Have you ever taken a hard look at how you use your time? I'm writing to disciples. I believe we need to budget our time. In a typical day, we give time to some things that are needful for healthy living. We need to get adequate rest and relaxation and take some time for fun and food. We have some daily living responsibilities that demand our time. However, are we having adequate time with God, conversing and listening? On the other hand, there seems to be a problem, finding time for this. Why? Priorities! If you have an appointment with a friend or doctor, you will probably keep it (unless a real serious problem interferes). You give that kind of an appointment a priority. I have to learn, over and over, (I'm slow but educable) to put God first, short of a crisis or in a very unusual situation. When I fail to do this, I don't get a whole lot accomplished. Conversely, when I do discipline myself to faithfully give very high priority to my quiet time, I discover that I get more done than I do if I try to "tuck God in!" Who is as important or what is as important as God? Selah! When time on earth is done and eternity is upon us, we will see that time spent with God was the best investment that we ever made. Give Him High Priority! You will be eternally glad that you did! Ron
"But seek ye first the Kingdom of God.." (From Matthew 6:33)
" Living for Jesus a life that is true, Striving to please Him in all that I do:
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free, This is the pathway of blessing for me."
(Thomas O. Chisholm)
Let me start with a disclaimer. I don't have any person in mind. My observations across a fairly wide spectrum suggest that preaching against specific sins is not very fashionable today. Old-fashioned standards of separated behavior are not called for in many churches. It seems reasonable to conclude that the level of carnal conduct and thinking, so evident in our Christian circles generally, is because of a lack of pointed preaching and teaching. Granted that constantly preaching against sin is not the whole Gospel. However, neither is failure to speak out against sin the whole Gospel. Both preaching salvation and preaching against sin are needed in our pulpits and classrooms, "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" (I Corinthians 14:8). To offset vapid voices, we need a fresh baptism with the voice of authority, such as was exemplified by John the Baptist and by Jesus. We are in a battle. Our Commander-in-Chief has issued the summons to witness by lip and by life. Paul has identified the spiritual conflict and given us instruction in spiritual warfare. The troops need adequate nourishment and disciplined strength for the engagement. Let's serve steak and not similac to the Soldiers of the Cross. We don't fight alone! Selah! Spiritual weaklings will be defeated. Spiritually strong warriors will be "more than conquerors through Him that loved us" ( From Romans 8:37). Ron
Some people's self-worth is wrapped up in what they own. (Our worth, if we are believers, is found in the value imputed to us by Christ's sacrifice). If we live for material things, we are slaves to the lust for owning. If your home (perish the thought) were to burn to the ground today and you lost everything but your family, how would you truly feel? Possessions can be worn out easily or wiped out suddenly. Nice and/or useful things are for our help and/or enjoyment. Often, we can use our "things" to bless others. When we leave this life, no material things go with us. Scripture reminds us that, "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." In the words of the Gospel song, we need to live "with eternity's values in view" (Alfred B. Smith). The passion to accumulate more and more is likely fueled by an emptiness in our lives that Jesus hasn't been invited to fill. Treasure laid up in heaven, never wears out or loses value. A wealthy person can experience the worst kind of (Spiritual) poverty, while a poor person can be rich toward God. No wonder Jim Elliot has been quoted so much when he pointed out that, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Selah! Living to acquire "things" is a sad bondage. Living for Christ gives true freedom! Ron
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last!" (Author unknown)
There is an interesting verse in I Corinthians. It is in Chapter 7, Verse 20. "Let every man abide (remain) in the same calling (not job) in which he was called." This statement brings several things to mind. For the believer, the tenor of Scripture excludes from this command, jobs that violate holy standards. Having said that, any legitimate job is much more than a job. It is a "calling!" It is, right now, a genuine Christian's place of service and ministry. Until, and if, God changes our current mission, we are to manifest the attitudes, values, and behavior of a child of God in this workplace. As God opens up opportunites for us to share our faith, we are to be ready to explain the gospel truths but not on company time. (If we have trouble putting it into words, then have a tract, tape, or book[let] ready to offer). Try always to render an honest day's work. Failure to do this can seriously undermine our witness. There is something else to consider. We can be subtly trapped into thinking our job is what gives us value and prestige. Our job is not our service. It is our place to serve! We can even be deceived into making a good "position" an occasion for pride, and the job an end in itself. No, it is our "mission field." It is not intended to inflate our ego. Selah! Be a faithful missionary where you are, right now! Ron
"Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.." Romans 12:11
Our colleges and universities and even our grade schools (unless they are truly Christian ones) have many allies. The secular media, with few if any exceptions, the most of the entertainment industry, magazines, books, business, and even most people are willing allies in the promoting of anti-Biblical propaganda. True, it is often not done consciously. People just believe what they are bombarded with from these various sources. They usually don't critically analyze what they read, see, or hear. If this propaganda is believed by the majority of people, then it must be right. (More tongue in cheek). Even too many Christian schools are swayed by so called scientific claims. The scientists, in turn, are often the product (and/or victim) of their teachers' philosophies. God tells us in Proverbs 1:7 that, "The fear (reverential respect) of the Lord is the beginning (starting point) of knowledge." A Spirit-taught Christian knows that this is true but it would be unacceptable to most people today. Even too many Christians unwittingly believe that it is safe and/or necessary to entrust their children's education to these secular institutions and to teachers who will impart values and beliefs that are totally opposed to God's Truth. They blissfully assume that their children will come out unscathed and are appalled when their children abandon their faith. God's Word and mankind's values and beliefs are diametrically opposed to each other and can never be reconciled. Selah! A disciple will choose God's Truth over man's foolish, Godless, opinions. Ron
"the world by (its) wisdom knew not God,…" (From I Corinthians 1:21) That hasn't changed!
We have been persuaded that education, as we have it today, is something to be energetically pursued. This is very likely true, if indeed it is "education." How we understand "education" is the key to its value. If it is training in how to do (fair and honest) critical thinking or on how to properly function in our vocation, or both) then it is good. However, what is marketed today as "education" could more truly be defined as propaganda. The professors' philosophies guide their teaching. To challenge what they believe is, more often than not, to invite rebuke and/or ridicule. This is not surprising, given the pride and arrogance of too many degree-laden people who may only be clones of some of their educators. This kind of pride doesn't usually take kindly to being challenged. After all, the student could never know more than the professor! (Tongue in cheek). If you, as a student, don't embrace (at least, most of) your professors' philosophy, you could end up flunking the course. The Bible is also a set of beliefs. The overwhelming weight of evidence is on the side of the Bible's being true. Its teaching is, by and large, the very opposite of what the majority of the world's people hold to be true. This is a collision of worldviews. Common sense alone argues in favor of the Bible. If God is behind it (and He is), then mankind's views are fundamentally flawed. If people accept what God says as being true, that means that dramatic changes must be made. That is something that a great many people are unwilling to do. Selah! If I believe God and He is not the source of Truth, I have, at least, had a good life. If I don't believe God's Truth and His Word is true, I am lost forever in hell. I've made my choice and I have never regretted it. It has been validated over and over and over! Ron
"Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (From I Corinthians 1:20)
All the while that we are being assaulted in an attempt to distort our thinking, another crafty attack is under way. Consider that our enemy is "under our radar." He comes disguised in various ways. He suggests our need for and right to pleasure. That is a half-truth. There is nothing wrong with wholesome pleasure. God wants us to have that. The pleasure that our enemy is tempting us with is is a destructive, self-indulgent pleasure. "If it feels good, do it!" Spirit-taught believers, surrendered to God, know better. When that strategy doesn't work, another very clever ploy is so simple as to defy detection. Satan tries to get us so busy that we don't have time to nurture a deep relationship with God. He doesn't even mind much if we are busy with "good things," if we don't commune with God. Another approach is to fill our minds with shallow things so that we will not think about the things of God. Fundamental to all of these attacks is the attempt to distract us and disconnect us from the Source of Spiritual vitality and strength and sideline us from being used by God in the battle against sin and deception. Selah! Have we become a casualty? We have a Great Physician! He can restore and re-commission us. Trust His diagnosis, submit to His surgery and skill, and use what He prescribes and return to battle! Ron
"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [of human ability and origin], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds), casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of ( to) Christ.." (II Corinthians 10:4-5).