Two Kinds of Evangelicals

There is one kind of Evangelical that we might call “traditional.” These would be like those who distanced themselves from “modernists” or “liberals.” They hold to the fundamentals of the faith. Those early Evangelicals were characterized by separation from worldly things, a burden for the lost, clean living, missions, a love of the Scriptures, etc. More than a few of those who still hold to these basics do not realize how much Evangelicalism has changed from those early beginnings. There is another kind (with some sub-divisions) that still retain the label “Evangelical” but have drained it of much of its content. They have embraced some forms of worldly living, weakened on things like the total inspiration of the Bible, have introduced practices into churches that would have been refused a few years back, etc. In actuality, they have watered down “the basics,” in various degrees, so that any resemblance to the original is hard to find. I’m reminded of that timely warning found in II Corinthians 6:14-17, “….what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God;……wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,….” George H. Carr, in his hymn, “The Old Book and the Old Faith” underscores how important it is to be faithful to Scripture. “‘Mid the storms of doubt and unbelief we fear, stands a Book eternal that the saints hold dear; thru the restless ages it remains the same-’tis the Book of God, and the Bible is its name.” Selah!  Most programs, carnal methods, entertainment, fleshly music, many social and political activities, shallow preaching must give way to Spirit filled, Bible grounded Church life, if we have any hope of a true revival.   Ron


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

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Boredom

Boredom: A state or condition of being bored. What causes this? We’re told that if we are only using part of our gifts, talents, abilities, we will be bored. For example, if we are only 50% engaged, we will be 50% bored. How does this work for those who claim Jesus, as Savior and Lord? The “bottom line” is that going through the motions, without heart and complete dedication, we’ll likely be bored. Only as we give ourselves whole-heartedly to knowing (not just knowing about) Him, will we enjoy the excitement that permeates those who are fully engaged. How is it that we can get more excited about many lesser things than we do about the things of God? Those early Christians were typically, completely involved. Their fervor was contagious and ignited the spread of the Gospel message. They lived in the reality of the Resurrection Life within their own beings. They were in love with Jesus and loved each other. They were hungry for God! An anemic, intellectual knowledge of the Truth won’t “cut it.” While that may be a start, only a personal relationship with Jesus will move us out of our spiritual stupor. Being with Him, listening to Him, learning from Him, loving Him, obeying Him, honoring Him, enjoying Him; these are the things to set our hearts on fire! James said it very simply, but profoundly, in James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” The disciples that Jesus accompanied on the road to Emmaus, later remarked, in Luke 24:32, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures.” In “Breathe on Me. Breath of God,” Edwin Hatch offers what should be our prayer, “Breathe on me, breath of God, till I am wholly Thine, until this earthly part of me glows with Thy fire divine.” Selah! If we will be serious with God, we’ll not be bored or lukewarm!   Ron

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

Creeping Numbness

We begin our new life in Christ with joy, peace and gratitude. We plan on being zealous for the One Who has loved us and died to save us. We are excited to tell others. We can’t get enough of the Bible. We want to serve the Lord. We value all the means by which we learn more. We come to love and identify with those grand old hymns. We value prayer. We enjoy Christian fellowship. We develop a concern for world missions. These things and more characterize us until….. Until what? Until various strategies of Satan combine to distract, defeat and discourage us. Then a creeping numbness begins, slowly at first, to sap our spiritual vitality. Finally, it permeates our lives and we have become lukewarm and passivity robs us of the wonder and joy of salvation. And this is where too many settle down to an increasingly boring routine. Overcoming this paralysis will require a major reordering of our priorities. Quality time in the Word and prayer must be our number one concern. Every means to fan the flames of personal revival must be employed. Fellowship with serious, dedicated Christians is to be cultivated. Regular prayer for revival from a heart of yearning for God to move in our lives and churches must never be allowed to bog down in the quagmire of habit without heart. In the midst of all your daily activities, are the most important concerns of all buried under your load of responsibilities and other lesser interests?  Hosea 10:12 challenges us to, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” Can you identify with these lyrics from “O for a Closer Walk with God” By William Cowper? In the second stanza, he asks, “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord?  Where is the soul refreshing view of Jesus and His Word? In the fourth stanza, he offers the way of restoration in these words, “The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be, help me tear it from Thy throne and worship only Thee.” Selah! Are we willing? Are we determined? Will we do it? Personal revival is ours, if we are willing to pay the price!  Ron

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

Loss of Life

When someone we care about and/or love dies, we feel it deeply. How is it that we do not seem to be affected with the same depth of feeling when spiritual vitality is drained from God’s priorities. Concern for the lost seems to have all but vanished from most of the Spiritual landscape. Living separated lives appears to have lost its appeal to many who claim a relationship with a Holy Savior. Sunday Evening Services have taken on the stigma of not being as important as resting, entertainment, comfort, etc. Prayer Meetings aren’t even conspicuous by their being absent in many churches. Does anybody really care? Solid Biblical preaching has far too often been replaced with activities that may be no more than wood, hay or stubble. Doctrinal grounding has given way in many places to programs and promotions. Discipleship is left to the individual to find a way to grow; many churches have forgotten their responsibility to disciple Christians. Who is disturbed? Have we no passion for these dying embers of what was once real fervor for the things of God? Many are cynical of any possibility of genuine revival. How is that different from rank unbelief? God could use even a few who care and will unite in effectual fervent prayer for authentic deep-seated, far-reaching revival. He’s done it before when He has found Christians who would travail for a Heaven-sent movement of the Holy Spirit. Can He find the necessary “kindling” in our day? J. Edwin Orr, in the hymn, “Cleanse Me,” gives us this prayer, “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.” Jeremiah 29;13 gives the formula for receiving God’s blessing, “And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart!” Selah! Revival or Judgment? If there’s enough time left, plead with God for revival!  Ron

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

Fools

Jesus warned, in Matthew 5:22, “….whosoever shall say to his brother….Thou fool, shall be in  danger of hell fire.” While we should never call someone a fool, God describes those that are fools. He mentions a certain rich man in Luke 12:15-21 who had accumulated much fruit and goods and once he had them stored up, he planned to live comfortably and enjoy life. “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee:...” In Proverbs 14:9, we read, “Fools make a mock at sin….” Sin  profoundly offends our Holy God, a very foolish thing to do!  There are those who deem themselves to be wise. They have acquired education, knowledge and wisdom, some a vast amount. However, if it is man’s wisdom instead of God’s, it will never meet the real needs of mankind! Of such, Paul writes, in Romans 1:22, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Only a fool rejects God’s wisdom! The greatest example of a fool may well be that one described in Psalms 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God….” To observe and think on all of God’s creation and deny the existence of the Creator is the pinnacle of ignorance and folly. In “Immortal, Invisible” By Walter Chalmers Smith, we have some helpful insight, “Immortal, invisible, God only wise in light inaccessible hid from our eyes, most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious-Thy great name we praise.” Selah! Denying God’s existence and involvement with mankind has eternal consequences. God exists regardless of men’s futile denials.   Ron

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

Understanding Life

It is impossible to understand “the broad picture” of the meaning and purpose of life, apart from the Bible. In fact, life makes no sense, simply from a human perspective. If the grave is the ending of it, there’s no point in existing. What temporary enjoyment we experience is confined to a limited life span. This kind of flawed thinking has motivated a number of suicides. The popular views of evolution offer no encouragement either. If we have evolved, only as a higher type of animal, our lives are little better than the lower animals. If we might evolve to something better, we won’t be here that long. In fact, human behavior seems to be deteriorating. There is no rational explanation for all the complexity of a brief existence on a planet that is just one, amongst who knows how many. Only God and His Word provide a valid explanation of all that life is about. No one else can really explain where we came from, why we are here, why we are like we are and where is our ultimate destination. Man’s reasoning is a dead end. God gives understanding of time, life and eternity. ” For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). In the hymn, “Holy Bible, Book Divine‘ John Burton furnishes us with a good overview of God’s Revealed Word. He wrote, “Holy Bible, Book divine, precious treasure, thou art mine; mine to tell me whence I came; mine to teach me what I am; mine to chide me when I rove, mine to show a Savior’s love; mine thou art to guide and guard; mine to punish or reward; mine to comfort in distress, suffering in this wilderness; mine to show, by living faith, man can triumph over death; mine to tell of joys to come, and the rebel sinner’s doom; O thou holy Book divine, precious treasure, thou art mine.”  Selah! Why do we think that spiritually blind and dead people can give us any adequate explanation of the reason and purpose of life on earth? Let’s listen to the only One Who knows!  Ron

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

Two Options

We have no basis for what we believe, or we have absolute Truth on which we can utterly rely. There is no middle ground! We believe the Bible or we don’t. Having said that, however, believing the Bible is not like believing any other book. (Before I explain, I would remind any who might not know that there is excellent material available that confirms that the Scriptures are the Divinely inspired Word of God). We believe some books because we believe or trust the author(s). We trust others because we trust the judgment of the person(s) who told us about the book(s). Any of these books could be wrong or contain objectionable content. We read and decide if they are right or wrong or partly both. We decide if we agree or don’t agree with these books. With the Bible, we have to decide by an act of our will, regardless of “feelings,” that the Bible is without error. After we do this unconditionally, the Bible will validate its authenticity. The more that we are exposed to it, the more it will be validated. It is, after all, supernatural and the heart that fully trusts the Author will experience the confirmation. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Peter 1:23). John Cawood, in his hymn, “Almighty God, Thy Word Is Cast,” conveys rich thoughts, “Almighty God, Thy Word is cast like seed into the ground; now let the dew of heav’n descend and righteous fruits abound. Let not the foe of Christ and man this holy seed remove, but give it root in every heart, to bring forth fruits of love. Let not the world’s deceitful cares the rising plant destroy, but let it yield a hundred-fold the fruits of peace and joy. Oft as the precious seed is sown, Thy quickening grace bestow, that all whose souls the Truth receive, its saving pow’r may know.Selah! There is no other book on God’s earth like the Bible!   Ron

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