Ministries of the Mature

In the physical realm, we gain experience, learn (hopefully) a lot and are able to help others escape some of the more unpleasant things of life. This is true in the Spiritual realm as well. We grow in grace and knowledge. We come to appreciate prayer more and more. We look out for things that harm us and things that are very dangerous. We sometimes acquire the means to help others in practical ways. We appreciate our Lord more and more and love Him more and more. So…we can pray, give, teach, counsel, encourage and be a role model of what the grace of God can do in us and what it can make of us. These kinds of things are a fulfillment of Psalm 92:12-14. ” The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” Selah! What we are and do in the physical realm happens for a certain amount of time. Negatively or positively, it can only impact time. What we are and do in the Spiritual realm can help or harm for time and eternity.Let’s let God enable us to live each day with eternal values in mind. Ron
May He from all that is wrong , daily my soul to sever. May I give myself more and more to that which counts now and forever. (R.A.P.).

Galatians 2:20 and Us

In light of yesterday’s article, Let’s take a close look at Galatians 2:20. It has much to say to us who are born again. “I” This is our self life. It is all that we are “in Adam,” and apart from Christ. It is me, myself and I. “I am crucified.” “Am” The tense in the Greek indicates something that happened in the past but has continuous action in the present. We, who are saved, were crucified and are being crucified. Legally, judicially, our self life was crucified; declared dead. However, our self life is in need of daily being put to death (i.e; crucified). “With Christ.” The legal aspect happened at the Cross. We were removed from Adam, legally, and were placed in Christ. We went from spiritual death to Spiritual life. Death in Adam is no longer our condition. “Nevertheless I live.” “Self” still has influence on us because it is dying in us slowly. Crucifixion is a slow painful death. “Yet notIbut Christ liveth in me.” His Presence in us is empowering us to apply daily crucifixion to the old self life; the flesh. “And the life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God.” Faith comes from God’s Word into our daily lives. Power comes from the Scripture into us as we apply it and obey it. “So then, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (From Romans 10:17). “The Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” This gives us the motivation to draw the needed strength from Him to crucify the lingering remains of our old self life.. Selah! We were taken out of “Adam;” now “Adam” needs to be taken out of us!  Ron

The Core of Christian Character

What is the “core?” As I use it here, it is what is at the innermost part of our heart. The core is what makes us what we are. That core, before genuine conversion is “I.” The new birth installs a new core: “Him!” However, the old core is heavily entrenched. Until it is forced to give way, it exercises strong influence. How can it be forced to give way? It can’t by human will alone. Only the Word of God, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, can break its stranglehold on our character. As Scripture enters our minds and drops into our hearts, the old self life gradually loses its power to influence. From the moment of true conversion and on through our remaining lifetime, the process goes on in proportion to our faithfulness in studying, absorbing, applying and obeying the input that we receive from the Bible. The fascinating reality is that as the Written Word fills our hearts, so does the Living Word and our character gradually reflects Him instead of “I.” Therefore,Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him” (Colossians 3:16-17). Selah! “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20). Ron

Internalizing Worthy Motives

Essentially, there are two basic mindsets. One is a worldly mindset or worldview; the other is a Biblical one. An unsaved person relates to life from his or her worldly mindset. They will say some good things, have some good thoughts and do some good deeds. These will, however, be driven by the three lusts that we thought on recently. In the true Christian, the mindset or worldview will be driven by God’s principles found in His Word. In the process of Spiritual growth, there will be lapses into the old pre-conversion mindset. Nevertheless, the old is losing its hold and the new is taking over more and more. How? By saturating our inner being with Scripture, God’s thoughts and ways become ours, crowding out the old fleshly self-way of viewing things. Obedience to Paul’s inspired command to the Philippian church will bring about God’s intended changes in our values and conduct. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Exposure to God’s Holy Word motivates us to think holy thoughts and motivates Godly living. Romans 8:29 reminds us that our destiny as born again believers is to be conformed to the image of His Son. Selah! Meditation in Scripture is God’s ordained way of renewing our minds. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).   Ron

Mastering Our Motives

From the time we were very young and right up to the present moment, we have been receivers of an astronomical amount of input. Much of it has been good. Much more of it has been bad. I believe the majority of people have not really noticed how much they have been influenced by the input to which they have been exposed, and have not made an effort to sift through it to ascertain what is good and what isn’t. The true Christian has a responsibility to match the input up against Scripture to determine what is acceptable and what should be rejected. In Hebrews 5:12-14, the inspired writer chided those whose Spiritual growth was stunted. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Being skillful in the Word of God enables us to escape being victims of our emotions. It gives us the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Instead of being motivated by our fleshly desires, we seek the mind and will of God in matters of life. We are not swayed by Satan’s subtle attempts to trip us up, as he did with Adam and Eve. We will not be ignorant of his devices and wiles. We will be led by Biblical principles and not by the dictates of strong “feelings.” Selah! What is remarkable about this is that being governed by Scriptural principles results in rich and wonderful feelings. What a contrast with self driven “feelings” that delight for a moment but leave us empty and unstable! Let God’s Word motivate you. Ron

Understanding Our Motives

Our motives drive us. We are what we are and do what we do as a result of our motives. The first step in understanding our motives is to identify the source of our motives. These motives may develop from the way we think. What do we feed our minds on? Our reasoning, faulty or correct, develops motives. Sometimes the mind is ignored in favor of our emotions. In this scenario, our emotions motivate us to find ways to enjoy wholesome pleasure or evil pleasure. James supplies a clue as to why we seek ungodly pleasure. In Chapter 1, Verses 14-15, he writes, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” A key word here is “lust.” As has been pointed out in previous articles, “lust” is strong or intense desire. It can be desires for good or for sin. The unsaved person will desire whatever appeals to his or her eyes, to his or her “flesh” and what feeds his or her ego. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:15-16). As James pointed out (above) this kind of lust leads to a dead end. A genuine Christian marches to the beat of a different drum. He or she will be motivated from a very different source. We’ll look at that tomorrow, God willing. Selah! Have you given serious thought to the source of your motives?   Ron

Becoming Spiritually Healthy

Eating the right foods and refusing unhealthy foods leads to improved health. This is especially true in the Spiritual realm. How would we measure improved spiritual health? First of all, improved Spiritual health would result in greater Spiritual strength. . Next, it would give us the energy to live life as God intended it to be lived. We would “….grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (From II Peter 3:18). Instead of degrading negative values, vices, attitudes, actions and activities, we would develop positive ones. Instead of selfishness, we would want to share our blessings with others. We would seek their spiritual welfare. We would “love one another,” “pray for one another,” “bear one another’s burdens,” exhort one another,” “help one another,” etc. (from various Scriptures). Finally, but foremost, it would fuel our love, devotion, worship and gratitude to the One Who graciously supplies robust spiritual health for all who know Him, through a saving relationship with His Son, the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Selah! This kind of living comes from obeying what we learn from Luke 10:25-28, “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” A Spiritually healthy true Christian will learn to live like this, more and more.    Ron

Church’s Use of Bible-2

The family has gathered. The finest food to be found anywhere on earth is on the table. Some of the family do not even bother to eat. Others begin to feast, trying a little bit of everything and copious amounts of their favorites. But a strange thing is happening among all the activity. Family members greet each other on arrival but exchange few words. While eating, almost nothing is said to the others at the table. There are a few brief whispers, then eating is resumed. No one really seems to have more than a passing interest in the others. When done, they mostly all leave with a quick goodbye. How could such a thing be, you say. It doesn’t usually happen like that in a normal family. However, when God’s Family gets together, this pattern is common. Why? Because the focus is almost entirely on the food. Why do we eat food? We do it to sustain life and to nourish ourselves so that we can function in our everyday living. We do it for good health. Our everyday living includes friendships, family, neighbors, loving relationships, etc. Isn’t that a very major reason why we study the Bible? It’s our Spiritual nourishment to enable normal Spiritual living which involves, on a Spiritual level, all the reasons for physical food. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19). Selah! Eating is not an end in itself but rather the means to God’s ends.   Ron

Church’s Use of Bible-1

If the Church is to be successful (as God would consider success) it must preach, teach, and explain to, as well as train, those who are saved. They must understand the need of the Word in their lives. They must be taught how to study the Bible. They must be trained in the basic doctrines of Scripture. They are to be taught how to refute false teaching. Discernment must be gained on differences among true believers. Theologically, should one be of Calvinistic persuasion or Arminian persuasion or not either one? Should one be dispensational or non-dispensational? Does it matter? Why or why not? What does God’s Word teach about our lifestyle, values, attitudes, etc.? These things and others are the responsibility of local churches to provide. Remember II Timothy 3:16-17 which says, ” All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Selah! All of these things could be done, and done well, in a local church and that church could still not be successful in the way that God intends a church to be successful. What would be the missing factor? Let’s see if we can find out tomorrow, God willing. Please drop by for Part 2.   Ron

The Church’s True Success

Whatever follows, we must start with Paul’s charge to Timothy in II Timothy 4:1-2, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” This is the Church’s number one responsibility! When this happens, the true Christian will find that “….his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” (From Psalm 1:2). A saved person will, “….grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (From II Peter 3:18). He will, “Study to shew[himself] approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (II Timothy 2:15). As he grows, he will fill one of the roles found in Ephesians 4:11: “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” He may do some of these things in an office or only as a maturing individual believer. The outcome is found in Verses 12-14. His service is, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Selah! When this pattern is established in Church life, in the power of the Holy Spirit, that’s success!   Ron