Activated Truth

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A. W. Tozer prompted the thoughts for today’s article. Truth is wonderful and essential. However, it is of no value until it is activated. When Jesus, in John 14:6 said, “I am….the Truth,…,” He was not suggesting that He was only the One Who knew all Truth. He said, “….ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (From John 8:32). Receiving the Truth means receiving Him Who is the Truth into your being. All the truths in the world are only knowledge until activated. Truth internalized is Truth acted upon and this kind of Truth has results. It is true that a plane can take me from the United States to England. Nevertheless, until I get on that plane, it doesn’t take me anywhere. Jesus is Savior and Lord! That is Truth! However, it needs to be made experiential in my life to be of use to me. God’s Word is full of all Truth. When activated, it has results in my life. For example, If I use God’s true principles of righteous behavior, my life will be a blessing to myself and to others. If not implemented, I will reap what I sow. I can know that salvation is found in Jesus. That is true. I act upon that Truth and am saved; if I don’t, I continue lost. No matter what I decide, the Truth is the same. Still, it doesn’t change me until I act on it. This is why Paul wrote to the church at Rome, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness….” (From Romans 10:10). Selah! When we really believe the Truth, our hearts will move us to act upon it. When we really believe Him Who is the Truth, we will surrender ourselves to Him as Lord and Savior.    Ron

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Responding to the Enemy

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One successful tactic of an enemy is to try to infiltrate our military and appear as one of us. In the Christian’s warfare, the enemy is not among us. He is within us. Yesterday, we mentioned that Paul used the word “flesh” to mean our self-life that we received from Adam. Adam and Eve had a choice to obey God or rebel and do what they wanted to do. Their wrong choice introduced sin into the lives of all their descendants. We are born with the bent to do what we want to do even if it is against the will of God. When we come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord, a new desire to please God enters our being. It is our new nature. A human being is either in the “flesh” (self-pleasing) or in the Spirit (God pleasing). If we continue in the flesh, we are not saved! The alternative is to be in and walk in the Spirit. Even though we are no longer in the “flesh,” the “flesh” is very much in us and it tries every trick it has to motivate us to choose our will over God’s. So, how do we defeat this subtle and clever enemy? We don’t! We need to be aware of our enemy and his tactics. Constant and thorough study of God’s Word will reveal the enemy’s schemes. Here’s the point: whenever the enemy attacks, we have one way not to become a victim. We have to bring our self-life and will (our “flesh”) to the cross to be put to death. “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live” )Romans 8:12-13). When self is fighting for what it wants, bring it to Jesus to be put to death, to be nailed to His cross. Selah! This is not easy. It is a discipline that we develop from God’s Word. The more the Word fills us and is obeyed, the more the “flesh” is being brought to death. Let the Word fill us, more and more, so that less and less breathing space is available to the “flesh.” Ron

Death Sentence! Today!

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Paul was inspired to pen three words (among others) that are found in I Corithians 15:31, “….I die daily.” Our bodies are dying a little more each day. Was that what Paul was saying? No, he was pointing out something else. Look with me at Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” We were born with a sinful nature (which Paul refers to as our “flesh”). We inherited this nature from Adam. When we come to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. One part of His mission is to bring victory over the “flesh.” Even though the flesh no longer rules over us, it is still fighting to regain control. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other….” (From Galatians 5:17). The “flesh” is our self-life! Adam’s sin consisted of doing what he wanted instead of doing what God commanded. His descendants have been doing the same, ever since. Now judicially the “flesh” has been nailed to the cross. In actual experience, it is fighting to the the last gasp. It is our part, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring our self-life, kicking and screaming, to the cross to be sentenced to death all day, each day! Our “self,” our “flesh” constantly entices us to put our will ahead of God’s will. We need to be so attuned to the Word of God that we instantly discern when we are being enticed (usually, very stealthily) to do what we desire as opposed to God’s will. When we realize what is going on, we need to bring our self-will to the place of execution, the cross, and let the death sentence be carried out against our self-will. Selah! “Self” has many manifestations. We need, along with Paul, to die daily and emerge from the place of death, “….more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” (From Romans 8:37). Ron

 

The Power of One Voice

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What can one voice, way out in the wilderness, accomplish? Humanly speaking, not much! Yet consider one solitary voice that God used. John the Baptist was asked a question, “….What sayest thou of thyself?” (From John 1:22). His response is found in Verse 23, “He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” Why was John out in the desert? The answer is in Verse 7, “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe.” Interesting, but what does it have to do with us who are Christ’s disciples today? First, John was sent. So are we. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). There seems to be no indication of how many listened at the outset of John’s ministry. Later, of course many listened. But that’s not the point, is it? We are only to use our voice to witness to others about the Light of the World. We are to be instruments of illumination. The Light that God has given us should direct others to Him. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). We may speak to many or a few. We may say little or a lot. What matters is that we shed light. Perhaps you think your influence will not accomplish much. You are only in a small sphere of influence; a wilderness. Just keep shining. Reflect Jesus! If you only shine a little and only one or two see beyond the darkness, you may be used to alter their eternal destiny. Be faithful! Selah! One person that God uses you to reach may multiply your ministry to others, many times over!      Ron

Exposed!

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We have an innate bent to cover up anything that makes us look bad, including sin(s). We may succeed with others, although eventually many things have a way of coming to light. There is One, however, that knows our every word, thought, motive and action. He sees us inside and out. No detail is overlooked. In Chapter 4, Verses 12-13, the writer, under inspiration, makes this completely clear. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged 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.Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.” Try meditating on this portion of Scripture. We can’t hide anything from God! All our outward and inward being is exposed. That’s serious! We can’t escape the guilt and consequences of any wrong in our lives. For all who are born again, there has been provided a complete and total forgiveness and cleansing. Whenever we sin or fail in any way, Verse 15 speaks of One who can help, “…. we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” This Man goes before God in our behalf. God does not see anything but our High Priest’s shed blood covering all! This is the assurance to all who repent and receive His salvation. When we do wrong after we are saved, Verse 16 offers hope, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Selah! God promises mercy and help when we confess and seek His victory over sin(s). That’s grace!    Ron

Three Kingdoms-To Which One Do We Belong?

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Some might think that distinguishing between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God is an artificial distinction. Nevertheless, I find it to be very helpful. The Kingdom of God is His eternal Kingdom. It reigns from eternity past, through time, to eternity future. It is this Kingdom that is in view, when we pray, “Thy Kingdom come!” The Kingdom of Heaven, on the other hand, is found on earth. It embraces both wheat and tares. Matthew 13:24-25; 36-40 explains, “Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and His disciples came unto Him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom (of God?-Probably.); but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.” In God’s time, the Kingdom of Heaven will be purged of tares and the wheat will be swallowed up (so to speak) into the Kingdom of God. The third kingdom is the kingdom of this world. In this kingdom are all of the unsaved. It is here that Satan reigns. We need to exit this kingdom or we will be lost forever! Selah! Being born again brings about the reality found in Colossians 1:13,Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” Have you been relocated?    Ron

The Issue of the Apostate

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I read somewhere recently (I had hoped to document it but can’t locate the item) that a large percentage of those who abandon the faith do so because of their disappointment with Christianity. However, there is more to that than meets the eye. They couldn’t be disappointed with genuine Christianity. They could only be disappointed with their misunderstanding of Christianity, with some who do not live it or with any other type of misrepresentation. Too many have been misled into assuming that intellectual conversion is the same as Spiritual conversion. Spiritual conversion may have an intellectual component. It is, however, not the same thing. Spiritual conversion is much more than agreeing with some basic Biblical facts. It is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit bringing us into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior. Anything less than that won’t cut it! God’s own resurrection life is implanted in a new believer. This kind of conversion gives an inner Spiritual awareness of our relationship with God through His Son. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). The Holy Spirit confirms our relationship to God in our spirit. We know that we have it. Our relationship is grounded in solid Scriptural doctrines but it is enjoyed experientially in a Divine-human fellowship. Prayer is talking things over with our Heavenly Father. Reading His Word is listening to Him. Applying His principles and obeying Him prompts gratitude, admiration and worship. We love Him and bask in His love for us. There is much more and it is all real and personal. A head knowledge only of Biblical Truth can never take the place of the actual experience. It only provides the basis for a sound experience. Do you have this one-on-one relationship? If not, “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). Selah! An apostate is not someone who leaves the faith, it is someone who never realy had it in the first place!    Ron