What’s A Disciple to Do?

I wonder how many Christians have grasped the implications of discipleship. Could it be that only a few have really taken this responsibility to heart? Some have even considered discipleship to be optional. Their understanding is that you must be saved and should be a disciple. How can one be saved and decide not to be under discipline to our Lord? All through the gospels, Jesus emphasized that we are to follow Him. If we were commissioned by our government to carry out an assignment of great importance, would we not give it “our best shot?” Of course we would do our best! How is it that we give little, if any, priority to carrying out Jesus’ appointment? What appointment, we might ask? John 15:16 answers that question for us. Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” What is fruit? We usually limit it to apples, oranges, etc. Actually, it is any plant product. However, Webster adds another definition that more closely describes the kind of fruit that Jesus wants us to experience. Let me quote, “The result or product of any action.” God desires our lives to be Spiritually fruitful. He acts on us, in us and through us to achieve eternal results. How do we experience these particular kinds of fruit? That, God willing, will occupy our attention for the next few days. Selah! If someone isn’t interested in this subject, consider this passage: “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away.” (From John 15:2). This is not about losing salvation; it is speaking of not drawing life from the Vine. In other words, if we are born again, His life flows into us and produces fruit. If we are truly saved, we will bear fruit!  Ron

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

In Cold Storage?

There is a character quality that is becoming conspicuous by its absence. It’s more evident in relation to those that are in our special circle, although not always. Usually, no harm or offense is meant. It’s just that we’re so taken up with our own concerns or our desire to say what we want to say that we scarcely realize that we have neglected to extend it. Peter, in I Peter 3:8, includes this missing virtue in some of his closing concerns. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” Putting others ahead of ourselves, being careful not to interrupt, (very hard to do) listening carefully, alert to others’ needs, helping where possible, not insulting or “putting someone down.” In other words, show respect and be courteous. Those who belong to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, should strive to be polite and gracious. Careful attention to this could prompt some to listen more than they otherwise might listen to your testimony. Even other Christians might find, in your life, a worthy example to follow. Frances R. Havergal in her moving hymn,  “Lord, Speak to Me, That I May Speak,” prays,  “Lord, speak to me, that I may speak in living echoes of Thy tone. …. O fill me with Thy fullness, Lord, until my very heart o’erflow in kindling thought and glowing word Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show.” Ephesians 4:29 admonishes us that what we say is for the purpose “of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Selah! If you have allowed courtesy to be put in “cold storage” take it out; let it thaw out and serve it with love.   Ron

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

Unauthorized Power?

God was asleep and while He slumbered, some people rose to power and He didn’t know it! Impossible! However, we act like this is what happened, when we see rulers using their power for evil and/or we don’t like these rulers. Have we forgotten the horror which befell Nebuchadnezzar, “til he knew that the Most High God ruled over the kingdom of men, and that He appointeth over it whomsoever He will.” (From Daniel 5:21). Or have we forgotten Paul’s words to the Church at Rome, in Romans 13:1? “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. for there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God! What about Titus’ inspired charge in Titus 3:1-2? “put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man.” This respect and obedience is required toward the office, if not the occupant of that office. Obedience is required, unless to do so would violate God-given principles. Did you notice that Paul added “to speak evil of no man?” This brought me up short, because I am bothered by the current occupant of the White House. I have spoken disrespectfully of him. I’ve noticed that other Christians have as well. Some Christian and conservative organizations have also done this. Certainly we can disagree, point out where a leader is wrong, use our voting power to remove an evil ruler, pray for God to grant us wholesome leaders, etc. Nevertheless, perhaps you would like to join me in a fresh resolve to speak evil of no man, especially one whom God has allowed in office. “This Is My Father’s World,” a hymn by Maltbie D. Babcock prays, “O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King: let the heavens ring! God reigns: let earth be glad!” Selah! It has often been said that we get the rulers that we deserve. Believing and faithful prayer for revival and Spiritual awakening may bring a welcome change in our being given the wrong kind of leaders.   Ron

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

Ignorant, But Brilliant

There is knowledge that is helpful to us. How to repair a car, how to make a meal, how to avoid danger, etc. are examples of this kind of knowledge. However, when man seeks answers to the meaning of life, ignorance reigns. One may have earned all the degrees available to mankind on earth; one might be the most brilliant person on earth and still be ignorant about life. Spiritual reality can not be gained by academic pursuits! Spiritual knowledge comes only by revelation. Paul speaks of this in I Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man (anyone who has not been Spiritually reborn) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned.” Many consider this kind of understanding to be blind faith. While the unaided mind of man cannot perceive Spiritual realities, these realities are based on objective revelation. I speak of the Bible. There is an abundance of evidence that the Word of God is inspired revelation. It is the voice of God speaking to the heart of man. The only way one can appropriate its “Spiritual Truth” is when, in faith, we willingly trust Jesus to be our Savior and Lord. This is a decision to trust, unconditionally. In Matthew 11:25, Jesus said, “….I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes (newborn babes in Christ).” In John 7:17, He promises, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.” What is that will? Jesus explains in John 6:40, “And this is the will of Him that sent me, that everyone that seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life.” Those who have done that can identify with Daniel W. Whittle’s hymn, “I Know Whom I have Believed.” Mr. Whittle wrote, “I know not how this saving faith to me He did impart, nor how believing in His Word wrought peace within my heart. But I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve commited unto Him against that day.” Selah! Man will never know God except by responding in true trust to the One Whom God has revealed in Scripture.  Ron

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

A Place of Sacred Safety

We are surrounded by many dangers, snares, pitfalls, lies and lures. The pull of this old world system is strong. Even after a person is born again, the roots of the old “Adam life” resist removal. If we rely on our own ability to keep from “caving in” to the appealing temptations of the “….pleasures of sin for a season.” (From Hebrews 11:25), we will fail. There is, however, a place of Sacred safety. The tragedy is that far too many, far too often, fail to go there. Caught up in “the daily grind” many move restlessly on and are weak and easy prey for the one who seeks to devour them. There is a place where we can be safe from attack. Avis B. Christiansen spoke of this as a “Precious Hiding Place.” Her hymn speaks of this place, “Precious hiding place, precious hiding place, in the shelter of His love; not a doubt or fear while my Lord is near, and I’m sheltered in His love.” The Psalmist also reminds us of this place of protection and intimacy with God. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Time spent with God, listening to His Word, obeying Him and talking with Him, strengthens us and enables us to overcome the powerful pull of the old life. Selah! Disconnected from the Source of strength and stability, our spiritual batteries run down. Stay connected and His power will be constant!  Ron

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

Understanding “Life”

Great thinkers and ordinary folks have often thought that “life” doesn’t make any sense. For example: we are born, grow, usually marry, raise a family, work, have some pleasure, grow old and die and that’s it! If that is all there is to it, it would be senseless. However, there is one predominant reason for life. Redd Harper, I believe it was, captured the purpose of life in his song. It went like this: “You were born to find God’s love. Life has no other quest! Until your soul has reached its goal, your heart will find no rest.” All of life is incidental to this overarching purpose.” It is in this life, that we can receive or reject God’s loving offer of salvation, forgiveness and cleansing. When we receive that Gift, life makes sense. This short time on earth is given to prepare us for eternity. It can be eternity with God or without Him. Which destiny, is for us to decide. Heaven or Hell hinges on our decision. We can’t understand life without the insight which Scripture gives. The Psalmist prayed, “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers; for Thy testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:97-99). The Psalmist wasn’t talking about knowing more than his teachers in various areas of human knowledge. He exceeded them in understanding life; its purpose and meaning. We can only experience this by what God reveals in the Bible. We would be wise to make Clara H. Scott’s hymn, “Open My Eyes, that I May See,” our earnest prayer. It reads like this, “Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of Truth Thou hast for me. Place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free. Silently now I wait for thee, ready my God Thy will to see; Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine!” Selah! A very wise man was inspired to write, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7). Only with the understanding that God gives can life have meaning.   Ron

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

The Guiding Light

There used to be a soap opera called “The Guiding Light.” I think that the only guidance it gave was how to waste time. Nevertheless, there is a true “Guiding Light.” Those shepherds, who witnessed such an amazing demonstration celebrating Christ’s birth, were given understanding (light) as to how they could find Him. It was God’s message to them in those ancient fields. In our world today, that light (God’s Word) is still shining in the darkness of this spiritual graveyard that we call the “earth.” The shepherds responded to the information given to them and found Jesus! “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the lord hath made known unto us and they came with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:15-16). They knew He was the Saviour! Philip P. Bliss, in his hymn, “The Light of the World Is Jesus,” put it this way, “The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin; the Light of the World is Jesus; like sunshine at noon-day His glory shone in, the Light of the world is Jesus. Come to the Light, ’tis shining for thee….” These lyrics seem to echo Paul’s inspired declaration in II Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” That “Light” is still shining out from the pages of the Bible, when we go to Jesus and receive Him as Saviour and Lord. That light leads us home. Selah! There’s another lesson that we can learn from those simple shepherds. Luke 2:17 records the example which we are to follow. “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.” If you have the light, shine it into the darkness of the minds of those who don’t know the way.   Ron

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

That “One” Day

It was a day like no other day! It had never happened before and it hasn’t happened since. Deity took on humanity! J. Wilbur Chapman’s hymn expresses it in these words, “One day when Heaven was filled with His praises, one day when sin was as black as could be, Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin, dwelt among men, my example is He!” We are apt to be so familiar with this account that the wonder of it is lost to us. God took on humanity! Without sacrificing or compromising His deity, He became a human being; a perfect human being, the only one. He lived among us 30+ years. He didn’t come simply to visit. He was on a mission. He came to rescue and reclaim whosoever will out from among fallen humanity. Wouldn’t you think that the day He was born, as one of us, that there would have been an announcement so dramatic and dynamic that it would have reverberated across the whole earth? But there was a spectacular announcement and celebration by Angelic delivery to certain simple shepherds in a field with their sheep. Luke describes this astonishing night in these words, “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” (I shouldn’t wonder)! “And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I  bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-11). The shepherds were told how they could know that they had found Him. Once this information was given, we are told, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Verses 13-14). Selah! In the aftermath of this amazing praise and worship in the sky overhead, these shepherds headed for the scene they were told to expect. Did they leave all the sheep alone? It doesn’t matter; they believed and obeyed. We’ll pick up from these moments tomorrow, God willing. Drop by and go with the shepherds. We’ll expect you!  Ron

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

Purging for Purity

I suspect that many Christians, especially new ones, want instant holiness. If not instant, at least rapid progress toward that state. I’ve heard some say, after years of being saved, that they still struggle with wrong things in their lives. The enemy uses this lack of progress to discourage Christians, suggesting that they just don’t have the ability to live God’s way. They might as well give up trying to be holy. This tells me that some do not understand God’s formula for Spiritual purity. There are reasons why progress is slow and God’s people often experience setbacks. When one has lived at least a few years without being saved, all those years have made possible the filling of minds and hearts with much that is not of God. Those thoughts and values do not vanish all at once. Only as our minds and hearts are filled with the Truths and values of God’s Word, and we respond in trust and obedience to these, can we expect to see the old purged out. Scripture, taken seriously, has a “flushing out” effect on the old ways and values. The Psalmist wrote, in Psalm 119:11, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Paul, in Romans 12:2, admonished the Christians there to, “….be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Prayer, serious meditation on and memorization of Scripture, obedience and application lived out day by day will change our hearts, minds and lives. The more input from God, the more purging out of “garbage.” Peter reminds us that our hearts are purified by faith and Paul explains that, “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” J. Edwin Orr gave us these words of petition, “I praise thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin; fulfill Thy Word and make me pure within. Fill me with fire where once I burned with shame; grant my desire to magnify Thy Name. Lord, take my life and make it wholly Thine; fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine. Take all my will, my passion, self and pride; I now surrender, Lord in me abide.” Selah! There is no shortcut to Godly living. Regular and serious absorption of the Word of God will sanctify us and a gradual and wonderful progress will be evident!    Ron 

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

Calm in Crisis

Circumstances can overwhelm us, unless we have discovered the secret of overcoming. We can, in His strength, overcome all circumstances! Keep in mind, however, that we don’t eliminate the circumstances; they must be overcome! When Paul, in Romans 8:37, wrote under inspiration, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors (we overcome) through Him that loved us,” he had just given a list of many intensely trying circumstances. The three Hebrew young men were cast into an actual furnace. Anyone volunteering for experiencing that? Yet, Peter admonished in I Peter 4:12, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” The furnace that we may have to endure may be emotional, physical, mental, spiritual or financial (or a combination of these). We are not exempt from sorrow, pain suffering, etc. We don’t escape the fire but we can be calm in the crises! Warren W. Wiersbe wisely wrote, “When God permits His children to go through the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat. His loving heart knows how much and how long.” (I Peter 1:6,7). The secret of overcoming is trusting even while being tried. In his moving hymn, “Jesus Is All I Need” James Rowe reminds us, “When through the valley He calls me to go, Jesus is all I’ll need. He will be with me to cheer, I know. Jesus is all I’ll need. All that I need He will always be, all that I need till His face I see. All that I need thro’ eternity, Jesus is all I need.” Selah! For all who are born again, Jesus is with us in the circumstances. He will guide us through and we can emerge from the fire as pure gold!  Ron

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