Three Ways to Look at the World-The First Way

First, There is the world that you and I live in. The only way out of this world is death (or, if you are saved, it might be by the Rapture). It is where we function for as long as we are here. It is a fallen world that Satan has a limited control over and one on which he exerts considerable influence. It is governed, with some wonderful exceptions, by those who have a secular-humanistic worldview. This view operates on men’s ideas and beliefs (views and beliefs that largely originate in Satan’s mind). God is almost never considered in their decisions. Mankind is in rebellion against God, His principles and His will. All human activity can be summed up in the words of a popular song from awhile back: “I did it my way.” Christians cannot take over this world and run it. Only God, acting through the Lord Jesus Christ, can do this and eventually will. Meanwhile, what is the role of those of us who are truly saved? Basically, it is to be like salt and light. Salt has a healing effect. God can and does heal lives by working in and through us. Salt has a preserving effect. It wards off decay. In other words, God uses us to retard spiritual and moral decay. Light gives people the ability to see. In a Spiritual application, it gives understanding of God’s Truth as revealed in His word, the Bible. We are to be the channels through which the salt and light touches other lives. More people than we might think will turn from this world’s control to the Lordship of Christ. Selah! If our saltiness has lost its flavor or our light has been obscured, any impact on this world and on unsaved people will be minimal, at best. Ron

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.” (From Philippians 2:14-16).

Seeing the Invisible

Blind, indeed, are the eyes that can only see the visible! The visible is fleeting; the invisible things of God last. There is such scepticism today. “I’m from Missouri, show me.” “Seeing is believing.” “If I can’t see it, I don’t believe it.” Heaven is invisible. God is invisible. Love is invisible. Our own inner being is invisible. To limit our vision to only what can be experienced by our five senses, leaves us spiritually poverty stricken. When we have Spiritual enlightenment, we see Jesus with the eyes of faith. By the same means, we can personally appropriate God’s many blessings. The Spiritual Truths in the Bible become more real than anything we can touch, taste, smell, see or hear. The world to come is more real than the one that we presently inhabit. The Spiritual realities change us internally. We see the need of receiving salvation. When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit, Who is invisible, performs a Spiritual (invisible) miracle of imparting Spiritual life and understanding into our lives. Our values, morals, attitudes, behavior and our motivation undergo profound changes. Some change slowly, others more rapidly, but all who are truly converted do change. Instead of demanding proof, we discover that: “….faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (From Hebrews 11:1). “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Blessed, Jesus said, are those who have eyes to see (i.e; Spiritual realities). Selah! One day, faith will give way to actual sight of the eternal. Meanwhile, let’s follow in the footsteps of Moses who, “…. endured, as seeing Him who is invisible .” (From Hebrews 11:27). Ron

An Interesting Comparison

If we enlisted in the military and were accepted, we have voluntarily placed ourselves under a higher authority. We may enjoy being in the armed forces and enter into it wholeheartedly or we may regret “signing up” and having made a hasty decision. However, once we are in, there’s no backing out. Exceptions and discharges are rare. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we place ourselves (forever) under His authority. Being under military authority and being under Jesus’ authority is very different. Military authority is imposed from the outside. It may or may not be willingly accepted internally. Willing acceptance of God’s authority springs from the new nature given to us at the moment of the new birth. A child of God wants to be led by the Holy Spirit. Why, then, do we respond more quickly to military authority than to our Spiritual authority? We have a fear of consequences, if we disobey a ranking officer. We respond to Jesus’ commands out of love for Him. Does that mean that fear of man is a greater motivator than love for the One Who died for us? I suggest that a major reason for our lack of motivating love is because we “feel” the reality of the military leadership, up front and personal. However, have we spent enough time to sense a Presence that we have far more reason to obey? Being casual about military service could get us killed. Being casual about His service might be an indication that we are not saved.The very least that it means is that there will be great shame and regret for not giving our all for Him, who gave His all for us. Selah! Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (II Timothy 2:3-4). Let’s submit to His discipline, out of genuine love for Him. That’s the bottom line of discipleship.       Ron    

The Supreme Object of Thought

Do we, who claim to love God, regularly think on Him? Do we think on His attributes? A good concordance will list many Scriptures that speak of God. Taking a few of them each day and learning more and more about Him will repay the effort many times over. We become like what we think upon. As our minds and hearts gaze in wonder on this awesome Person, we begin to see His character being formed in us. This mighty God, this gracious and merciful God, loves us! No greater spiritual exercise is available to us than to think on Him. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” The fear of the Lordis the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). (A.W Tozer’s book “The Knowledge of the Holy” is a very good supplemental help). Keep in mind that we are born with a fallen nature that resists God. We must saturate our “inner man” with God’s Truth. This is how we become Spiritually minded which, in turn, is life and peace. Consider Romans 8:6, which tells us that, “…. to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” The carnal mind (reasoning apart from the mind of God) is indeed a dead end. Scripture furnishes us with a vast amount of knowledge about God. Our part is to take it beyond an intellectual appropriation and make it real in our beings, prompting love, gratitude and obedience. Selah! This great and wonderful Godwants to fill our inner being with His glorious Presence. Let’s welcome Him in and gaze with rapt attention, as He reveals more and more of Himself to us.       Ron

What’s Happened to Thinking?

Computers, TV’s, Videos, etc. have really been useful inventions. However, they have a downside. Things have come to a sad pass, when we are content to let machines think for us. How many young people could make change if they didn’t have a modern cash register tell them what it should be? Has texting diminished our ability to spell? Have movies given us an addiction to being entertained? Is what we think about that which the media injects into our minds, without any critical analysis on our part? If the TV or radio says it’s so, it must be so. Oh, no! Substituting TV, DVD’s, etc. is so much easier than reading and study. It requires little effort compared to reading. Consequently, our imaginations tend to wither on the vine. If someone we trust tells us something, it’s easier to accept it as true. However, he or she can be mistaken. Do we challenge their conclusions, at least in our own minds? Are they right? How can I be sure? In what ways might they be wrong? Do we discuss things with people on both sides of an issue? Does input being aimed at us square with God’s Word or is it at odds with Scripture? Do we ever debate someone who seems to have bought into wrong things? I’m afraid too many minds have become sluggish and lazy. I seldom hear of critical thinking being taught in our schools today. There are a lot of educators who only parrot what they have been told, without thinking for themselves, and the tragedy is compounded when they pass it on to their students. Christians must discipline themselves to thoughtfully develop a Biblical worldview and be able to courteously and ably refute wrong thinking. Let’s get our minds out of the easy chair and start some serious mental exercise. Selah! “….whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (From Philippians 4:8). “….be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (From Romans 12:2).      Ron

A Serious Approach to Bible Study

Those who are born again and take their responsibility for discipleship seriously need to do more than just kind of scan a portion of the Bible. I’m afraid that more than a few run through a dozen or so verses and that’s the end of it. There is not much thought and little, if any, in depth study. One who claims Jesus as his or her Savior and Lord should purchase or borrow some basic tools. Among these would be a good “down to earth” commentary by someone that God has really used, a Bible Dictionary, a book on basic Christian doctrine, and a good concordance. These are minimal tools. There are a number of other good tools in addition to these. Good quality Christion fiction is useful. This gives some ideas on how God’s Truth might be lived out in our lives. Caution: No tools are to be used in place of the Bible but are to help you to mine the treasures in Scripture. As you start to really study, ask yourself some important questions. What does this passage tell me; what have I learned from it? Do I know if I have a true understanding of the portion? Is it in harmony with the rest of God’s Word? How am I to apply it in my life? Another means of internalizing Scripture is to discuss a passage with a Godly friend. This should not be an excuse for neglecting your own personal study. The bottom line is that study of God’s Word is absolutely indispensable for any genuine Christian! Selah! Studying and applying God’s Wordis a matter of obedience and a desire to learn. Failure to study is disobedience and Spiritually costly. Ron

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).

False Security

Today, I heard it again. A woman in my Bible Study mentioned someone who claimed to be saved and yet was sinning. He admitted sinning but said that he was eternally secure. This is a prime example of false security. Yes, it is true that Christians sin but if they are genuinely saved they don’t keep on. They certainly don’t use “security” as an excuse to keep on sinning. A true Christian doesn’t want to get away with sin! When we fail and fall into sin, God uses conviction, chastisement and correction to bring us back in line. Sometimes, it takes awhile for a believer to come around and confess his or her sin(s). But, if they are genuinely saved, they will confess and turn from their sin(s). In extreme cases, God may have to use drastic measures to bring His children to their senses. If there is no change in a professing Christian’s lifestyle, he or she may have not had a true Spiritual conversion. No one, naming the Name of Christ and persisting in sinning, can assume that he or she is saved. The basic drift in a true Christian’s life is to live Godly and become more and more free from that which is sin. If one doesn’t have a heart for God and holy living, he should question the validity of his profession of faith. It would be a horrible shock to awaken on Judgment Day to the realization that he or she has been relying on a false security. Selah! Too many so called conversions appear to be only intellectual ones. This is a sad commentary on giving someone a false assurance ,by failing to explain thoroughly the implications of what receiving Christ means, and His claims on our lives.    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).

How Intense is Our Craving?

Lust is intense desire. It can be an intense desire for something good or something evil. If we lust enough, we usually end up being, doing or acquiring that for which we lust. Isn't it strange that we lust far more for things that are not good than for things that are good? Actually, it is not strange at all. We are born with Adam's fallen nature dominating our lives. We naturally seek many things that have no lasting value and/or that can damage us in this life and the one to come. If we long for our lives to be good, we do it because we want respect, we want to be thought of as moral and decent and we are afraid of the consequences of doing or being wrong. The real tragedy is that we don't naturally seek after or crave God. Paul pointed this out in Romans 3:11. He says, under inspiration, for them and us, "…. there is none that seeketh after God." An even far greater tragedy is when those who profess to know Him, in a saving relationship, have no real craving for Him, Himself. We want His blessings, His help and His approval but do we crave to know Him and fellowship with Him on an intimate level? In all honesty, how great is our intense desire to bask in the joy of spending quality time in His Presence? Let's let His revealing of Himself in the Bible bring about a craving for Him that would motivate us to cry out like the psalmist in Psalms 42:1-2, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" Selah! "And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." What a promise! Are we famished for God?     Ron

A Personal Relationship?

Obviously, there are different types and levels of relationships. For example, I may have a business relationship with someone. It could be an "I like you" relationship or "I not only do business with you but I consider you to be a real friend." I may have a personal (but only casual) relationship with a friend or a close relationship with a very special friend. What about a relationship with God? This can be very casual: "I believe there is a God. So what?" It might be intellectual: "It only makes sense to believe in God." It might be emotional: "I love God." That may simply mean that I have a good "feeling" about God. Whatever relationships we might have, there is one that transcends all other relationships. We can have a personal relationship with Almighty God! Think of it! We can be a friend of God! We can enjoy a real, personal, deep, wonderful, relationship with Him. Wait, it gets even more amazing. We can have a Father/child relationship with the Heavenly Father. Imagine the most wonderful relationship between a loving and wise father on earth and his dearly loved children. That is special! However, it pales limitlessly in comparison with the relationship between God and His children. How can anyone fail to seize the opportunity for that kind of relationship? Most don't give much thought to it. Others seek it on their terms. God, however, offers it only on His terms. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). He is a Father who loves us with a love infinitely beyond any love that exists. He is to be honored, highly valued, appreciated and obeyed and we are to be guided by Him. Do you have this kind of relationship? Selah! I John 3:1a exclaims "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (or children) of God."      Ron

Cure for “Laodiceania”-Part Two

First, I would like to look at what the church can do to reduce or eliminate this malady. Then, I want to look at this subject from the standpoint of the individual. For whatever reasons, many churches have assumed that salvation is experienced by simply agreeing with some basic facts. It may be a fear of scaring a potential convert away. It may be a fear of compromising the doctrine of grace. It could be our fascination with results. It may be that many of us are victims of faulty teaching. Whatever the cause, it's long past the time to remedy this situation. The whole tenor of the teaching about salvation is that there are changes in the lives of those who come to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Implicit in the concept of believing is that it is a belief that alters the life. We turn from sin and repent. We turn to God for deliverance from sin(s). We leave the broad way to walk in paths of righteousness. We are rescued from the consequences of sin and now desire to live Godly. Essentially, we trust Him with the running of our lives and we desire and learn to obey. If a church or an individual is working with a seeker, honesty dictates that we explain these things. If some turn away because they are not ready to make a full surrender of their lives to God's control, let them go. Remind them of the danger of holding back. Pray for the Holy Spirit's continued working in their hearts and minds. Now, if anyone reading this assumes that he or she is saved but hasn't surrendered to God's control, you have probably not had a true Spiritual conversion. Read carefully the above and yield to Him, as your Savior and Lord. Now is the only time you are guaranteed that you can be saved. You may or may not have another opportunity. (II Corinthians 6:2b). Selah! "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (II Corinthians 13:5).       Ron