We are born with dead souls. If they remain dead to God, they will be lost forever, shut out from God's Life, beyond redemption! There is only one place that a lost soul can exist for eternity and that is hell and all that that implies.(Someone reading this may say, "I don't believe in hell." What if you believe wrong? Don't make an eternal mistake)! New life is imparted only while we are physically alive and imparted only if we enter into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We have a brief "window of opportunity" in which we can receive His gift of salvation. It may be as brief as the next sixty seconds or it may be for a few hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc. In comparison to "forever," it is very brief indeed! There is no way to change one's mind after death to our body. Read carefully John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-13. If you have never received God's Gift of "new Life in Christ," turn to Him, repent (turn away from sin), and surrender your whole self to Him. Your soul will be no longer "lost" but "found." Your destiny will then be Heaven! Selah! "Lost" souls can never be healthy. "Found" souls can be nourished and become healthy forever! Ron
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (From Matthew 16:26).
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (From Hebrews 2:3).
Bodies perish, souls endure! Why, then, would we take better care of our bodies than of our souls? We feed our bodies, usually three times a day plus. How many times do we feed our souls each day? Many of us try to be quite careful about a healthy diet and generally avoid junk food. With what kind of a diet do we feed our souls? Our souls should be kept from all junk food. We, if we are wise and able, exercise. What soul exercise do we discipline ourselves to do? We don't use shabby clothes, ordinarily. What kind of wardrobe are we providing for our souls? Our bodies require a certain amount of rest. Are our souls tired and exhausted? Frankly, do we even give much thought to our souls? Isn't it about time that we get our priorities right? Let's feed our souls milk, bread, and meat from God's Word. Let's not allow our souls to become ill because of "junk food." Let's exercise our souls each day. Let's clothe our souls in the garments of righteousness. We need to be sure our souls have proper rest. Who could be pleased to have a sickly body? How can we settle for a sickly soul? We might not be privileged with good physical health but our souls can be healthy. The responsibility is ours to take good care of our souls! Selah! Undernourished souls are feeble, sickly, and shriveled. People pity those with sickly bodies. Likely, God pities people with sickly souls! More tomorrow. Ron
Could this be said of us: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (III John 2)? Imagine souls that are so healthy that it would be good for our bodies to be equally healthy!
"For we walk by faith; not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). This is what we are told. How do we do it? First, we walk "…after the Spirit" (From Romans 8:1). We follow Him! "…He will guide you into all Truth…" (From John 16:13). Where is that Truth to be found? "….Thy Word (the Bible) is Truth" (From John 17:17). Second, we are to "….walk circumspectly" (From Ephesians 5:15). What does "circumspectly" mean? We are to walk very carefully and not get "tripped up" by sin. Moving further along, we are to "…walk in newness of life" (From Romans 6:4). We are to increase more and more in Godly behavior. Next, we are to "…walk in the Light" (From I John 1:7). "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" Psalm 119:105). Fifth, we are to "…walk in His ways" (From Psalm 119:3). "In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:6). Sixth, we are to walk "….not in the counsel of the ungodly…" (From Psalm 1:1). Don't follow Godless advice, advice that is contrary to Scripture. Don't be governed by a secular worldview. Seventh, "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without (outside; unsaved)…" How can we gain this needed wisdom? "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…. and it shall be given him.." (From James 1:5) Selah! We are meant to mature, to leave baby steps behind. Take His hand and go for a walk until you finally get "home!" Ron
"The steps of a good man (good because he has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus) are ordered by the LORD and He delighteth in his way" (Psalm 37:23).
A person wants to serve in a high-security position in government. This person has to be carefully checked out. He or she must have a reputation that has been demonstrated to be absolutely trustworthy. Usually a background check is required. Character references are checked. Any serious problems will disqualify the individual. Is it possible that if there were an investigation of each Christian's life that many Christians would be disqualified? Does an unsaved person have a right to expect Christians to "measure up" to high standards of integrity and trustworthiness? Do we conduct our lives in such a way that God can place us in a sensitive post and know that we can be relied upon? I've heard of some places that look for Christians to hire because they can be trusted. Are we of the character that they would gladly hire us? It is terribly important for us to have impeccable credentials and to be sure, with His help, that we do not soil His reputation in the eyes of a watching world! Selah! Impeccable implies: spotless, irreproachable, pure, etc. Let's seek to gain, maintain, and polish our credentials as Christians. Ron
"Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His; and, Let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity." (II Timothy 2:19)
It would not be good to be half a person. Nevertheless, there are people who seem to possess little emotion, yet are very intelligent. Of course, there are also those who are so emotional that they appear unstable (and probably are). They are impulsive and more or less driven by "feelings," sometimes with serious consequences. Should one's faith be almost completely intellectual? Should we settle for a faith that has little grounding in reason? Does it serve Satan's plans for us to be one extreme or the other? Now I enjoy, with great satisfaction, a good steak. If I only put it in the refrigerator and thought about it, it wouldn't do me much good. On the other hand, if I ate it raw, the way it came from the store, it might give me some real problems. Reason alone is only for the mind. Faith alone, ungrounded by reason, can collapse and be exposed as only "feeling." The Bible, that great body of Eternal and Absolute Truth, is somewhat like a pile of logs sitting in the fireplace all ready to go but not ignited. Faith that absorbs and applies that Truth is the match that lights the fire. Faith set on fire gives off light, warmth, and pleasure. Remember that the written Word, the Scriptures, is the foundation of valid faith. Jesus, the Living Word, lives that Truth out. He expresses it and models it in a life of purpose, character, beauty and blessing. If He inhabits our humanity (and He does, if we are saved) our lives should be lived the same way, in dependence on and obedience to Him. Selah! Faith that is not lived out is cold and sterile. It seldom, if ever, amounts to anything. Ron
"But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).
Yesterday, we considered what you and I can do to restore the basics to the Church. Today, let's look at what the Church can do. Keep in mind that there will be some overlap, because "we" are the Church. I believe the most basic thing of all is making passionate public and private prayer a top priority. Let's pray earnestly (James 5:16) for the Church, for lost people, and anointed preaching. Let's bring back the Prayer Meeting, if we have given up on it. Let's keep it if we haven't. In either case, we mustn't rest until it is a vital and Biblical Prayer Meeting. Be sure that honoring Jesus is the number one reason for our existence. Set standards of holiness before the people and preach against sin, without fear of being accused of being legalistic. Holy behavior is not "legalistic" unless it is done for the wrong motives. Don't substitute carnal programs for Scriptural methodology. Don't prostitute the pulpit with the emphasizing of anything as equal to, or above, the Word of God. Learn what true worship is and practice it. Encourage and practice "witnessing." Stress "Missions." Missions" is near to God's heart. Train "believers" in solid doctrine. Develop Godly leadership. Employ discipline when needed, even if it decreases offerings. Maintain a reverent atmosphere, remembering that you are in the "Presence" of the Most Holy God. Selah! If a Church has strayed from these things, it may take time to reverse the downward trend. Be patient, but persistent. Ron
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42).
As I pointed out yesterday, only those who are born again can do anything to restore vitality to the Church. Having said that, consider this from John 15:5: "…for without me ye (we) can do nothing." However, we can do what is called for, in His strength (See Philippians 4:13). Here are some specifics: 1). Recognize the urgent need. 2). Surrender ourselves to His will, purpose, and directions. 3). Seek above all the advancement of His Kingdom and His Righteousness (Matthew 6:33). 4). PRAY! 5). Spend quality time in His Presence. Study and apply His Word. 6). Love Him fervently. 7). Repent of any sin that we have allowed in our lives. 8). Get excited about our relationship with Him. 9). Be active in our local Church. Seek to motivate fellow believers to holiness of life. 10). Be contagious in our love of His Word. 11). Witness! 12). Read books and listen to tapes that have true Spiritual quality. 13). Make faithful attendance to services a top priority. 14). Spend time with Christians who are earnest in their faith. 15). Be grounded doctrinally. 16). Let nothing or no one mean as much to us as He does or get in the way of pleasing and honoring Him. 17). Abstain from even the appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22). Use the above as goals. Print this article out and check yourself against it regularly. Be faithful in developing each of these items in yourself. Anytime you fall short, take His Hand, get up, brush yourself off, and move forward. Selah! "…count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my (our) Lord…." (From Philippians 3:8). Ron
Good to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words. Indeed, we need desperately to get back to basics. Join me won't you (if you are not already doing this) in praying for revival. Anointed preaching is far more important than programs. Ministry far outweighs entertainment. Holy Spirit conviction is more effective than comfort. Comfort is a work of the Holy Spirit, usually more for saints than sinners. Counseling needs to be grounded in the Word of God, not in some secular psychology baptized in Spiritual terminology. We need a return to Spirit-filled prayer. We need to be and become "grounded" in solid doctrine. Social outreach and politics are important but must take a backseat to evangelism. (Sometimes, these can lead to evangelism. However, they often become a substitute for evangelism). Noise and repetition in music should not be allowed to replace Biblically rich hymns. Christians need to walk so that they will have a testimony and be anxious to share what God is doing in their lives. Well, you get the idea. Pray, do your part and wait expectantly on God. Blessings! Ron
If you haven't already done it, may I encourage you to scroll down and read the last two articles in preparation for today? Is the situation in His Church today hopeless? Maybe, not necessarily! Think with me. Remember the verse we concluded with yesterday? Do you recall what follows? "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, (brought to the boiling point) therefore, and repent." (Revelation 3:18-19). Let's establish a basic premise right here! George isn't going to do it! His Church isn't going to do it for you and me. We, as individual parts of His Body, are responsible to follow the leading of Him who is our head. You and I can be used to effect change. ( I hope to give some specifics on that tomorrow). If we accept our responsibility, it will impact the church. However, even if it didn't, we would be revived. It is unlikely that if we are revived that the Church won't be changed. Some might conclude, as I have, that we are in the Laodicean age. Nevertheless, these words of our Lord contain the promise of revival, if we repent, even in this age! One thing that has contributed to the decline of the Church is a lack of clear cut teaching on what it means to be converted. Spiritually dead people need to be saved, not revived. Selah! What can you do? Do you truly care? If so, pray that tomorrow's article will help those who care to take concrete action. Ron
It is very important to relate today's article to yesterday's. I can only give you my perspective, which is reasonably broad, and what I hear others say. Candidly, I do not think the church today, with some notable and wonderful exceptions, is well! Let's probe a little. In many churches, the Sunday Evening Service has vanished or been replaced with a too often anemic substitute. What is even more tragic is the discontinuing of Prayer Meeting and, in some instances, virtually all corporate prayer. Exciting testimonies are very infrequent, if not missing completely. Where is the passion to reach the "lost?" Where are the Bible Conferences? The Deeper Life Conferences? The Evangelistic Meetings? We have lost the vision for missions to a large extent. Entertainment has replaced worship in many churches. Programs have taken the place of preaching or have relegated it to "the back burner." Convicting messages have given way to too much self-serving content. We have become more interested in what the church can do for me instead of what am I to do and be for the Lord. Attendance and income are sometimes major goals, more than transformed lives. Public Scripture reading is allowed in monotone rather than rendered with excitement because it is so meaningful to the reader. We are taken up with toys, trinkets and having fun more than being "wrapped up" and thrilled with our blessed Lord. Where is prophetic preaching? When was the last time you heard a message on hell? Where is holiness called for and worldliness denounced? Something is wrong! Selah! I have given a very negative assessment. Can anything be done to reverse these trends? Do come back tomorrow! Ron
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked….." (Revelation 3:17). Us?