It is certainly true that one of the most popular virtues of our modern culture is "fast." Many parts of the world seem to be obsessed with speed. Instant gratification and getting things done quickly have effectively replaced "best" with "fast."
The "fast" craze, however, is getting us nowhere—fast. In his book, In Praise of Slowness, author Carl Honoré says, "The time has come to challenge our obsession with doing everything more quickly." According to the Bible, he's right. Peter warned that in the last days people would doubt God because it seems He is slow ("slack") in fulfilling His promise to return. A dear friend of mine and I were having this very conversation the other day. He had difficulty understanding why, with so much bad happening in the world today, why God doesn't just step in and say, "Enough!" Peter pointed out, however, this seeming slowness is a good thing. God is actually demonstrating His patience by giving people more time to repent (2 Peter 3:9), and also being true to His character, as in patient or slow to anger (Ex. 34:6). We too must be slow to become angry—and slow to speak (James 1:19). According to James, "quickness" is reserved for our ears. Were supposed to be quick to listen. Think how much trouble we could avoid if we just listen, really listen, not just stop talking, before we speak. In our rush to meet goals and deadlines, let's remember to speed up our listening and to slow down our tempers and our tongues. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do it! When you're tempted to lose patience with another, think how patient God has been with you. (Source Unknown)
"But the Heavens and the earth which are now, by the same Word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, but, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Why doesn't God speak today, some ask. Who says that He doesn't? Not all speaking is to the ears. In fact, Jesus called attention to those who have ears and still do not hear. Things that we say with our voices can be misunderstood, forgotten or distorted. God knew that so He chose to speak in recorded form. How does He communicate? "God …..hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…." (From Hebrews 1:1-2). God supplied us with a record that extends all the way from creation to Christ (God even includes a few glimpses into eternity past). When we come to the four gospel accounts, Jesus speaks, teaches, commands, warns, comforts, challenges, etc. God, in His Word the Bible, continues with information for His Church, for living and even about eternity future. That which is simply said can be denied later on and there is often no way to prove what was said. It can also be misquoted. Even if recorded on tape, tapes can break, be lost, edited, or destroyed. However, in printed (or written) form with millions of copies, what is said to us can be checked out, our memories refreshed, and God's Truth can be confirmed. We can study and restudy what is recorded. The Bible impacts the regenerate mind more than any other book(s) can, because the Holy Spirit makes God's message to us, who belong to Him, pulsate with life. The Scriptures are indeed, "God breathed!" Selah! If we are serious with our Savior, we hear God's voice in our hearts and minds with no question as to Who is speaking to us. Ron
"……Did not our heart burn within us,…..while He opened to us the Scriptures?" (From Luke 24:32). The Holy Spirit waits to set your heart on fire with the thrill of God's Word!
Let me lay out what I fear is an altogether too likely scenario. "Sacred" (I hope it is) Sunday rolls around: morning church attendance, maybe evening, sing hymns, pray, Scripture reading, listen to message, visit briefly, and go home. Then comes Monday! The emphasis shifts to family, chores, work, entertainment, rest, recreation, friends, etc. Maybe a "God" break, if your church has prayer meeting and/or a Bible Study. Let me ask you some questions. In a normal week, where does God fit in? Do you seek daily guidance? Is there a time each day to enjoy His Presence, in prayer and Bible study? Are you engaged in reading books and playing tapes that move you spiritually? Do you have fellowship with friends that love the Lord? Do you have times of good Christian discussions? Is it possible that God is relegated to the "back burner" until the next "sacred" Sunday? In short, do we function in two separate worlds: a Sunday world and a weekdays world? Do we step out of one world on Sunday into another world on Monday? If so, isn't it time that we merge these two worlds into one where He is the focus of our lives daily? Isn't Jesus the foundation and center of all of our living? Life only has meaning and purpose when it is lived in harmony with Him and we are motivated to honor and glorify Him! With Him as our witness, can we honestly say, "For to me to live is Christ…?" (From Philippians 1:21). Selah! God grant that we might learn to love and enjoy Him as Paul did! Ron
Oh, that we might have a heart like Paul's! Remember his response when they tried to persuade him not to go to Jerusalem: "….For I am ready…to die….for the name of the Lord Jesus." (From Acts 21:13). Let's learn to love Jesus like that!
"Help me to live each day, Lord, with eternity's values in view." (Source unknown).
If you were to write down a number on the ground and then begin adding zeros to that number until you had circled the earth one million times, you wouldn't even have begun on eternity. If a bird were to take one grain of sand at a time, from earth to Mars until all of earth was added to Mars, and then take one grain of sand at a time, back to earth until all the earth and all of Mars was now on earth, it wouldn't have touched the edge of eternity. Why? No boundaries! No end! No limit! God exists in eternity. Time exists within eternity. In eternity, there is no past, present and future. Eternity is! No ending! God's Love is timeless, limitless! We will spend eternity with God or separated from Him. Your friends, family and all mankind will do the same. Heaven and God's love with no limits, or Hell with no God and no love, in never ending torment, is determined by one's choice in his or her lifetime. That choice is to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord or to refuse Him. You have no guarantee of one additional breath in which to decide. You may have a long time or one moment from now in which you can settle your eternal destiny. "….behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation…." (From II Corinthians 6:2). If anyone refuses God's love and God's gift of salvation, that person chooses Hell. God only confirms his or her choice. Selah! Where we will spend all eternity hinges on what we choose to do while we are able to do it! Ron
"He that believeth on the Son (trusts Him and acts on what He says) hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
I remember being in a very dense fog. There were things all around me but I couldn't see much of anything, except very hazily. I suspect this is true, in the Spiritual realm, for many Christians. We see Spiritual things in an intellectual fog or an emotional fog but fail to grasp them in full reality. Having learned many Truths from God's Word as a Bible story or a doctrine to understand and to defend, we fail to take the additional step of grasping the full reality of what we learned. For example: we learn of a worldwide flood but can we internalize the reality of multitudes climbing to higher ground in gut wrenching fear only to feel the waters creeping up over them, knowing they were going to drown. Even worse is to be able to have a very personal relationship with Jesus and yet only think of Him as a doctrine or Bible story and fail to relate to Him as a Person and as our God. Do we substitute church activity and responsibilities for a deep and developing awareness of our wonderful Savior? Do we sing hymns and appreciate the beauty of the words and music but never experience much of what the hymnwriters were describing? Let's move into the sunshine of a dynamic personal involvement with our Lord. Selah! Don't just go through the motions. Don't settle for anything less than a loving fellowship with Jesus. Ron
"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 11:15).
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." (From Luke 10:25) Do we? If so, let's enjoy the thrill of His Presence!
We have often heard this saying: "All good things come to an end." However, that is not quite true. Some good things never end. Life, once begun, never ends. Physical life on earth ends but Spiritual life goes on forever. Since people are born Spiritually dead, the only way to enjoy eternity (living forever) is to be born from above. Life (Resurrection Life) is imparted to us at the moment of rebirth. With that new Life, we live with Him for the remainder of our time on earth and then are taken to Heaven, outside the constraints of time, to "ever be with the Lord." (From I Thessalonians 4:17). But what about the ones who never receive this new Life? Do they cease to exist? No! Even though they are dead Spiritually, they function in physical form. What animates them? They exist on their "soul" level. When the body they inhabit on earth dies, they continue to exist on their "soul" level. They, too, are moved beyond the realm of time to exist forever in "the lake of fire." (From Revelation 20:15). Since they are Spiritually dead, unless they receive His Life, they couldn't be joined to Him because He Who lives forever could not incorporate death into His Life. In the next few days, we want to examine some issues that have a bearing on what we have been looking at in this article. We hope that you will join us in the investigation. Selah! Since only Heaven or Hell is our ultimate destiny, we need to receive Life, while we can, and encourage others to choose Life while they can. Failure to receive Life leaves us with a very bad thing that will never end! Ron
"He that hath the Son hath Life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not (His Spiritual) Life" (I John 5:12). Do you have only "soul" life in your human body or have you received His Life? If you need help with this, E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org Ron
Feeding is an essential need for all true Christians. It is a double responsibility. We are to feed and to be fed. Peter instructs in his first letter to "Feed the flock of God which is among you…." (From I Peter 5:2). This is a lesson that Jesus enjoined upon Peter shortly before His ascension. Three times in Chapter 21: 15-17 of John's Gospel, Peter is admonished to fulfill his obligation to feed the flock. While this is a primary duty of Pastors, there is application for all the redeemed. The Bible is milk and meat, Spiritually speaking. We are to share Bible truth and teaching with other believers. When we do, we feed them. Some of those you feed can only handle milk (I Corinthians 3:2). Gradually move them from milk to meat, Spiritually. Be sure you have moved or are moving to meat yourself. We are all engaged in some kind of feeding. What are we feeding on? Hosea 12:1 mentions feeding on wind. This can include things like books, tapes, CD's, DVD's, TV, entertainment, sports, etc. When these things are wholesome and helpful Spiritually, they can help you grow. When they obstruct or distract from Spiritual growth, they are like wind, no nourishment! When we come to Jesus, we start with milk but we don't stop with milk. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby, (I Peter 2:2) Selah! Be aware of the contaminated meat of the world. Don't waste time and damage your Spiritual health with the polluted air emanating from this world's worthless value system. Develop a strong appetite for rich Spiritual meat. Find it in the Scriptures and sink your teeth into it "nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine…." (From I Timothy 4:6). Ron