Casting Anchor

When you are adrift in the sea, or in life, it’s time to cast anchor; to put your anchor down. There are those who claim to be saved and yet, by all indications, they are adrift. They profess faith but are carried by the currents of this world’s thinking and conduct. if you were to probe, you’d likely find that they have little working knowledge of the Bible. How does one anchor? Until we know how to defend our faith and are learning to apply and obey Scripture, we are at the mercy of any prevailing winds, tossed to and fro and in danger of capsizing. On the other hand, if we are anchored in the Word of God, let the winds blow; we are secure. A life lived apart from the impact of the Bible will sink, sooner or later. Our anchor of the soul is, “….both sure and steadfast, and ….entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.” (See Hebrews 6:17-20).  Psalm 89:8-9 underscores His power to anchor our lives. “O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to Thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” L. E. Jones hymn, “I’ve Anchored in Jesus,'” echoes this great truth. He wrote, “He is my friend and Savior; in Him my anchor’s cast. He drives away my sorrows and shields me from the blast. By faith I’m looking upward beyond life’s troubled sea; There I behold a haven  prepared for me.” Selah! When our lives are anchored in the Living and written Word, we are secured to the Rock of ages!   Ron

Will Your Anchor Hold?

The vast majority of people in our world today are swept on by emotions, peer pressure, so-called political correctness, advertising, liberal teaching, poor self-image, etc. No wonder so many lives are messed up! Influence of any kind that doesn’t take God into account is part of what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 7:24-27. He taught, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it!” Our lives can be built on the sand of man’s way of thinking or on the solid rock of God’s Word. It’s our choice to make! Priscilla J. Owens, in her moving hymn, wisely asks, “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, when the clouds unfold their wings of strife? When the strong tides lift and the cables strain, will your anchor drift or firm remain?” She, too, was thinking of our lives. Is your life being built upon the Rock of God’s Word? Will your anchor hold in the storms of life? If you haven’t already done so, make the right choice while you can. Selah! Are Christians anchored? That question will occupy our attention tomorrow, God willing .   Ron

 

Would Paul be Appalled?

If the Apostle Paul were to be allowed to come back to earth today, how would he view the current state of the church? Would he be appalled at the current situation? To be appalled is defined as being horrified, shocked or dismayed. In our Western world especially, would he view an anemic church? Would he see a commercialized church and/or an entertainment center? Would the Person be eclipsed by the programs? Would he ask where the prayer gatherings have gone? Would he look in vain to see holy lives? Would he be dismayed at the level of worldliness that has engulfed the church? Would he see any serious witnessing taking place? Would he find Christians fervently excited about their personal relationship with the Lord? If he were asked to address the church, what might he have to say? All who are born again have a solemn responsibility to live in the reality of this wonderful personal relationship that we have been privileged to enjoy. Only as genuinely converted people take their relationship seriously will the church be revived, strengthened and purified. Will each of us do his or her part? “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Corinthians 6:17-7:1). Selah! If we will deal thoroughly with the implications of this passage, revival will have begun!   Ron

 

Beyond the Sacred Page…

John Burton, in his well-known hymn, wrote, “Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord. My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word.” Think this through and you’ll have profound insight into the supernatural book that we know as the Bible. An ordinary book contains the author’s thoughts, information or story. It is given to us by using ink on paper (or some other technological means) and that’s the end of it. Not so with God’s Book! In it, He reveals Himself! Scripture is God-breathed. II Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is given by inspiration (lit. God-breathed) of God.” The breath that God breathed into man, making him alive is what makes the Bible alive. God Himself is encountered when we approach His Word with a believing heart and an open mind. All who respond to God’s Holy Word as He wants us to do, soon discover they are being spoken to by God. Engaging with the Word by obedience and application makes profound changes in our lives. Hebrews 4:12 spells it out for us in these words, “For the Word of God is quick (alive, 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.” Selah! If you read the Bible as you read other books, you’ll miss the whole point. If you listen to hear the voice of God, you will hear it! Does your spirit pant for the living Word, God Himself?    Ron

 

Long-Range Impact

Have you ever thought that if all media were clean and would portray only the highest ideals how that might impact our world? What kind of a difference would it make, if actors and actresses and sports figures exhibited and encouraged good clean moral living? Let’s make it more personal. If you were to develop, with God’s enabling, a life of disciplined Godliness, how might that effect friends, neighbors, co-workers, business contacts, family and others with whom we cross paths? Paul’s instructions to young Timothy are valid for all of us. He wrote in I Timothy 4:12, “….be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Paul influenced Timothy and countless others. The twelve disciples of Jesus impacted multitudes. Those that were impacted by these impacted others, until it reached us who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior. How can this be passed along to others? A careful study and application of II Corinthians 3:18 will bring this about in proportion to how faithfully we discipline ourselves to do this. Paul reminded, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (I hope to do a careful study of this portion tomorrow, God willing). Will you let God shape you to impact others? Selah! Good or bad, we have an immortality of influence. Let’s provide a legacy of holiness and virtue!   Ron

 

Who Will Impact Us?

I don’t see most people as sitting down with a list of whom they will allow to influence them. In the normal course of events, certain people impress us. They may be famous, popular, successful, charismatic, heroic, just nice, or friendly, etc. They exhibit certain traits or abilities that impress us. Perhaps they are charming and/or persuasive. Sub-consciously, we decide that we want to be like that or like a certain person whom we admire. However, do we study these individuals in terms of their character? The outward personna may be very impressive but what is their moral and spiritual character? If we start to copy them in areas that impress us, we may also adopt some of their values without realizing that we are doing so. How many actors, actresses, sports heroes have lives that are full of sinful pursuits? Wouldn’t it behoove us to choose carefully some people who live moral and spiritual lives that are above reproach and let ourselves be influenced by them? For the genuine Christian, there is a higher standard still, Christ Himself! Above all, as the hymnwriter puts it, we should be, “shaping our lives by His blessed example.” (“Stepping in the Light”-Eliza E. Hewitt). What about Godly human beings? As they imitate Christ, they serve as role models for us. Consider Paul. He could say, In I Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Let’s select Godly people, that are really serious about their walk in Christ, to be our role models. Let them model for us how to really follow Jesus. Selah! People that love and honor Jesus are visual aids for us, demonstrating what God can do in and through us. Watch for one and study his or her life.   Ron

 

The Impact of Influence

We are natural born “copycats!” All of us, in one way or another, copy someone, even if we copy someone who indicates his or her intention to not be like others. We cannot escape external influence! We are influenced to be like someone or to get something. We imitate someone’s lifestyle. speech, clothing, habits, attitudes, etc. We are influenced by athletes, actors and actresses, politicians, teachers, friends, by people that we don’t like,  by advertising, by what we read, listen to and/or view, etc. In various ways, our lives are dramatically and/or subtly influenced for good or bad. While we can’t escape the impact of influence, we can determine who or what we let influence us. If who or what influences us is wholesome and good, devote time, effort and thought to this kind of influence. If we are influenced by wrong people or things, firmly resist these. Choose friends who exhibit moral and spiritual values. Paul cautioned, in  Ephesians 5:11, “….have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Conversely, he admonished the Philippians that, “….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, thing on these things.” (From Philippians 4:8). Selah! We are going to reproduce that which most influences us. We have to choose what we will let influence us. Choose wisely! God will bless the right choice.   Ron