feelings" the result will be instability and grief. Ron
"I feel" that if I marry him or her that I can win him or her to Jesus. I "feel" that God understands that I can't help my anger. I don't "feel" like praying. I "feel" that studying the Bible is impossible to do very often, because of my responsibilities. I have a "feeling" that I would be, or cause someone to be, embarrassed if I tried to share my faith with them. I "feel" that I don't have the ability to do some ministry that God is asking me to undertake. I "feel" like I'm supposed to counsel this woman alone. After all, I "feel" that anyone who knows me, knows that I am trustworthy. I "feel" that I can go to this secular school and I am strong enough that they won't undermine my faith. All of these "feelings" are in conflict with some teaching of Scripture. We are born with this tendency to trust our "feelings." Our first thought should be: what does the Bible say? Until we start with God-given principles instead of our "feelings," we will never develop into mature effective believers. Our "feelings" will get us into trouble unless they are the outflow of having yielded to God's will. "Feelings" are not reliable, if they are what moves us. Rich "feelings" are generated by submission to His commands and principles. Selah! The hallmark of a true disciple is his or her determination to find out what saith the Lord and do it with dependence on and trust in HIm. Ron
"And thine ears shall hear a (W)ord behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it…" (From Isaiah 30:21).
Once upon a time, a long time ago, a woman in a beautiful garden, and a tempter hard at work set the stage for a disaster. It all began with a subtle suggestion: "..your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods" [God] (From Genesis 3:5). So said the tempter. His strategy has proven effective ever since. First, he turned the attention of the woman to the tree and the fruit (the lust of the eyes). Then the desire for the intriguing fruit (the lust of the flesh). Next, he mentioned the "opportunity" (a lie) for knowing as God knows and being as God is (the pride of life). She bought the lie and persuaded her husband to go along with her in this act of self will. He knew better but agreed. The human race became infected, as the consequence of rebellion to God's explicit command, with the poison of sin. Prior to that moment of disobedience, God's commands were obeyed. Our first parents started out going by God's guidelines ("principles"). Today, people's first response, most of the time, is to be guided by feelings. Christians often do the same, until the redemptive power of ever increasing exposure to the Scriptures moves us toward going by what God says, instead of by how we feel about any matter. A disciple will learn to determine what God's principles are for any given situation and act accordingly, rather than going by "I feel that…" When we obey God, good feelings usually follow. When we start with going by our feelings, instability and guilt will characterize our lives. Selah! Learning to go by what God says and not by what we "feel" will bring peace and satisfaction to our lives. Ron (More tomorrow, Lord willing).