A Critical Spirit or a Spiritual Critic?

When someone is in error, too many who spot error (or think they do) seem to find delight in catching the error. Shouldn’t it be cause for grief rather than delight? Sometimes, it appears as if they are proud of their ability to spot error and even “pat themselves on the back” that they would never fall into that kind of trap. Far too often, no consideration is given to the underlying motivation. Could the erring one be won away from his or her error with some love and patience? There is a profound difference between having a critical spirit and being a Spiritual critic. A Spiritual critic wants to help. A critical spirit tears someone or some ministry down. It is often done publicly without having gone to the person or ministry first. A spiritual critic will deal with issues; not character. A Spiritual critic prays, grieves and hopes to restore. The Pharisees didn’t have a monopoly on having a Pharisaical spirit. It might even be found among Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. Galatians 5:1 reminds, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are Spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” If we reach out in love and patience and do not see results after two or three attempts, pray for the offender. Leave him or her to God. With regret and concern, bring it to the church for whatever discipline is called for. Selah! If it comes to discipline, keep praying and reach out to the erring one. Sometimes, when discipline and love have had a chance to work, the person comes to his or her senses. You may be the channel for God to work through, to win back an erring brother or sister. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Ron

Breaking the Bonds of “Busy-ness”

Since I have “retired,” I’ve had more time (than I used to) to spend with God. Why not sooner? Looking back, I think I know why. In fact, much the same hindrance exists today. We have so many things to do; so many cares and responsibilities. In addition, all these things tire us out. Being so tired, we naturally want to relax and enjoy some “fun;” to unwind. Too often, after all this “busy-ness,” little or no time is left for God. My pastor used to warn: “Beware of the barrenness of a busy life!” If we are too busy to fellowship with God, we are too busy! What are we to do? First and foremost, we need to put God ahead of our activity. (There may be an occasional exception, such as an emergency. Let’s be sure it’s an exception and not an excuse). To begin with, we must never try to tuck God into our schedule; we need to develop our schedule around time with Him. Next, Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The prophet Isaiah said, “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength.” (From Isaiah 40:31). If activity is keeping us from time with God, some activity will have to go. We need to evaluate each activity. Does God want us doing a particular thing? Is this responsibility important to God or have we only convinced ourselves that it is? Is there someone else who could do this activity and release us from doing it? Lying behind much activity, there is a preference for the activity, instead of for God. Let’s ruthlessly determine to cultivate time to spend quietly with God, no matter what has to go. Selah! Jesus cautioned Martha to put aside her “busy-ness;” that one thing is needful.” (See Luke 10:38-42). Are we serious enough with God to put Him first?   Ron

A Simple Choice with Profound Implications

We decide what to believe, true or not. We really have only two choices. We can believe God or man! If we say that we don’t believe there is a God, we automatically believe man (even if we are the man). How many times have men been wrong? Frequently! How many times has God been wrong? Never! God even explains why men refuse to believe in Him. “….men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (From John 3:19-20). It’s ironic that men try to avoid accountability, only one day to find that they will still give account. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). If we choose to believe men instead of God, we are foolish indeed! “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). This means eternal Hell! Someone might say, “I don’t believe in Hell.” Can anyone afford to be wrong; to discover that Hell is real, regardless of man’s denial? Man has been proven wrong over and over. History is littered with the horribly wrong choices of man. God has never been wrong! Receiving Jesus, as Lord and Savior, leads to Heaven; rejecting Him leads to separation from Him forever, in Hell. Selah! God speaks absolute Truth to us in the Bible; man speaks from spiritual blindness. Whom we choose to trust determines our eternal destiny!   Ron

How Do We Know What’s True?

For most people, what they have been taught or told, by those they trust, is accepted as truth. What they have observed as something that always works the same way is assumed to be true. For too many, educators and media people are assumed to usually be telling the truth, although, deep down in, they know better. Truth (such as mathematics and laws such as the law of gravity) is confirmed by experience. Whatever worldview that we have built, we assume to be basically true. Those whom we trust, friends, teachers, family, media people, authors, etc. have been proven wrong time and again. What we personally believe has often been found to be wrong. Is there no absolute truth? Some tell us that there is no absolute truth. When they tell us that, is what they are telling us absolutely true? If there is no God, we are adrift in a vast sea of uncertainty. No one but God can guarantee absolute Truth. John 17:17 tells us, “….Thy Word is Truth.” Jesus, Who is God, declared in John 14:6, I am….the Truth.” What we choose to believe is true is our responsibility and we are responsible for the consequences that come from our choices. Trusting God unconditionally is the only absolutely solid foundation upon which to build our lives. Selah! The sand of man’s ideas or the rock of God’s Truth, which will you choose? It’s a “no brainer!”   Ron

When Death Casts Its Shadow…

There are times when death casts its shadow. It might be while we are on a bed of sickness. It might be when a loved one is given a limited time to live. It might be when we are “in the sights” of an enemy. Sometimes death strikes suddenly, without a shadow of warning. Then, of course, there is the shadow that comes with advanced age. When we are old, we realize that death could come most any time. Death’s shadow may be a blessing in disguise, affording us some moments to make sure that we know Jesus, as Savior and Lord. However, realizing that death can strike quickly without warning, we would be foolish to wait for the shadow of death’s warning. We might miss Heaven, by a very slim margin. II Corinthians 6:2 cautions, “….behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Turning to Jesus now, if you haven’t already, will free you, who “…..through fear of death were (have been) all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (From Hebrews 2:15). Death, without Christ, is bondage. Whatever else that means, it includes the bondage of fearing certain judgment. When He is our Savior and Lord, we can say with the Palmist, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me…..Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23:4;6). Selah! Life, at best, is brief. We will be well advised to be ready for eternity. We may have a little time to receive Christ, or our opportunity could end in the next moment. Don’t risk ending up lost forever. Receive Him in the only time that you are sure of being able to do so, NOW!  Ron

Truth That Outlasts the Grave

Many of the fathers of our country wrote and spoke some wise truth. If we were to apply principles laid done by some of the wisest of them, our country might experience greatness once again. Statesmen, philosophers, educators, friends and parents have often given wise counsel. That which they taught has often meant something in our day, and will be worthwhile long after their deaths. What we say, do, and exemplify may last beyond our lifetime to benefit those who outlast us. Still, they and we are human and what is passed along is often wrong. There is One Whose teaching and counsel is never wrong. He said, in John 6:63, “….the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life.” As we assimilate and implement His Word, we will share with others His Truth. This Truth will help now, for time to come, and for eternity. Therefore, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6) and “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and Spiritual songs.” (From Colossians 3:16). No truth, no matter how useful, can come close to His Truth. Share that Truth above all! Selah! Wise sharing of His Truth can impact generations to come.   Ron 

A Holy Fear

Mankind, taken as a whole, has little fear of God. This is true, in large measure, because little time or thought is given to Him. When some do begin to think on God, they imagine Him distant and/or impersonal, even irrelevant. Add to the mix that even many of those who claim a relationship with Him are unduly familiar with Him and often flippant in speaking of Him and/or addressing Him. He is to be revered, honored, respected and worshipped. Any who are wise will think long and hard on His Holy Person, think on His attributes and character and bow in heart to Him Whom angels worship. Let us never be foolish enough to regard Him with less than holy awe. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). Even with the wonderful closeness that His own children are graciously granted, He is to be highly esteemed and spoken of with praise and adoration, never lightly or with little thought. “Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: Thou art my God, I will exalt Thee” (Psalm 118:28). A generous dose of thinking on the Person of God will save us from the crime of failing to give Him the glory and honor due His Holy Being. Selah! Love Him and enjoy Him as a loving Father; honor Him as Almighty God!   Ron 

Questions with Only One Answer

Christ’s love for those who receive Him as Lord and Savior is boundless and perfectly protects them forever! Paul, under inspiration, asks a number of questions. There is only one answer to each of these questions. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” (Romans 8:35)? The answer: NothingPaul goes on in Verse 36, “As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Whatever goes bad for us cannot separate us from His love! In fact, Paul sums it up in Verse 37, in these words, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” How can this be? All this suffering and “we are more than conquerors?” It’s simply because Christ loved us so much. If He loved us to the extent that He did by enduring Calvary, He can be trusted that He has a purpose in what He allows. Paul went through suffering that we can’t begin to imagine. Hear his victory proclamation: ” For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Verses 38-39). Selah! All the protection and safety measures of earth cannot even approach the absolute security of His infinite love!   Ron

In God’s Protective Custody‏

With all the trials, the misunderstandings, the hurtful things said to and about us, the stumblings, the various kinds of attacks and accusations, the failures and whatever else comes our way, if we know Jesus as our own personal Lord and Savior, “What shall we then say to these things? if God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:31-34)? When we have undergone a genuine experience of Spiritual rebirth, we love God, trust Him unconditionally and are, Spiritually, in His protective custody. We are “the called according to His purpose. (See Verse 28). This is the gracious provision of eternal security. Selah! Only as He is our Savior and Lord, only as we are growing Spiritually, only as we are learning, applying and obeying, can we know the peace and joy of this kind of protection!  Ron

An Unprecedented Guarantee

The most iron-clad guarantee that life has to offer can’t hold a candle to the wondrous guarantee given to all who are truly saved! “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30). The way this guarantee works is by a process that began in eternity past, threads its way through time and stretches into eternity future, there to unfold forevermore. Way back when God foreknew those who would receive Jesus, as Lord and Savior, this process not only began, but has already transcended time and has climaxed in glorification. In the mind and purpose of God the whole process is finished. We, in our lifetime, who are born again, actually experience the process but He, Who knows the end from the beginning, is moving it steadily to its guaranteed climax. How important it is that we “make our calling and election sure.” (See II Peter 1:10). If we have opened or will open our hearts to receive His salvation and to surrender the control of our lives to Him, more and more, as we study, apply and obey His will and Word, then we are “fully covered” by His guarantee! Selah! Have you “signed on the line,” yet?   Ron