We sing: "This is my Father's World" (and ultimately it is), but right now it is occupied by enemy forces. Satan is referred to as "the god of this world" and this has been allowed by God, for a limited amount of time. It is, however, our mission, as "good soldiers of Jesus Christ" led by our Commander-in-Chief, to capture and hold enemy territory. The conflict rages world wide. Our part may be to secure the home front. to establish headquarters for the training, leadership and support of those who have gone deeper into heavily controlled enemy areas. God has equipped us to do our part, just as He has equipped His invading forces to do their part. World War II needed everyone to sacrifice and do his part to defeat the forces of evil. This is a far greater war than World War II! It was a crime to be AWOL from one's military duty. It is a far greater crime to be AWOL in the Lord's Army! America and her allies fought for freedom. We are fighting for freedom from the tyranny of sin! In World War II, people's lives were in bondage. In our war, people's souls are in bondage! On to victory! Selah! When our Captain comes, will He find us at our assigned mission? Ron
Remember the commission given us in II Timothy 2:3. "Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
A cup of cold water! That's not very much to give someone. That is, it's not very much to give someone unless that someone is in the desert, dying of thirst! This world of ours is often likened to a desert or wilderness. It is too often empty of meaning, purpose, joy, peace, hope, and fulfillment. Many perish in this wilderness without their spiritual hunger and thirst being assuaged. This is tragic because water and nourishment are readily available. However, that water and nourishment has been given to us who know Jesus as Savior and Lord, to share with those who are dying. Are we hoarding it to ourselves? If we don't take it to them, who will? The offer may be refused but that is their responsibility, not ours. To begin with, this cup of water may be as simple as a kind word, at first. Then, it may be the opening of a friendship. It may involve helping another in a time of need. It just might reach a point where their heart will open and they are ready to drink of the water of Life. What a blessing to quench the thirsting of a Spiritually barren soul! We are in the desert with water that we have drawn "out of the wells of Salvation." (From Isaiah 12:3) Let's offer some to parched souls! Selah! We provide water for thirsty animals. Let's remember to do it for thirsty souls. Ron
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come, and let him that heareth say, Come, and let him that is athirst come and whosoever will, let him take the water of Life freely." (Revelation 22:17).
It is a marvelous thing the way Jesus reached out to all kinds of people. Have you heard someone being referred to as "weird," "odd," "strange," etc. or have you done that yourself? It is true that some folk have mental challenges but most are just "different." They see things through a different lens than most of us. They march to the beat of a different drum! Do we look down on them? Do we patronize them? Do we have a condescending attitude? Because so many of us don't know how to relate or are uncomfortable to try, where does that leave someone who is lonely, hurting, rejected, and too often ridiculed? There are many today who desperately need respect, acceptance, friendship and time. What an opportunity for Christ's love to flow through us to touch them at the point of their deepest needs! Did not Christ die for them, as well as for those of us who know Him? Jesus wasn't too busy for us. Can we give of our time to befriend one of these "different" ones? Perhaps you are thinking in terms of reaching out to several people that you know and that seems impossible with all your responsibilities. Why not start with one or two? When you meet others, give respect and a listening ear. Treat them as you would want to be treated if you were "different!" You may give someone the desire to go on living! Selah! You may bring sunshine into the clouds of gloom in somebody's life. What a gift! Ron
Consider this from Hebrews 12:12-13. Although its use here is not the basic interpretation, it is, nevertheless, an appropriate application: "Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."
It is true that we will work and sacrifice for something that we want intensely. We will almost always find time for what we really want to do. What is my greatest desire? Have you ever thought seriously about that question? For some the answer might be fame. For others it could be wealth, or entertainment, or education, or athletics, or popularity, etc. What is the most passionate desire of a true disciple? Should it not be God? Are we really longing to know Him in a deeply personal way? Does it bring joy, to be conscious of His approval? Are we longing to please Him? Do we hurt when we hurt Him? When we engage with the Bible, do we sense His voice speaking to us? Do we share His interests and concerns? What are we doing to enhance our relationship with Him? What amount of time and energy do we give to express our love for Him? Do we invest time and energy to enjoy His Presence? Do we long for others to love Him? Are we offended at the things that offend Him? Our responses to these questions give some clues as to how serious we are about our Christianity. Only through the Lord Jesus Christ is it even possible to be truly involved in an intimate way with the Father. What price have we paid or are we willing to pay to pursue that kind of a walk with God? Selah! Is any price too high? Ron
"And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13).
Oh, God! Give us a heart for you, a hunger, a thirst that must be satisfied!
Obviously, I can only scratch the surface of this subject. Yet, I hope to give some understanding of how serious sin is in God's eyes. First of all, it is rebellion against God's commands. Secondly, it furthers Satan's intention to corrupt God's world as much as he possibly can. Next, it puts doing our will above doing God's will. This is making an idol of self. After that, it offends God's Character. He desires holiness! We perpetuate wickedness and contaminate His world. Finally, (as far as today is concerned), sin made necessary the death of God's own Son! Now, lest someone underestimates the exceeding sinfulness of sin, may I point out how serious sin is? Sin is so serious that if one person, only, stole a penny, Jesus would have had to die to atone for that sin of stealing and to deal with the sin nature that prompted it. One sin, unatoned for, would shut the door to Heaven for us forever, leaving hell the only alternative. Even speech has so much potential for sin that we are warned that: "….every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account of it in the day of judgment." (From Matthew 12:36). Selah! Fail to take sin seriously and it will damage you and, without His Salvation, sin will destroy you! Ron
"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God..." (From I Corinthians 15:34).
Some of us seem to have a gift of discernment. Others of us have to work at developing this faculty. I would like to share some ideas on how we can learn to be more discerning. Some of these ideas may surprise you. Consider these: 1). Don't spend a lot of time on TV. (Most of it is a waste of time). Hours of TV makes for lazy thinking. Why should we let a "boob tube" do our thinking for us? 2). Consider the grid for your thinking. (I doubt if there are many (any?) truly independent thinkers). Our reasoning is the product of our family and friends, our education, our life experiences, our reading, the media, etc. or we can reason based on God's eternal Truth in the Bible. What do you honestly think is the most reliable, your thoughts or what God has to say? 3). Filter all incoming data as if you are a skeptic. Ask questions in your mind: Is it true? Who says so? Why? How do they know? Is it logical? Is it factual? What reasons are given? Am I responding based on solid evidence or only emotion? 4). Read and learn on both sides of an issue. However, check all against Scripture. Avail yourself of well thought out material from men and women that God has equipped and used but again, let me say, check it against the Word of God. That is the only source of absolute Truth! Yes, that statement can be substantiated by a careful and intense study of what God has revealed. Selah! Keep in mind that the Bible has been severely attacked over centuries and yet the Bible remains unscathed and the critics come and go. Ron
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (Lit. God-breathed) and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17).
All too often, something someone says, something that we read, and what we are told via the media, influence our thinking and our choices. We, many times, accept something as factual without a second thought as to its' truthfulness. Sometimes, we are too trusting of our thoughts. We are influenced by our family, by our education, by our "feelings." This all contributes to the formation of our worldview. Yes, we all have a worldview. The problem is that our worldview may be absorbed from outside sources, rather than carefully developed. This may happen without our doing a critical analysis of incoming information. There are, basically, only three worldviews: man's, the Bible's, or a mixture of the first two. We have to make up our minds ourselves, or someone and/or something else will do it for us. Can we afford to be clones of a bankrupt mindset? How do we know who is right? The only source of absolute Truth is God, who is the Truth. It doesn't take much discernment to determine which view is the only trustworthy one. One need only look at the results of man's philosophies and then look at the results in the lives of those who are thoroughly guided by what God says. The results speak for themselves! (I'm mindful of those who claim that Christianity has caused wrong things to be done, but it wasn't Christianity that was the cause. Instead, it was a shallow understanding of what the Bible teaches that did the damage). Only a Spiritually enlightened mind can give purpose and fulfillment here and hereafter. Who will make up your mind, God or some unreliable input that will ultimately fail you? Selah! You are trusted with a mind. What are you going to let in to your mind? Ron
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (I Thessalonians 5:21)