Untouched Hearts?

Preachers used to remind us of our need of “having a burden for souls.” Paul testifies to his burden for his lost people in Romans 9:1-3, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart, for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Read that passage through, thoughtfully, without being challenged and ashamed)! Why does this kind of burden seem to be in short supply? I can see several reasons why. We have little comprehension of the magnitude and horror of an eternal Hell! We seldom hear about the place of the damned. We are so busy that we don’t find time to really think on things like this. We make excuses. For example, people don’t believe there really is a Hell, or if there is, only bad people go there. They are not that kind of person. But, we all are! Only the grace of God can change our eternal destiny. One way to have that kind of burden is to think what it would be like for us to live forever in Hell. If we are born again, we have escaped such a fate. This should be such a wonderful release that we would have a burden for others to know the joy that we experienced with our deliverance. We need to share the Gospel by any means that we can use and pray for people to be saved. We would do well to pray from our hearts, that which Herbert G. Tovey prayed in his hymn, “A Passion for Souls,” “Give me a passion for souls, dear Lord, a passion to save the lost. O that Thy love were by all adored and welcomed at any cost.” In the last stanza, he asked, “How shall this passion for souls be mine? Lord, make Thou the answer clear; help me to throw out the old life-line to those who are struggling near.” Then, in the chorus, he cries out, “Jesus, I long, I long to be winning men who are lost and constantly sinning; O may this hour be one of beginning the story of pardon to tell.” Selah! God, give us as much of your love for those who are lost as we can possibly hold!    Ron

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

A Pretty Much Forgotten Word

It would be bad for a particular word to vanish from the Christian’s vocabulary; it is worse still for the meaning of it to be left out of a Christian’s life. It’s an old word evidently packed away, out of sight. However, we need to get it back out, brush it off and put it to use. I’m talking about consecration. It has the meaning of completely dedicated, fully committed, given wholly over to. Paul explains it in the familiar Romans 12:1-2 passage as requiring (out of love and gratitude) making ourselves a living sacrifice to Jesus; putting ourselves on the altar to stay. The Apostle brings out a different facet of this same subject in Galatians 6:14 where he wrote, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” in other words, we are dead to the world system; we have written it off and the world has written us off. The more consecrated that we are, the less the world has any hope of drawing us back into its ways, values and thinking. Consider the hymn, “More Like the Master,” by Charles H. Gabriel. In the chorus, he wrote, “Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone: take Thou my heart and make it all Thine Own. Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore, wash me and keep me Thine forever more.” Selah! This whole world system will vanish completely one day, perhaps soon! We who know Jesus as Savior and Lord are solidly grounded on the Rock, forever! The temporal will give way; the eternal abides forever!   Ron

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

A Message Rarely Heard

In our day, Biblical messages cover a wide range of subjects. There is one message rarely heard today and it’s one that is urgently needed. Do you have any idea what that message might be? Let me reminisce. When I was in my late teens, altar calls were given for those who were willing to receive Jesus as Savior. Altar calls were also given for those who were willing to turn over their lives to serve God in any way He called them to serve. Missionaries asked people to come forward who would obey the call to missions, if God called them to it. In other words, were we willing to turn our lives and futures over to His will and control? Our pulpits and conferences rarely preach this kind of message today. Could that account for many going off in other directions; perhaps in directions of their own choosing? Have we forgotten this kind of challenge? Is it possible that we assume young people (and older people as well), wouldn’t respond favorably to that kind of challenge? Could this account for a lack of serious commitment among many in our day? Perhaps it’s time to ask if there are any who would willingly surrender everything to whatever God wills? I wonder! A gospel that doesn’t cost anything may not be worth much; the true gospel cost our Savior everything. why should we settle for less? On a personal note, I’ve never regretted giving up my own ideas and yielding to His will. He deserves our “all!”  B.B. McKinney put it well in the hymn, “Wherever He leads I’ll Go.” “Take up thy cross and follow Me,” I heard my Master say; “I gave My life to ransom thee – surrender your all today.” He drew me closer to His side, I sought His will to know; and in that will I now abide – wherever He leads I’ll go.  It may be thru the shadows dim or o’er the stormy sea; I take my cross and follow Him – wherever He leadeth me. My heart, my life, my all I bring to Christ who loves me so; He is my Master, Lord and King – wherever He leads I’ll go.” Selah! Being in the will of God demands personal sacrifice, but offers wonderful joy. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).       Ron

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

Secret Orders

There is in human nature a desire to be a part of some club or group. For a large number, their desire to belong leads them to unite with a secret order. This can lead to some very mistaken involvement. While this course of action is understandable for unsaved people that have no better way to invest time and energy, it is distressing for one who claims to be born again to become involved. This is a clear violation of II Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” The application of this command is too often limited to the matter of marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. While this should never be considered, it also applies to other areas as well. Why would we want close fellowship with those who are not of the family of God? We, who have experienced genuine conversion, are part of the greatest fellowship on earth, the Church; the Body of Christ! Our time, energy, and resources should be dedicated to advancing His Church, not supporting a group that is governed by a worldview totally in conflict with the clear teaching of God’s Word. That kind of worldview needs to be rejected by God’s people. In, “Be Thou My Vision,” an 8th century Irish hymn, we find expression of that which should drive us, “Riches I heed not nor man’s empty praise – Thou mine inheritance now and always; thou and Thou only be first in my heart – High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art.” Selah! People are often drawn into these secret orders because these orders do many good things; because the people who are in them seem to be good people; because the members are there for each other, etc. However, as they become members and advance to the highest echelons in these groups, they find demonic influences and escape becomes almost impossible. If this seems extreme, I suggest that you go online and click trustworthy links to those who have exposed them thoroughly. “Not all that glitters is gold,” someone wisely said.   Ron

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

Under Enemy Control

I’ve never been accused of being “a radical.” That may change with this article. However, it shouldn’t take a lot of research to validate my conclusions. With some encouraging exceptions, the public schools and secular colleges and institutions have done truly major damage to our country and our citizens. Even some “Christian” colleges have had a share. With liberal philosophies and influences, we have tried to justify various forms of immorality, taught evolutionary theories as scientific fact, rejected God’s Truth, embraced the assumption that the end justifies the means, fought for abortion on demand, tried to remove God from the nation, undermined religious freedom, tried to remove the Ten Commandments from the public square, are trying to separate our nation from its historic Christian roots, etc. These are only some things that are going on in our once great country. I, personally, have no doubt that we are on the brink of profound judgment. God has been astonishingly patient, but for how much longer? We don’t know. Nevertheless, it could be sudden and soon! The serious problems that we face are the direct result of offending a Holy God. Who could be more pleased with this moral plunge than the enemy of our souls? “….the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.” (From II Corinthians 4:4). We are in urgent and desperate need of revival in the church and a Spiritual awakening in our world and our country. Lethargy in the church and rebellion in the world is a perfect recipe for experiencing an outpouring of God’s wrath. Is there time for repentance and   revival? Only God knows. II Chronicles 7:14 offers hope, “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” Add to that, “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that  without  remedy” (Proverbs 29:1). Selah! We need the counteracting power of a revived church to reverse the tide of ungodliness that is engulfing our world.   Ron

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

 

Has Prayer Become Unbalanced?

Why is prayer often unexciting? Why do we treat it as something that may be helpful? Why, in prayer meeting (if you have a prayer meeting), does prayer seem simply like a list of things we want God to fix? Why is our private prayer (if we have private prayer) like something that we need to work in somehow, because that is what Christians do? Have we completely lost sight of what prayer really is? Do we grasp that we are talking to God!? This is so vital to understand that I’m going to repeat my question: Do we grasp that we are talking to God!? Do we tell Him how much we love Him? Are we filled with gratitude for Himself, His goodness, kindness, grace, mercy, provision, etc.? Are we caught up in the wonder of His Person and attributes? Do we worship? Do we praise, admire, adore? Do we listen; listen carefully? Do we pray for our brothers and sisters in God’s family? Or, is our praying mostly confined to a list of needs? If so, no wonder that prayer is reduced to the status of a “religious” duty! I’ve prayed! I’ve done my duty! Now, I can get on with life. That kind of prayer can only be more and more boring. It’s unbalanced! It’s a scandal that talking to some famous person: athlete, political leader, movie star or other kind of celebrity excites us while talking to Almighty God is treated as a responsibility that we need to get behind us. In Psalm 100:4, we are instructed to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” This is not done as a formula but is the outpouring of a heart of love for such a God as ours! Paul, inspired to admonish the church at Philippi (and us who are born again, as well) wrote “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:4;6). Requests are important to God because He loves us, but are incidental to the thrill of enjoying His Presence and having an opportunity to tell Him how much we love and appreciate and value Him. Cleland B. McAFEE, in his hymn, “Near to the Heart of God,” reminds us, “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God, a place where we our Savior meet near to the heart of God. There is a place of full release, near to the heart of God, a place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God. O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God, hold us who wait before Thee near to the heart of God.” (Emphasis, mine). Selah! Enjoying, loving, honoring, praising, thanking, etc.; then requests turned over to Him, trusting Him to handle them as He knows best; that’s balance!   Ron

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

What Prayer Moves God?

Sometimes, it seems as if God doesn’t hear when we come to Him. If, however, our hearts are right, He does hear! That leads me to ask of myself, and of you, some questions. First, are our requests motivated by a genuine concern for God’s will? “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (I John 5:14-15). The “bottom line” here is this: is our petition according to the will of God? When we ask God for something and there seems to be no response, go to the Word, see if we are in harmony with or in conflict with God’s Word. Second, what motives prompt our requests? Do we want what He wants? Are we just doing the “Christian thing” or are we earnestly desiring God to do what He knows is best? Or, do we want Him to do whatever we want of Him, as if He were our servant to satisfy every desire that we have?  Third, do we come with true concern for people’s needs or do we say, as a matter of habit, I’ll/We’ll pray for you. Then, do we mention the need to God and feel that we’ve done our duty? Perhaps, we can sometimes be part of the answer. Are we really concerned for the individual(s) or do we pray and forget it? Finally, is prayer a wonderful, personal  time of talking things over with, and sharing our burdens with, the One Who loves us? Or, are we only doing a “religious” thing? In the third stanza of the hymn, “Renew Thy Church, Her Ministries Restore,” Kenneth L. Cober shares a prayer that we would do well to make our prayer. He wrote, “Teach us to pray, for Thou art ever near: Thy still voice let us hear. Our souls are restless till they rest in Thee: this our glad destiny. Before Thy Presence keep us still, that we may find for us Thy will and seek Thy guidance ev’ry day: Teach us, Lord, how to pray!” Selah! Hearts on fire with love for God and ignited by His love for us, will soon learn to talk to Him in confidence that His will is best!   Ron

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