What Happened to the Offering?

Imagine a sacrifice being placed on the altar during the early days of Israel’s worship. The animal is secured, but in some mysterious way, it is off the altar and gone. That would have been unthinkable. Being on that altar was a death sentence to the chosen beast. Tax your imagination a bit more. The selected animal is not taken and placed on the altar but is coaxed and enticed to climb up on the altar. Before the animal could be secured, it slips off and is gone. Either way, there is no sacrificial offering. It’s gone! Fast forward to today and to a typical evangelistic and/or deeper life appeal. Persuasive words, moving illustrations backed up by some powerful Scripture reach the minds of some listeners. The appeal is given, motivation is generated and there is understandable rejoicing over those who have responded. A few words are given to the responders. Prayer is offered. The service ends, people leave, the responders are thrilled and the next day, gradually, feelings diminish and things return pretty much to normal. What has become of the offering? In a few cases, the offering was complete and endures over the years. In most cases the commitment faded along with the diminishing emotions. Why is this? I suggest that no thorough explanation was given as to what putting one’s “all” on the altar meant. Someone might reply that if a thorough explanation were given, it would take too long and might keep some from responding. That might be a good thing. It is better to have a few who are making a complete surrender than many who are moved only in their emotions and, after awhile, they can’t be found. This leaves the impression that Christianity doesn’t work. Read carefully and thoughtfully this familiar passage in Romans 12:1-2: “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 (discern) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Selah! If we are going to put “all” on the altar, it is never to come off the altar! A true sacrifice is for the rest of our lives!   Ron

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

The Dynamic That Moves Christians

A sterile or clinical expression of Christianity is cold, without real “feeling” and has little, if any, impact on others. It’s a boring and unattractive experience. It stimulates no real interest. It’s essentially a religious ritual, a duty performed in a cyclical routine. How can anyone who claims to be saved settle for such a pitiful excuse for the real thing? How have we allowed such a Divine encounter to degenerate into a mere habit, devoid of excitement and meaning? Let’s take a few moments to think on this. God, in His Son, entered our world. Deity took on humanity! Jesus was fully God and fully a man. He was murdered; it was not a legal execution! He was buried, His corpse placed into a tomb for three days. Then, He was raised from the dead!! He lived again! If someone that you knew, died and you saw him buried and then three days later you met him on the street, fully alive, what might be your reaction? Far more astonishing is the realization that Jesus is not only alive, but that He enters the innermost being of all who receive Him as Lord and Savior. God enters our being! Deity is experienced in our humanity. If that doesn’t move you, you must be really out of it. Those in the early days of the church turned their world upside down and many were turned right side up! If we don’t grasp this miracle and come to grips with it, we will plod along in a pointless and empty routine that doesn’t move us or anyone else. If you actually come to understand the reality of God dwelling in you, you can’t go on being a religious robot, a human machine, devoid of feeling and kept in storage when your duty has been performed. It was Paul’s prayer that we “might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and Spiritual understanding; that ye (we) might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power.” (From Colossians 1;9-11). Selah! Filled with the Holy Spirit, we will have the dynamic for a vital Christianity. God will show Himself to us and through us when we “get real” with Him.   Ron

 

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

From the Pages to the PERSON

We see a printed page displaying a brand new car. The printed content provides a picture and an explanation of the car’s beauty, power, reliability and safety. However, for all the good things about the car, it is not any use to us until we experience it. Likewise, Scripture speaks about Christ’s beauty, power, trustworthiness and the security that He offers, but that is basic information. It is absolutely true information. It is needed information. It is valuable information. It gives us the basis for deciding to receive the offer of a saving, personal relationship with Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Unlike the newspaper information on the new car, that which Scripture offers is paid for in full and comes to us as a gift. I think Mary A. Lathbury had this in mind when she wrote, “Break Thou the bread of life, Dear Lord, to me, as Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea: beyond the sacred page, I seek Thee, Lord. My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word.” We see a “character” picture of Jesus and we learn about Him and from Him in the Bible. The next step is for us to act on the information and become related to the Person. Following that, in prayer and in the Word, seek His Presence regularly. Be not like those whom Jesus addressed in John 5:39-40, (Ye) “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me and ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.” Selah! It would be foolish to look at the new car and settle for knowing about it, when you could actually have it. It is eternally fatal for us to know about Jesus and yet never to receive Him as our Savior and Lord. Let the pages bring you to the PERSON.  Ron

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

The Supermarket Experience

Watching people in a supermarket is interesting. A shopper picks up something, looks it over and puts it back. This shopper repeats this procedure several times and then finds an item and places it in the cart. This type of shopping will often involve quite a bit of time. There are reasons usually for an item to be returned to the shelf. However, this is no way to approach Scripture. We are not to pick and choose. Everything on display in the sacred pages is for our use. Nothing should be discarded or fail to be used.  All “milk and meat” from God’s Word is good for us and furnishes a wonderful diet for Spiritual health. Unlike the supermarket, all the “food” has been paid for in full. We are free to “load the cart.” Also, unlike the supermarket, we don’t put back what we don’t like or don’t want to try. All of it is good for us. As long as the supermarket sales are good, they are little bothered by what we return to stock. When we reject God’s food, He grieves and we are malnourished. Instead of feeding at God’s table, how often do we partake of the “junk food” of this fallen world? God, through Isaiah, asks, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isaiah 55:2). Selah! When we feed on spiritual junk food, our souls are famished; when we feed on God’s Word our souls enjoy robust Spiritual fullness.   Ron

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

The Urgent “Now!”

“I’ll give this some thought.” “I can’t deal with this at the moment, I’m so busy!” “I’ll unwind a little bit tomorrow and consider this.” “Next week, I’ll start changing.” “That message was really challenging. I need to make some adjustments.” “I’ll take care of this first and then I’ll devote some time to that.” These and may other such intentions steal moments, hours, days, months, years, etc. that could be used to develop a priceless relationship with Jesus. Somehow, we just don’t get around to it or perhaps, in some cases, we give a little time and think we have been quite Spiritual. If we neglected good friends or our families like that, wouldn’t they be hurt? Does it ever occur to us that we hurt Jesus by neglecting Him? Satan is a master of misdirection. If he can persuade us to postpone action to a more convenient time, we’ll have lost a wonderful opportunity to know Jesus in a marvelous, rich, personal way. Life is replete with episodes of people suddenly running out of “tomorrows.” If we are going to come to know Jesus, first in salvation, and then in a wonderful daily walk, doing it “now” is urgent. We are not guaranteed one additional breath! Tomorrow might be too late! We know that, intellectually, but the enemy so manipulates our emotions that we “feel” that that is not likely to happen to us. It probably won’t but what about those who “felt” that way but died? James, in Chapter 4, Verse14, writing under inspiration cautions, “Wheras ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Seize the moment! Selah! Opportunities not used in “time” can never be reclaimed in eternity!   Ron

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

Victim of Stealthy Seduction??

Person 1: Are you a born again Christian? 
Person 2: Yes, I’ve received Jesus as my Savior.
Person 1: Do you love Jesus?
Person 2: I go to church regularly, tithe, give offerings, pray, sing, etc.
Person 1: Do you love Jesus?
Person 2: I help at church, try to reach my neighbors, give out tracts, support missionaries, etc.
Person 1: Do you love Jesus?
Person 2: I try to live like a Christian.
Person 1: Do you love Jesus?

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal and though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love) I am nothing and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profiteth me nothing” (I Corinthians 13:1-3).”

Selah! It is possible that one can be busy, faithful, generous, moral, etc. but lack love for Jesus. If we really love Him, we will spend time with Him and worship Him and enjoy His Presence!  Do we love Jesus?   Ron

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

The Success of Stealthy Seduction

Clever infiltration often works much better than frontal attacks. Direct attacks on people will usually result in their getting their defenses up. If Satan uses a direct attack on people, it’s not too likely to work. However, he knows that and works with stealth to seduce people. This strategy has been very successful in the church. Jesus spoke of wolves in sheep’s clothing and of wheat and tares. One use of spiritual seduction has been to lull people into assuming that they are Christians (or, at least, Christian in their actions and attitudes). People assume that because they have some good morals and are good to people that they are O.K. with God. This is bad enough, but there is something much worse. People are led to believe that by subscribing to certain gospel facts and praying a simple prayer that they have been instantly born again. Perhaps and perhaps not. Did they only believe the Truth and then go right on living as they have been right along? Has their knowledge of the Truth initiated a glorious and wonderful relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord? Has He become loved, valued, honored, and obeyed? Has to know Him in a rich, personal experience prompted us to listen to Him, talk with Him and learn more of Him? Has there been an identifying with His will and concerns? Is He truly the most important Person in our lives? If not, then our assumption of being saved may be nothing more than identifying with some local church and its stand. If we are genuinely converted, He has taken up residence in our innermost being. We long to know Him intimately, to serve Him and to please Him. We long for that time when we behold Him face to face. If the enemy can get us to rely on an acceptance of the facts only, without a deep and growing relationship with Jesus, he has been successful indeed. “Therefore, “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! It’s time for all who would lead a person to Christ to communicate, with His enabling, a full explanation of what it means to be saved. Ron

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

Certain Restrictions Apply

When we seek God’s healing in any of the areas we’ve been looking at, it sometimes seems to us that God is ignoring our prayers for help. I’d like to offer some reasons why He doesn’t respond the way that we want Him to respond. First of all, He may simply be saying “No!” He is not going to grant something that He knows would be bad for us. “….no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (From Psalm 84:11). Another possibility is that sin has cut off communication. Isaiah 59:2 teaches “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” It could be a matter of timing. Psalm 37:7 reminds us to Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him.” He may withhold something good for something better. Consider what He withheld from Joseph with the result that the Jewish people were spared from starvation. He may be testing our faith. Peter, in I Peter 1:7, tells us that, “the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” The “bottom line” is that God knows what is best and we can and should trust Him unconditionally. Selah! God would not be a wise or loving Father if He granted our every request. in fact, He would be more like a servant than the God of all. He knows what He is doing. Trust Him!  Ron

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

The Healing of Financial Illness

The first step in dealing with financial illness is to understand what caused it. For the born again child of God, there is the danger of thinking that our money is ours. It is not! Our emotions and our fallen reasoning leads us to believe that since we earned it, it is ours. We fail to take into account that it is God Who gives understanding, energy, breath and ability to earn, not to mention employment. It is God’s money and we are entrusted with the handling of it. If we use it on ourselves for things that He does not want us to have or do, we have stolen that money from Him. We are authorized to use some wisely and in harmony with His guidelines in Scripture for legitimate personal enjoyment and needs; not necessarily for our “wants.” Failure to tithe willingly is indicative of a lack of love for God. It shows a lack of gratitude and reveals greed, selfishness and our distrust of God. What we spend God’s money for may be to satisfy our covetousness. When we give, is it duty or an act of worship? Our spending of money that we haven’t been allowed to earn yet involves our going into debt. This is a clear violation of God’s command in Romans 13:8. He inspired Paul to state, “Owe no man anything….” I’m told that if we tried to say in English the way that it was given in the original language, it would read like this: Owe no man anything, nothing, no, not anything at all. We think that God couldn’t possibly mean that we shouldn’t use credit or loans. There are Biblical reasons why He means exactly that.  In Luke 16:11, Jesus asks, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (riches), who will commit to your trust the true riches?” Selah! Following the guidelines from God’s Word will bring healing financially. The healing may come slowly and it may not be without some pain. However cures are often like that. Thank God that there is a cure. If you have this illness, take your medicine.  Ron

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

What Determines Your Mindset?

Reasoning wrong or not reasoning at all greatly affects our minds and consequent behavior. Mental problems, if they are not the result of brain damage or chemical imbalance, can be of our own making. If our emotions, friends’ expectations or the opinions of people that we trust prompt action, without serious thought on our part, these may lead to mental issues. We were given minds to use, to analyze, to evaluate, to understand and to discern between right and wrong. Further, if we are guided by much of what we learn in secular education today, we can be assured of making bad decisions and experiencing damaging results in our lives. Scripture provides ample reasons to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Failure to do this guarantees defective living and assures us of eternal regret. Once we have truly surrendered the control of our lives to Him, we have access to the information that we need for a balanced mind. The more that we expose ourselves to what God says in His Word, the more our lives will be stable, meaningful and blessed. Living by Biblical principles, wisdom, commands and values leads to sound minds. God gives the Spirit “of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (From II Timothy 1:7). Psalm 119:130 adds its voice: “The entrance of Thy Words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Proverbs 2:6 puts it this way, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” As one so wisely said, “The greatest exercise of the mind of man is to think the thoughts of God after Him.” (Source unknown). Selah! The horrible things in the world today are the result of not being guided by God; The truly good things in life are rooted somewhere in God’s eternal Word!  Ron

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