We may have a "homely mug" or we may be gifted with good looks or we may be somewhere in between. Let me ask you a question about how your "face" is perceived. I don't mean handsome versus homely. What I do mean is this: What do people think about you and me, by what they see on our faces? Do we reflect peace or do we have a worried or troubled look? Do we reflect joy or sadness (I'm not speaking of legitimate sadness, such as the death of a loved one causes)? Do we manifest confidence in our features or show uncertainty? What I'm getting at is that how we appear facially adds to or detracts from our credibility. I'm speaking particularly about born again Christians. I'm not suggesting pasting on a false smile or trying to fake a look of peace. I'm thinking of that which God does on the inside showing itself on our countenance and in our demeanor. Let me cite some Scriptural examples: Speaking of Stephen, Acts 6:15 says, "And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel." "And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone…." (From Exodus 34:35). John in Chapter 1, Verse 14 says, "….and we beheld His glory….' I suggest that this outward reflection of the inner work of God is only seen when we have spent quality time in His Presence. In the words of the chorus: "Let the Beauty of Jesus be Seen in Me (us)." Selah! Jesus was transfigured before His disciples. As He shines through us, just maybe others will catch a glimpse of His glory. Ron
Do you reason that until you know Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew you somehow lack what you need to really get a lot out of your Bible? To take a different tack, are you one of those who think you need to have and/or look at a lot of Bible versions other than the King James? Now, I have no problem with knowing the original languages or using tools to gain insights from these languages. I can even get some good out of other versions, if I give them no more credibility than a good commentary; sometimes not as much. I am not against learning and I value good books. However, after all is said and done, your KJV is enough. If you never have any other book, you are thoroughly equipped for Spiritual Life and growth with your KJV. For over three hundred years, God's Word has been preached, souls have been saved, Christians have been strengthened, missions have been undertaken and have reached multitudes, all with mostly the KJV. Many of these other aids were not available or were not in existence during much of that time, yet God's work was done with God's blessing. Many would not know how to use some of these tools and their whole help is the KJV. With that alone, they come to Christ, grow, mature, and finally arrive in Heaven. Avail yourself of any Spiritual resources that are available to you but never let them replace, equal, or overshadow your involvement in the KJV. Selah! An indispensable rule is to check everything against your KJV. If it is in agreement with your KJV, well and good. If not, don't waste time on it. The KJV is absolutely reliable and sufficient, if you never have any other aid. Ron
"For the Word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
Some lack courage. Others are weak and/or fearful. Still others just seem passive, the "who cares?" or "so what?" attitude. These folk are told they need to have a little "grit" or to stop being a spineless "wimp." They are challenged to stand on their own two feet and not let people walk all over them. Some people respond to this kind of advice, and sadly, others do not. Those who do respond start to get some "iron" in their wills. When we think of this problem in the spiritual realm, we must face the fact that the enemy is much stronger than our ability to fight back. We will always be spiritual weaklings or spiritually anemic unless…… Unless what? Unless we ask God to make us "to be strengthened with might by His (Holy) Spirit in the (our) inner man." (From Ephesians 3:16). This works out this way: we draw strength from God, by study of His Word, by His response to our prayers and to those prayers of others for us, and by giving quality time and the highest priority to the developing and sustaining of our walk with Him. Gradually, our trust in Him grows, He puts some 'iron' in our wills, and we stop being intimidated by the enemy of our souls. With divinely strengthened determination, we say no to "feelings," yes to obedience, and resist the devil (God's way). We refuse to give the "flesh" breathing space. We smother its every attempt to take root and we do this by choking off its oxygen supply by occupying our minds with a focus on God and on pleasing Him. Selah! We will never know lasting victory over sinning as long as we govern our behavior by how we think, based on how we "feel." We must instead exercise our God-strengthened wills, regardless of how we "feel." Ron
"….quit you like men, be strong." (From I Corinthians 16:13).
"….be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.'" (From Ephesians 6:10).
"Nature abhors a vacuum." This axiom is true spiritually. We were created to bring pleasure to God (See article for 1/26/11). Worship gives God pleasure. It gives Him pleasure because it meets a great need in our hearts. We have a God shaped vacuum inside us that only God can fill. We often fill it with things offensive to God. If this is our experience, we are substituting self interest for His purpose in our lives. Only He can satisfy our deepest needs. How can we give Him the place in us that He paid dearly for and deserves? There is a paradoxical spiritual principle involved here. We reduce in order to magnify! Allowing that some self interest is legitimate (for example: doing what we can to avoid danger, such as not putting our hand on a hot stove), most self interest is the gratification of our self life with things that grieve God, "….the lust (intense craving) of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…." (From I John 2:16). These are truly idols. These must give way to God's will because He will not bless a life that is damaged by these idols. He desires to rule in us and when we yield to his control, He fills that inner need that no substitute can ever do. So, we must let God's Word, in the capable hands of God's Spirit, "break down every idol, cast out every foe" (Nicholson) and then God is free to progressively conform us to the likeness of His dear Son. (See Romans 8:29). In this sanctifying experience is realized the satisfying of our deepest longings. We sacrifice the will of the flesh, in favor of the will of the Father and in losing nothing that is Spiritually helpful, we gain everything that truly matters. Selah! As self dies out and is evicted from our hearts, God's richness moves in to occupy the territory that was held by the enemy. Ron
"The dearest idol, I have known, whate'er that idol be, help me tear it from Thy throne and worship only Thee. " (William Cowper)
"He must increase, but I must decrease" (John, the Baptist, in John 3:30).
Do we really understand worship or do we only give "lip service" to a concept? If only a concept, whose concept? We speak of church auditoriums as "worship centers." There may be some justification for that but it is only accurate in a limited sense. Our worship must center upon Him! We no longer go to a temple at Jerusalem or in Samaria or any place else. We, who are His, are the temple! Worship must start within us. However, worship cannot be self-generated. We don't worship without a source of inspiration. We worship when our whole being is caught up in the wonder of the sense of His Presence. Yet, where do we find this Presence that can so fill us with wonder and admiration and gratitude as to build within us and erupt in spontaneous expression? The places where we will interact with the object and source of our worship are in the Word of God and in prayer. When our hearts are thrilled with the wonder of His Person and our love is set on fire by the marvel of His love and grace, we can and will worship "in spirit and in Truth." Strictly speaking, we don't go to "church," as a "place to worship." We, who are the church, gather with the rest of the family, and our worship, which has been going on daily and privately, now combines with that of our brothers and sisters in corporate overflow to His honor and glory. Now, to genuinely worship, at least two things must happen. First, all known sin must be confessed. We must be forgiven and cleansed (I John 1:9). Secondly, there must be a (continuous) purging of self and God's fulness must occupy each area, as each area is purged. Selah! The more self is crucified, the more of Himself, in the Word and prayer, will He reveal to us. The more He does, the more worship will well up in a great doxology of praise! Ron
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and in Truth" (John 4:24).
"….Thy Word is Truth." (From John 17:17).
Note: A book by A. W. Tozer started me thinking on this subject. This is a look at something that "saved" people may realize in a hazy, abstract way, but fail to grasp in its great significance.
What is it? Why were we created? What is our number one purpose in being given existence? The things we have thought on for the last four days are part of our existence. They are not the reason for it. They are needful for humanity. Nevertheless, they are incidental to our reason for being born. Some will assume the answer to be our need for a relationship with God. However, there is something greater that comes first. What is it? God has told us in Revelation 4:11: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." For God's pleasure, we were created. How does God derive pleasure from our lives? First, among other things, He desires our admiration, appreciation, and praise. Why? Remember, He desires it; He doesn't need it. It is not to feed His ego: it is "the best good" for us to focus on His holiness, purity, and perfection. What fills our sub-conscious gradually bears fruit in our conscious life. Next, He desires our worship. This brings us outside ourselves and fastens our minds on others. He is the supreme Other One! How do we worship? We can't unless we have entered into relationship with Him. Once we have, our gratitude moves us to obedience. Obedience is the best proof of our love for Him. He loves His children unconditionally. His love, the greatest love ever expressed, Calvary love, fills our hearts and lives with love for such a God as ours. So, while God derives pleasure from our existence, we benefit immensely from giving Him pleasure. Selah! The greatest offense of all, is spurning God's love. How can a human being turn his back on such wondrous love, as that infinitely costly sacrifice that God in love made for us, by giving His Son to salvage a rebellious, fallen race? To do so is to eternally regret such a choice. Ron