Authentic Emotions

We can have pleasant emotions from things that are bad. They will not last long; they turn sour; they can and often do produce grief and regret later on. Emotions based on our impulsiveness; emotions arising out of giving in to sinful desires, emotions not grounded on solid truth are not authentic emotions. False emotions are deceiving. We often use them to justify giving in to sin(s). “If it feels good, it must be good.” What a lie! Sometimes, emotions of religious excitement beguile us into believing false teaching. If our “feelings” are not in harmony with revealed Truth in Scripture, we are on dangerous ground. We can easily be a victim of deception. Authentic emotions are the result of sound teaching, not the evidence of sound teaching! If God’s Truth, principles, commands, etc. are not changing our lives, then our feelings (no matter how thrilling or satisfying) are not authentic. Isaiah 8:20 reminds us, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” The fruit of the Spirit are examples of Godly emotions. This fruit comes from believing, studying and applying God’s Holy Word by those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord. They do not come as a substitute for diligent obedience to what Scripture teaches. John H. Sammis wrote, “Trust and Obey.” In the first stanza, he explains it simply and concisely, “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey — For there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.” Well said! Selah! Satan, the master counterfeiter, gladly supplies pleasant “feelings,” thrills and excitement that he offers as substitutes for complying with clear Biblical teachings.   Ron 

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

Theological or Actual?

While the study of God (Theology) is fascinating and important, there is an inherent danger. One can study God for many years and never really have a vital relationship with Him. We can know about Him without knowing Him. What a tragic thing to be so near to God and miss out on truly receiving Him as our own personal Savior and Lord. I believe many in our ranks today have assumed that having our doctrine straight qualifies one as being saved. It’s possible to end our search for God by simply believing facts. Truth alone, as a body of information, only means that we have valid information. This truth is intended to lead us to the Truth; to a Person; to Jesus! He said, in John 14:6, “….I am the way, the Truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” Truth alone won’t get us to God. When we act on that Truth and open our lives to Jesus, He will enable us to come to the Father. We can purchase a book on the correct way to repair something, without ever lifting a tool. The book is accurate but no repair has been made, until we carry out the instructions. God’s Word is completely and absolutely true but nothing is accomplished until we implement its Truth. Mary Lathbury, in her hymn, “Break Thou the Bread of Life,” captured the distinction. 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.” Selah! God’s Word is alive with the Presence of God. If we only know truth without knowing the Truth, we can be orthodox and “dead!”   Ron

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

Almost There

If you are born again, you have been climbing up the mountain of God, guided by the greatest Guide of all. If you have been on the way for a long time, you may be able to look up and see the summit. You might wonder if you can keep on and be tempted to give up. Then, you hear your Guide say, “You can do it because I will help you!” This can be the best part of your journey. After years of learning, overcoming obstacles, doubts and discouragements, you have persevered, rose above defeats and failures and enjoyed some wonderful victories. You can sight the end of the climb; you’re almost there. You are a seasoned climber (a seasoned saint). Your best days may lie ahead. The Psalmist had this in mind when he wrote, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age.” (From Psalm 92:12-14). Paul, who had a daunting climb, could yet testify, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, (I’m at the summit) I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:7). Johnson Oatman, Jr. had the attitude that we need to make ours. He wrote in his hymn, Higher Ground, “I want to scale the utmost height and catch a gleam of glory bright; but still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found, Lord, lead me on to higher ground.” Or, as Stuart Hamblen wrote, “But until then my heart will go on singing, until then with joy I’ll carry on — until the day my eyes behold the city, until the day God calls me home.” (From, “Until Then” ) Selah! Keep on keeping on. On and up! Don’t stop; Keep climbing. Listen for, “Well done, good and faithful servant…..enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (From Matthew 25:23). “Look up! Tho long and hard, and dark the way, the victory is for those who watch and pray!” (Source unknown).    Ron

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

Progress on the Journey

Reaching a certain height on our climb gives us needed perspective. First, we actually reached a higher level than we may have thought to be possible. Second, we look back and see where we were and then look around and see where we are now. If we have come this far, let’s move on to the next height. We need to be going higher. The higher that we climb, the wider the view. As we grow in grace, our God becomes more wonderful; more important, loved and valued. The more we climb, the greater the obstacles. The greater the obstacles, the greater the challenges. The greater our responses to the challenges, the greater the rewards. Sooner than it appears possible at the beginning, the summit comes into view and we behold the end of the journey. From there, eternity! God, forever! Our Guide will bring us safely home. Paul, in Philippians 3:13-14, gives us the right focus as we start out, “….This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark.” We can be motivated by those who have gone higher and higher before us. Look at how God blessed them; let’s follow their example. In “Higher Ground, Johnson Oatman, Jr. reminds us, “I want to live above the world, tho Satan’s darts at me are hurled; for faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground.” Selah! The heart of those who know Jesus, as Lord and Savior, is to move ever onward and upward. Encountering setbacks and snares along the way, they take His hand; He lifts them up; dusts them off, and they resume the climb!  Ron

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

Starting Out!

Anxiety can paralyze us. It is much easier to relax in our comfort zone. Don’t take risks! Don’t get into something that makes uncomfortable demands on you. That’s the way to be safe. It’s also the surest way to miss adventure, excitement and accomplishment; to miss some of the greatest lessons and experiences of life. If you have a competent guide; he can lead you through dangers, challenges, wonderful sights and sounds, moving with him up and up to new heights and breathtaking views. You have just such a Guide, if you are born again. His name is Jesus! He knows the way. He has ascended the ultimate height and following Him will bring you there. He has all the resources for whatever happens on the upward climb. He knows how to avoid dangerous trails. He has all needed supplies to keep your strength up and imparts courage when your weary steps may falter. He knows how to protect you from unexpected attacks. He is able to cheer you and motivate you, when you “feel” like you can’t take another step. He commends you when you follow His leading. He has planned for wonderful times of rest and renewal. He has adequate water and food for the whole climb. If you wander off, He will go after you and get you back on the main trail. Every step is that much closer to the top. You can look back and be amazed at how far up you have come. Leave the status quo and start out, move up! Get underway! James in Chapter 4, Verse 8 gives us a principle to keep in mind as we follow our Guide, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” As you move on and upward, you get to know more and more of God. Could anything be more wonderful than that? Selah! In the second stanza of “Higher Ground,” we have the required mindset for the ascent. Johnson Oatman, Jr. wrote, “My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay; tho some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim, is higher ground.” Let’s make that our mindset.   Ron

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

Up for the Climb?

If you have experienced genuine conversion, you have embarked on the greatest adventure a human being can experience. You are on a walk through life with God! Walking with Him is exciting! He leads us constantly to higher ground, unless we have gone off on a side trail or turned around and started backwards; unless we have laid down beside the road and have gone to sleep or are just sitting there. If we have fallen out of step with Him, we have robbed ourselves of the wonder of being guided by God! Just as climbing a great mountain is a combination of danger, challenge and accomplishment, the walk to closeness with God has that same combination. We start with being a Spiritual babe. If we follow our Heavenly Guide, we reach young adulthood and move on to Spiritual maturity. We try to avoid the danger. If we are wounded in our pursuit of holiness, our Guide is also the Great Physician. Luther B. Bridgers wrote the hymn, “He Keeps Me Singing,” in which he reminds us , “Tho sometimes He leads thru waters deep, trials fall across the way, tho sometimes the path seems rough and steep, see His footprints all the way.” Paul had a heart to reach the summit. In Philippians 3:14, he was inspired to write, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the High (Upward) calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  In II Peter 3:18, we have the challenge. Peter wrote, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Our summit is Heaven! To reach the top of a majestic mountain affords an exhilarating view. The view atop the highest mountain pales in comparison to the eternal view of the glory land! No wonder Paul could write in anticipation, “….we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” Selah! Get in step with our Guide. Enter wholeheartedly in the adventure; adopt the attitude of Johnson Oatman Jr. in the hymn, “Higher Ground, “I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day — still praying as I’m onward bound, ‘Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.‘” Your experience of Jesus will be breathtaking.   Ron

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

Revival-Part 3

If My people will.”  
      Humble themselves
       Pray
       Seek My face and…
       turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven...”

Then, and probably only then, when the conditions are met by those who are truly born again, will God move in real revival. There will be blessed consequences! The first is that, “I will forgive their sin,.” No matter how many or how bad, there is full cleansing and forgiveness promised. The channel is unclogged and the Holy Spirit’s flow fills the cleansed vessel. Second, “and will heal their land.” This seems to imply that this healing of our land comes when many Christians get right with God. Nevertheless, God has often moved in the wake of one, or a few, who wholly yield to Him. Could you and/or I be the key? Only God knows! Let’s be available, prepared and yielded for His purposes. Mary E. Maxwell offers a prayer in, “Channels Only,” that would be fitting for us to pray from surrendered and honest hearts, “Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit hearts that full surrender know, that the streams of living water from our inner man may flow. Channels only, blessed Master — but with all Thy wondrous power flowing through us, Thou canst use us every day and every hour.” Can I encourage you to go back to the first article of this series and read right through today’s article? Then, fervently seek God for revival! Selah! Could America’s only hope of escaping judgment hinge on God’s people meeting these conditions? That appears to be the case from this verse.  Ron 

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

 

 

Revival-More Part 2

If My people….will seek My face and turn from their wicked ways.” What does it mean to seek God’s face? The idea is to desire an audience with God. This desire is to be “taken” with the wonder of His Person; to seek His approval; in some small way to reflect His glory. Spending time with Him; quietly worshipping; carefully listening; this is “part and parcel” of preparing for revival. So, where are we at? 1) Let God humble us. 2) Pray 3) Seek His face. The next thing is to “turn from (our) wicked ways.” The more sin is purged, the more that holiness will fill our inner being. It will show in Godly character. It will shape Godly conduct. In short, we will experience revival! While in God’s Presence, we must let Him expose that which is sin in our lives. What He shows us, we must not excuse, deny, justify, but rather turn from and forsake. It will probably mean that there will be a battle. “Adam” doesn’t give up easily. However, victory is possible and promised, if we meet the conditions. Returning to yesterday’s hymn by J. Edwin Orr, “Cleanse Me,” we should, attending to the things that we have thought on in these articles, identify with these words, “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.” There are wonderful consequences, if we meet the conditions. We hope to look at these tomorrow, God willing. Selah! Honestly, How badly do we want revival? How we truthfully answer that will spell revival or regret.  Ron

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

Revival-Part 2 (Contn’d)

If My People….will pray.” Obviously, this is not the “now I lay me down” variety of prayer. (That’s fine for a child learning to pray). Prayer for revival is, first of all, a prayer that deals with anything in our lives that would block revival. We own up to any sin(s) that we have been harboring and ask forgiveness and let go of these sins. Next, we yield to God. If we have the last word in what we will or won’t do, we can’t expect revival. God’s will trumps ours, if we expect God to move. Once these basic things are settled, we must be in earnest about seeking revival. Prayer by habit, without heart. will probably accomplish little, if anything. James talks about prayer that is effectual because it is fervent. Jeremiah said that one will find God when he searches for Him with the whole heart. Many churches are in need of revival. Are we seeking revival or are we preoccupied with lesser things? God is little apt to impose revival. If we are not serious about revival, why should God move? But, if we are serious, revival may come. it has happened before! Revival can’t be “worked up;” it must be prayed down. In the context of certain requirements in James 4:3-8, we are told, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” J. Edwin Orr gave us these prayerful words in the hymn, “Cleanse Me,” “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! Revival seems to be the only hope we have of averting a major judgment from God. What are you and I willing to do to experience revival?   Ron

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

Revival-Part 2

If My People………….will humble themselves….” This is not possible apart from God’s revealing to us just how bad we really are. We seek to justify, deny, downplay, excuse, etc. things that we need to admit are sins. We even try to hide under other people’s wrongdoings. “I may not be all that I should be, but, at least, I’m not guilty of some of the things that others have done.” We have been doing cover-ups ever since Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. However, there are many candid exposures of our sinfulness. For example, consider Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Add to this: Romans 3:10-18; 23. These few references are just the tip of the iceberg. We need to face up to the reality that what we consider to be “not that bad” is an extreme offense against our Holy God. If all that we ever did wrong was to steal a penny, the cross would be our only hope. Someone might ask if I’m being a little radical to make that kind of claim. God, being infinitely perfect, cannot tolerate any imperfection whatsoever! We would do well to heed the exhortation of Peter. In I Peter 5:6, he admonished, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” We own our wickedness; fall at the cross, throw ourselves on the mercy of God, receive Jesus as Savior and Lord and we are pardoned and credited with His perfection. In the hymn, “Jesus Paid It All,” Elvina M. Hall understood when she wrote, “For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim — I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain — He washed it white as snow.” Selah! His righteousness is credited to all who have been truly saved; all our sin was charged against Him and He paid the full penalty for all our sin when He died on the cross in our place. Nothing less will do! Grasping this Truth should humble us and fill us with overwhelming gratitude for His amazing grace!  Ron

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