Do I Really Care?

There is a sense in which all true Christians care about seeing people saved. In fact, there is almost always (if not always) joy when someone comes to Jesus. However, too many of us have been lulled into complacency. "What can I do?" "They won't listen." "They will just mock or ridicule or get irritated or angry." "They will drop me as a friend." "What if I can't answer their questions?" We think on these things and sub-consciously avoid "rocking the boat." There are some of us who would reach out to the lost. However, other things get in the way. "I'm too busy to get into a conversation right now." "I don't really know how to turn our talk in that direction. I don't want to be 'preachy'." "They are content with their religion. If I say anything they might think that I am putting their religion down." "I'll just live the life and see if they ask me why I am different." (Yes, sometimes that works). How can we break out of that syndrome? First, a realization of how awful Hell is. Next, prayer for their salvation (heartfelt prayer). Then, prayer for the Holy Spirit's working in us and through us and then His working on them. After that, gaining some understanding of how we can reach out and what we might say (still depending on the Holy Spirit). Finally, a strategy for sharing the Gospel (without depending on the strategy). Selah! When we have determined that we will prepare ourselves and actually begin to evangelize, we might start with tracts. Check them for how appropriate they are for each one we share with and how appropriate they are for that occasion. (For example: a patriotic tract for Memorial Day). Caution: Start with tracts and then move on to engaging someone in conversation. (Keep depending on the Holy Spirit). When these things are done, make a note of how many tracts you have given out and try to increase this activity. Keep track of the people that you talked with and pray for God to open their understanding and draw them to Himself. Look for more opportunities to discuss with people. Make witnessing a priority.    Ron
 
"Go…into…the world…preach (not in the formal or official sense, unless you are called into the ministry) the gospel." (i.e; witness to and present the Truth of salvation in Christ to others). (From Mark 16:15).
 
"Ye shall be witnesses unto Me." (From Acts 1:8).

Special Times with God

Have you ever really thought just what a special time that being alone with God is for us? That God would invite us and instruct us to come into His Presence is astonishing. That He would listen to us carefully, that is even more amazing!  I suspect that the majority of His children haven't gone beyond the duty phase of prayer and listening to God in His Word. The joy of being in His Presence comes after we move from the duty syndrome to the delight of conversing with God. Let me share some thoughts on how we can know that we have done that. Early in our Christian life, we spend a few minutes running through a list (in our heads or written down) of things that we will to say to God and ask Him for. After we tell Him, we read the Bible for ten or fifteen minutes. After that there is a few minutes of good "feelings" that we got that done. As we mature Spiritually and as we grasp the wonder that Almighty God wants to hear all that we have to say, prayer takes on new life. We discover the wonderful reality that God really wants us to have a discussion with Him. Of course, when we begin to know that He truly loves us, we learn that we can be free and open with Him and we begin to want to express our love and gratitude for all of His love and help and for His greatness. As this progresses, it gradually dawns on us that He wants to converse with us and He has some tremendous things to share with us that will make a profound impact on our lives. Have we come to the point that we are anxious to visit with Him and enjoy the interchange between us. Thinking about what He has told us and knowing what an improvement it has made in our lives, we are excited about new things that He has to tell us. As other believers tell us in books, on tapes, by radio or TV, and/or in person about how much He means to them and what he has taught them, we are thrilled to have such a "Friend."Selah! We have gained ground in our Christian lives when we are eager for our next visit with Him and when we marvel at what we have learned from and about Him and when we are excited to tell our brothers and sisters about how glorious that He is.    Ron
 
"Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).

Progress in Loving

How can we tell if our love for the Lord is increasing? Here are some guidelines. 1). Do I have a hearty appetite for His Word? "O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97). It is here that I discover more of His greatness and goodness and my heart wells up in praise and gratitude. He and His splendor are revealed more and more in the Bible. 2). Have I a stronger desire to be alone with Him? Has prayer become more delight and less responsibility? "….In Thy presence is fulness of joy…." (From Psalm 16:11). 3). Am I excited enough about Him that I find that I am spontaneously giving testimony out loud to folk with whom I have a chance to talk? "I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue" (Psalm 66:17). 4). Because He comes to mean more to me each day, do I find myself longing for others to know Him in all His wonder and grace? "Oh! that men would praise the Lord for His goodness…." (From Psalm 107:21). "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Selah! These four things experienced are strong indications of a growing love for Him. Give yourself (if you are not already doing these) to the pursuit of Him who is worthy of our ever deepening love.    Ron

Measuring Progress in Discipleship

We need to regularly step back, get off alone and reflect on how we are progressing in our experience of discipleship. Recognizing that God, the Holy Spirit, is the One doing the disciple-ing, we are responsible to co-operate with Him. Here are some questions that will help us assess how well we are following His leadership. These are searching questions for all of us. However, they should show our progress and areas that we need to work on. (It might be helpful to keep these questions for periodic check-ups, even if they cause some shame for any neglect on our part).
 
 1). Thinking about it, do I love the Lord more than in the past (or than the last time I did this exercise)?
 
 2). Am I more faithful, the same, or less faithful in my personal quiet time?
 
 3). Do I have a growing (increasing) concern for those that are unsaved?
 
 4). Do I have a growing (an increasing) desire to see Christians make Spiritual progress?
 
 5). Have I been faithful in giving (willingly and joyously) tithes and offerings?
 
 6). Am I becoming more involved in world missions?
 
 7). Do I have a plan (and am I carrying it out) for applying what I learn from God's Word?
 
 8). Am I giving quality time to helping and attending my local church?
 
 9). Do I have an area of ministry in which I am serving?
 
10). Do I truly worship?
 
11). Am I doing supplemental reading by true, mature people of God to gain more understanding of the Word?
 
 Selah! Use this guide as a work plan to give direction on how to deepen our relationship with our wonderful Lord.    Ron
 
 "But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen" (II Peter 3:18). 

Weeding Error from the Garden of Truth

We have been examining worldviews. We have pointed out that we were born with the wrong worldview. For all who are born again, the process of renewing the mind (developing a Biblical worldview) starts at the moment of conversion and continues throughout our journey of life. The Bible in the hands of the Holy Spirit is the means of renewal. The secular worldview has been promoted and fostered by many entities (such as the media, education, entertainment, etc.). One source of such a worldview is our family. This is because unsaved family members know no other worldview. Add to that that saved family members are often unaware of how much they have been victims of a secular mindset and/or they have only begun the process of mind renewal by exposure to God's Word. How can a new or recent believer know what is of the new way of thinking and what is the old way? How  do we pull the weeds of a secular worldview from the garden of God's Truth? Keeping in mind that there is basic knowledge that works regardless of either worldview, such as 1+ 1= 2 or how to do carpentry or proper English, how do we know that we are thinking God's way? First and foremost, study and application of Scripture removes wrong thinking and replaces that kind of thinking with God's Truth. There are, however, some helpful questions. 1). Do my thoughts glorify and please God? 2). Do I think on God and His love and plan for the world? 3). Will my attitudes, values, and actions help some to come to God or hinder them? 4). Am I able to bring Scriptural principles to bear on life's problems and questions? Selah! Use God's Word more and more and use questions like these to see if your new worldview is gaining ground in your walk with Him.  Ron
 
"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteh itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:4-5).

Why Do You Think That?

When did you adopt a secular worldview? Why do you think the way that you think? Why didn't you adopt a Biblical worldview? The answer? You didn't adopt any worldview. You were born with the "secular" one. Unless you have been saved, that worldview is the only one that you have. When one is born again, the "seeds" of a biblical worldview have been implanted. We need to water and care for the growth of that "seed." What about the old worldview? It's still there!  It has to be laid on the altar of complete surrender. It is a mindset that is not acceptable to God. It must be put to death. However, it savagely fights to survive. It does not die easily. There is only one way to overcome it. The Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit is the means of suffocating the old carnal worldview. As the Word of God takes over the mind, it occupies the space once owned by the old mindset. As more and more space is claimed by Scripture, less and less space is left for the old thinking to maintain its hold on us and it slowly dies. This is the renewing of the mind spoken of in Romans 12:2. This requires an ongoing discipline in us who know Him. We must have generous daily doses of Biblical meditation. Study is a priority, but a word of caution is needed about this. Study without the illumination of the Holy Spirit is sterile. Ask Him to give you light (understanding). (See Psalm 119:130). This kind of engagement with God brings about true knowledge and wisdom. This is (Spiritual) life. Jesus said, "….the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (From John 6:63). Selah! What is legitimate education versus worldly indoctrination? I hope to address that tomorrow, God willing.    Ron
 
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).
 

Death in the Roots

Education is an all-encompassing word. It includes a great deal of teaching that is faulty at its foundation. Philosophy that is Godless can lead one to believe that which leads away from God and toward Hell. One usually spends a small fortune to further his or her education. Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). Why wouldn't someone spending that amount of money assume that he or she would receive a sound education? Yet, most times they trustingly imbibe all the Godless thinking and values that their professor took from his or her teachers who in turn may have taken the same thing from theirs. It goes back in recent history to those who embraced teaching that is contrary to Scripture. (For example, evolution from one species to another has been assumed to be true and has been used to justify much evil behavior). If the professor teaches it, he or she ought to know, right? Wrong!! It actually goes all the way back to Eve, who was persuaded to believe a lie instead of what God said. What we are obviously talking about is two different worldviews. One is what God has to say and the other is what man decides to believe. One of the most foolish lies that men choose to believe is that there is no God. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…." (From Psalm 14:1). Incidentally, I'm not calling anyone a fool but God has defined a fool as anyone who doesn't believe in Him. Now why should one have a Biblical worldview rather than a secular worldview? The simplest answer is to look at the fruit of both worldviews. A secular worldview caters to and even encourages man's sinful nature. A Biblical worldview in a born again person results in wholesome and unselfish behavior. Selah! Ultimately, the secular view will be ended forever while the Biblical view will endlessly bless all of the redeemed in the eternal kingdom of God.   Ron
 
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).