When Distractions Meet Discipline

As long as we live, we will have to deal with distractions. We’ll allow ourselves to be distracted or we’ll take charge of our lives and control distractions. Letting distractions determine the use of our time and thoughts will lead to anxiety, chaos, and exhaustion. The alternative is to have a plan for dealing with distractions. There are several questions that we need to ask ourselves to determine if a distraction should be given our time and energy. Is it as important as what I am doing right now? If so, can it wait until a more convenient time? If it is not important, could someone else handle it? Even if it is important, can someone else deal with it? If it must be dealt with, is there anyone who could help me get it done more quickly? Do I emotionally want to get involved with the distraction or can I refuse it, if it is an unnecessary waste of my time? Would it conflict with Scriptural standards? Would it hinder or help my Spiritual life? These are a few ways to help determine if you should refuse a distraction. If we are growing Spiritually, our adversary will use worthless distractions to obstruct our progress. Determine if emergencies are genuine or distractions in disguise. We would do well to pray the prayer of Moses in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Wise use of time is a stewardship entrusted to us by God. Let’s be trustworthy! Selah! If minutes were dollars, would we be content for them to be scattered carelessly around?   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Defeating Distractions

No disciple of Jesus can afford to just drift through life waiting for things to happen and then try to figure out how to handle matters. A true disciple must take charge of his or her life, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit as He brings Scripture to bear on our lives. This involves a purpose and a plan. The purpose is to honor God in word, thought and deed. The plan is to control time and our personal lives. We must schedule our days. If we have a basic schedule, we can adjust for a genuine emergency (but beware of the ones that are not) and for legitimate responsibilities. The schedule must provide for family time, rest and recreation, regular responsibilities, appointments, etc. and our work, but especially for time with God. Developing a schedule that works will require fine-tuning. At first, it may be trial and error but discipline yourself to keep at it until you have mastered it. One overriding principle must be implemented. Build your schedule around your planned time with God; don’t try to tuck time with God into your schedule, it doesn’t work! If you have to deal with a genuine emergency, note what you have had to “put on hold” and find a place to deal with it in your schedule very soon after you have dealt with the emergency. In dealing with people’s needs, learn to discern valid concerns and put definite limits on time-wasters. You must be firm and kind in applying those limits. Do a periodic analysis of ways in which you might be wasting time and make necessary changes. God’s Word has much wise counsel on ways to manage time. Be alert to your family. Treat  reasonable times with your family as appointments. When someone or something would involve you in something less important, remember that you have an appointment at that time. Ephesians 5:15-16 admonishes, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Selah! A schedule is a tool; not a trap! Learn how to use it!  Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway@gmail.com 

Discipline Driven or Distractions Driven?

As we’ve pointed out in previous articles, a disciple is one who is disciplined. A disciple of Jesus is under Him as Master; as Lord. The manual of discipline is the Bible. A true Christian is learning to be disciplined. It’s doubtful that anyone claiming to be a Christian, but who has little or no measure of discipline in his or her daily life, actually is truly converted. However, discipline has a powerful and effective competitor. Innate in our fallen nature is the ease with which we are distracted. A serious runner in a race cannot allow distractions. He or she must recognize distractions for what they are, block them and keep their eyes fixed firmly on the goal, running with determination. A serious Christian must do the same in his or her Spiritual life. If we allow ourselves to be distracted, our Christian “race” will be greatly hindered. We cannot be driven by distractions. They must be brought under control. A soldier in battle who allows himself to be distracted may be killed or wounded in action. Basic military training instills discipline in the new recruits. Are our churches doing the same, Spiritually? In II Timothy 2:1; 3-4, Paul lays a charge on Timothy that God lays on us. He wrote, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus….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.” Selah! How do we master distractions; they seem to demand attention? Drop by tomorrow for instructions on handling distractions, God willing.   Ron

Have questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Using A Bible Filter

Let me begin by saying that Christians too often fall into the trap of acting on feelings, or because someone or something that they basically trust provided faulty information. Perhaps the source of their information fell into the same trap. We use filters on TV and the internet to keep “kids” from receiving harmful content. We do this because these children are apt to believe or act on bad content. God’s children need a filter with which to check all incoming content to their minds and hearts. We have such a filter. It’s known as the Bible. Knowing God’s Word; understanding His standards, commands and principles will enable us to filter out spiritual contamination, leaving the pure milk and meat of the Word. Having pointed this out, we need to be sure that our filter is in good working order. We do this by constantly studying, meditating on and applying God’s Truth. Obviously, an occasional glance or merely skimming Scripture will render our filter inadequate. We need to cultivate intense absorption of what God has revealed to us. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). Selah! Bad information and sinful thoughts corrupt our minds. Use the filter!  Ron

If you have questions E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com 

Which is Wheat; Which Tares?

Jesus gave a parable in Matthew 13:24-30. An enemy had sown tares among the farmer’s wheat. Jesus (represented by the farmer)explained how the problem was to be handled. He said, Let both grow together until the harvest.” In the early stages, the wheat and tares were allowed to exist together. They were likely hard to tell apart. Jesus’ servants asked, “Wilt thou then that we go and gather them (the tares) up?” Jesus replied, “….Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” In a local assembly today, there are found genuine Christians and those who are similar. There is a day coming when the phonies will be separated from the real wheat (genuine Christians). Now, “here’s the kicker:” The wheat are those who have received and believed the Gospel facts and surrendered themselves to Jesus as Lord. The tares are those who appear as if they had done the same thing but in reality they have never acted on the facts by yielding themselves to His reign in their lives. What a tragic time for the tares at the time of separation! Selah! An amazing miracle is available! If the tares will go beyond just appearing to be real and embrace and act upon the facts of the Gospel, they can be transformed into wheat! These would be those who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Ron

If you have questions, E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com 

Blessed (Lack of) Assurance!

If someone whom you knew was reliable and whom you trusted informed you that someone had put $100,000 in your bank account, you might very well believe it. In fact, you might make plans for some projects that you would like to undertake. However, if your trusted friend was mistaken, wouldn’t you want to know before you got yourself into a hole? Of course you would! Carry that kind of mistake over into the spiritual realm and you may have a very serious problem indeed. A sincere and trusted pastor, Christian worker, friend or family member tells you are saved because you agreed with certain facts from the Bible about salvation. You have assumed that they were right but “deep down in” you have lurking doubts. There is a lack of what Fanny Crosby called “Blessed Assurance.” Often, there are doubts that simply need to be put to rest by a proper understanding of Scripture. On the other hand, if there has been only an intellectual conversion with no fundamental life change, any false assurance needs to be corrected. The short answer is that genuine salvation is not only believing certain facts but includes an embracing of Jesus’ Lordship. Anything less won’t cut it! “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved, for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9:10). Selah! Lack of assurance might just be God’s prompting you to “get it right” while you can.  Ron

If you have questions, E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com 

Dirty Pots; Dirty Thoughts

If a person washed a pot and rinsed the outside but did not scrub the inside, it would still be dirty. The lid could be put on the pot and the defilement would not be seen. It would appear to be a clean pot. The same thing is true of our thought life. Our minds can be full of foul defilement; while we try to hide it from people who observe us. We wouldn’t want to be served from a dirty pot, no matter how clean it looked. We try to cover up the corruption of our minds but God sees it. In Hebrews 4:13 we are reminded that, “….all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.” If we have Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are to be clean both in the inside and on the outside. God will have His children clean! The word of God is the cleansing agent. We are rinsed, “….with the washing of water by the Word.” (From Ephesians 5:26). We still have to be scrubbed clean on the inside. How is that done? Psalm 119:9 asks a question and answers it, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.” Taking heed is studying, applying and obeying the commands and principles of God’s Word. Selah! Be sure the thoughts are scrubbed clean of immorality, anger, deceit, hatred, slander, backbiting, gossip, wrong motives, meanness, pride, hypocrisy, jealousy, wrong words, greed, envy and all like things. Keep scrubbing constantly with God’s Holy Word.   Ron
If you have a question, E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Breaking Loose-Part 2

If you haven’t read Part 1, may I suggest that you go back to it. It is important context for today. Many who profess salvation today appear to only be casually involved. What they seem to experience of the Lord is to tuck into their schedules a little time here and there among their other activities. How much effort goes into effective Spiritual growth? If we are serious about our relationship with Him, certain areas demand discipline. The most obvious ones are study of the Word and prayer. These can be done only as a discharge of duty. That is not sufficient! We need to learn to apply what we read and we need to learn to converse personally with our God in prayer. We need to understand prayer and Scripture. We need to know our gifts and be using them. We all have a responsibility to serve. We need regular corporate worship, teaching, and fellowship. We need to give as an act of worship. We need some involvement with missions and missionaries. We need to develop holiness of life, speech, conduct, attitudes and values. These things are not going to just happen! How many are doing these things? Could it be that they are not doing these things? If they have a genuine conversion, they will pursue these disciplines. If they have only an intellectual conversion, they will find ways to excuse themselves from these responsibilities. Isn’t it time to face reality? “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 (mature), throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17). Think on each part of this passage. Selah! Books, CDs, DVDs, sermons, pastors, teachers, Godly friends are all there to help us with these disciplines, leaving us with no reason to remain immature, unless we really haven’t been converted.  Ron

If you have questions, E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Breaking Loose-Part 1

It’s comfortable living with the “status quo.” It requires less effort. Often, however, there’s little difference between the “status quo” and a rut. Sometimes the rut is so deep that it requires real effort to break loose and rise to new experiences. Such is especially the case with Spiritual matters. If we are content with a sub-standard brand of Christianity, we’ll never know the excitement and fulfillment that comes from real Christianity. How can we break loose from the “status quo?” First, be absolutely sure that you have had a genuine conversion. Paul exhorts in II Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” Have I grasped the awful sinfulness of my heart? Have I felt the awful guilt of my sins and defilement? Have I cried out for forgiveness? Have I owned my helplessness to do anything to earn salvation? Have I believed in my heart that Jesus, dying on the cross, paid-in-full the penalty due my sin(s)? Have I asked Him to be my Savior? Have I owned His right to reign as Lord in my life? Am I committed to letting Him govern my life? Now, here’s the “kicker:” Will knowing Him in depth be my top priority over all other concerns of my life? (This isn’t a condition for salvation. It is the result of a genuine conversion). If you can honestly answer these questions with a thoughtful “Yes,” you are ready for the practical outworking of your salvation. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we’ll consider down-to-earth ways to know Him in depth. Selah! Much of current evangelism has resulted in people who assume that simply agreeing with a few facts and praying the “sinner’s prayer” has brought them salvation. Intellectual conversion alone is not enough; there must be Spiritual conversion. Do you have the real thing?    Ron

             If you have questions, E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com 

Grasping the Reality

I see many of us as having fallen prey to a very subtle and clever strategy. Think with me for a bit. In most cases, especially in our western world, we somehow become involved in a local church culture. (In and of itself, that is good). However, we attend Sunday school. Young children become involved in a Good News Club and/or V.B.S. This is good except for one danger. A core feature of all these is the telling and hearing of a “story.” I suggest that Bible history and Truth are too often treated as “nice stories” and/or “good lessons.” With preaching it can be received as “interesting” only. Those of us who have lived through World War II can recall vividly the reality of those traumatic times. We visualize much of it. It stirs powerful emotions. It made a dramatic impact on our lives. Contrast the difference for those who came much later. They are told about it more like it is a story. It really makes little difference in their lives. Let someone who was in the fighting share experiences that they went through personally and all of a sudden it is much more than a story or lesson. The hearer grasps some of the reality. The point that I want to make is that we need people who have lived and are living in the “reality” of vibrant Christianity. We need folks who know and love the Lord and are excited about Him; folks who are experiencing a dynamic and vital relationship with Him; people who are grasping the reality that so powerfully impacted those first century Christians. As these share, many hearers will move beyond hearing an interesting story and seek that kind of an experience for themselves. How can we grasp the reality? Jeremiah explains. In Chapter 29, Verse 13, he tells us, “And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye search for Me with all your heart.” Selah! To search for God and actually find Him is possible only by studying, applying and obeying His Word and internalizing the reality of its Truths. Internalizing Truth will engage our attention tomorrow, God willing.  Ron