Wrestling with The Will of God?

Many people struggle with the question of what God’s will is for their lives. Do we really want to know? God has told us in His Word! John MacArthur gives us five definite things that we are specifically told is God’s will for His children: 1) Salvation: I Timothy 2:4, God, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the Truth.” 2) Spirit-Filled” “….be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is……….be filled with the Spirit.” (From Ephesians 5:17-18). 3) Sanctification: I Thessalonians 4:3, For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” (More details in Verses 4-7). 4) Submission: “Submit yourself to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well, for so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” 5) Suffering: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:…….Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (From I Peter 4:12-19). Now here’s the logical question: If we, who know the Lord, are not yielding to Him in these things, what reason would He have to show us specific areas of service and location? In other words, if we are experiencing these five things, it would be likely that He would show us where He wants us, doing what He would have us do. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Let our testimony be that of Leila N. Morris’ in her hymn, “Sweet Will of God,” She testified, “My stubborn will at last hath yielded; I would be Thine, and Thine alone; and this the prayer my lips are bringing, “Lord, let in me Thy will be done.” Sweet will of God, still fold me closer, ’till I am wholly lost in Thee; sweet will of God still fold me closer, ’till I am wholly lost in Thee.” Selah! God is far more concerned with what we are than with where we are.    Ron

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Reading Versus Studying

Some people never read and/or listen to the Bible. This is the most awful mistake any human being can ever make. God is speaking to us through the message spoken or written from the Scriptures. What an insult to close our ears to Him! Some Christians spend little time listening to God in His Word. It shows in their lives! Many Christians read the Bible; few really study God’s Word. That is a tragedy! Suppose someone gave you very important information. You scan it, maybe quickly read it through. O.K. That was interesting. I did what was expected of me. However, I take no action regarding what I read; I simply go on with life as usual. What has been accomplished? Essentially, nothing! On the other hand, suppose I thoroughly studied what I read. I learn something that saves me a great deal of money. Perhaps, I learn something very helpful for my life. Maybe, I discover something that would save my life. When I just quickly read it, I didn’t notice that very important information and so I face some very serious problems that could have been avoided and that will cost me dearly. The Word of God was never given to be “gulped down.” It was intended to be chewed thoroughly, eaten and digested. That’s how we receive the benefits. Study takes time, effort and thoughtful reflection! God, through Paul’s letter to Timothy, charges His children to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God (failure to study earns His disapproval), a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (understanding, obeying and applying) the Word of Truth” (II Timothy 2:15). Laziness, excuses and lack of respect combine to keep us from getting serious with God. In his hymn, “Thy Word Is like a Garden, Lord,” Edwin Hodder expresses some reasons why we need to be intense in our absorption of Scripture, “Thy Word is like a starry host: A thousand rays of light are seen to guard the traveler, and make his pathway bright. Thy Word is like an armory, where soldiers may repair, and find for life’s long battle day, all needful weapons there” (Second stanza). Selah! A disciple must “pay the price” to really mine the Bible. If we are serious with God, we’ll learn to study God’s Holy Word.  Ron

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

Lasting Influence

One of life’s most interesting facts is that a person long dead still influences people now living. What kind of influence will you and I have on others? Will people say, “I don’t want to be like him or her!” If not, will they say, “That’s the kind of person I want to be.” Which way it goes is very much up to us. We can be a Godly influence or we might only be a moral, self sacrificing example. If the former, our influence may bring eternal blessing, if the latter, it might help some for this life only. The worst case scenario is that we might be a bad example. That might help some to not do or be what we did or was. On the other hand, some might follow our example and be badly damaged as a result. This is why Paul gave us this inspired charge in Philippians 1:27, “Only let your conversation (manner of life) be as it becometh the gospel of Christ….” If our lives are a credit to the Gospel of Christ, some will be helped and perhaps some will be helped for eternity. I could cite a number of people who have had a profound influence upon me for eternal blessing. Let us all seek God’s enabling to impact others for their eternal good! Avis B. Christiansen’s  hymn, “Only One Life,” gives us in the last stanza, a passionate prayer that we would do well to pray, “Only one life to offer take it, dear Lord, I pray; Nothing from Thee withholding, Thy will I now obey; Thou Who hast freely given Thine all in all for me, claim this life for Thine own to be used, my Savior, every moment for thee.” Selah! We are given an immortality of influence on others. Which way will ours point?   Ron

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

What’s It All About?

Here is an interesting thing. We have many in the world that are brilliant. We have many opportunities for education. We have the greatest technological advances in history. Science has given us many good things. Still, none can give us basic explanations as to where we came from, why we are here, or where we go from here, unless they are knowledgeable as to the Bible. For example, a common conclusion, among those who do not consider the Bible, is that we evolved. Odd that no one addresses where “evolving” came from. Creation is a far more reasonable explanation, not to mention the fact that it’s the Truth. What about why we are here? From the world’s perspective, it is that we make the best of life that we can, and do what we do to keep existence functioning. However, if the grave is the end, why bother? God’s Word makes very clear that God has a purpose for each of us. We have motivation and a mission. It is to honor and worship God and invite people to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. As to life beyond the grave, stop and think. If there is no Heaven to look forward to and no Hell to escape, then life is a cruel and bad hoax. In short, there are no real or satisfactory reasons for going through a short time on this globe. The only rational and reasonable basis for life here is that this is a brief opportunity to settle where we will spend “forever,” and to challenge others to do the same. John 1:12-13 is right on the mark, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” In an adaptation of Psalm 119 by Ernest O. Sellers entitled, “Thy Word Have I hid in My Heart,” the opening stanza affords valuable insight, “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet. a light to my path alway, to guide and to save me from sin, and show me the Heav’nly way.” Selah! There is no reasonable basis for life on earth, apart from God and His plan and purposes. Without Him, life is a dead-end!  Ron

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

Faith: Firm, Fixed, and Final!

Faith is not something that we “feel.” Faith, or to trust, is essentially a decision. I trust that a chair will hold me and I sit in it. That usually works but not always. I trust a person and they never betray my trust. I trust someone else and they do betray me. I trust that I’m right and later find that I was wrong. This kind of faith is dependent on the reliability of who or what I trust. Biblical faith is firm, fixed and final because it trusts One Who never fails. Sometimes a person will “feel” that God has failed him or her, since He didn’t respond the way that it was “felt” that He should. True faith decides to believe that God knows best even when He doesn’t do what we urgently want Him to do. Is this blind faith? It would be, except for the fact that our faith (trust) is based on the inspired, infallible Scriptures. Remember that the Bible is the voice of God speaking to the heart of man. Romans 10:17 states, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” It would, therefore, behoove us to thoroughly consider all the information available to lead us to the conclusion that the Word of God is obviously God inspired and without error. After all, when we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we do it based on the absolute Truth of His Word and we stake our eternal destiny on its reliability. We decide that we will trust His Word unconditionally. Biblical faith is a decision to trust that is firm, fixed and final. I will trust God, no matter what! Studying, learning, and applying Scripture will confirm that our decision was the eternally right decision. The Bible validates itself to the one who totally trusts it.  “Living by Faith,” a hymn by James Wells describes this kind of faith, “I care not today what the morrow may bring, if shadow or sunshine or rain. The Lord, I know ruleth o’er everything, and all of my worry is vain. Tho’ tempests may blow and storm-clouds arise, obscuring the brightness of life, I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies; The Master looks on at the strife. I know that He safely will carry me thro’, no matter what evils betide. Why should I then care, tho’ the tempest may blow, if Jesus walks close to my side. Living by faith in Jesus above; trusting, confiding in His great love; Safe from all harm in His sheltering arm, I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.” Selah! The Written Word reveals the Living Word, Jesus. Jesus, the Living Word, is the source of the Written Word. If we trust the Bible, we trust Him with our lives and futures.

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

Pen-Mightier Than The Sword?

I don’t recall just who said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” However, there is truth to that. Things that have been written and have been published have influenced people greatly for good and for evil. Nevertheless, there is a sword that is mightier than the pen, although it uses a pen to make the sword available to us for our use. Hebrews 4:12 speaks of this sword, “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. “Wait a minute, you say, this is talking about the Word of God. Yes, but read Ephesians 6:17 which tells us that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Knowing how to use that sword (See II Timothy 2:15) will show you just how powerful it is! A disciple is one who is learning how to wield that sword and is gradually gaining proficiency in doing so. Remember, it is not our sword; it is the sword of the Spirit. He does the piercing; we do the wielding. “Victory All the Time,” a hymn written by Mrs. C. H. Morris gives us some timely thoughts on this subject, “Brave to bear life’s testing, strong the foe to meet, walking like a hero midst the furnace heat, doing wondrous exploits with the Spirit’s Sword, winning souls for Jesus, praise, oh, praise the Lord! Victory! victory! blessed blood bought victory! Victory! Victory! vict’ry all the time! As Jehovah liveth, strength divine He giveth unto those who know Him, vict’ry all the time.” Selah! We are to be swordsmen; He will do the thrusting!    Ron

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

What A Question!

There is a question that should never need to be asked. The reason why it should never need to be asked is because the answer always should be, “No!” However, too many times it’s, “Yes!” What is the question? The question is, “Do Christians swear? For a genuine Christian, swearing has to stop! He or she may have been given to swearing in their pre-conversion days; it may take awhile to break the habit, but break it they will. How might Christians swear? Unknowingly is one way. At times in excitement and/or fear someone exclaims OMG! Unless, we are truly calling on God, that is swearing! Another way is in anger and/or frustration. God intends for us to have victory over anger. One other way to swear is what is called “minced oaths.” I think a better name would be “substitute swearing.”  Examples: “Gosh” for “God.” “Gee” for “Jesus.” With regard to profanity, “Darn!” for “Damn!” I’m sure you can identify others. We can and must be freed from these things! How? The more we saturate our minds and hearts with Scripture, the more we flush out speaking like this. The more we come to love and honor Jesus, the quicker our hearts and minds will be cleansed and our talk will reverence Him. We can make the prayer of the Psalmist our prayer. He prayed, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Lydia Baxter’s hymn, “Take the Name of Jesus with You,” should find echo in our hearts. “O the precious name of Jesus! How it thrills our souls with joy, when His loving arms receive us and His songs our tongues employ! Precious name, O how sweet! Hope of earth and joy of Heaven; Precious name, O How sweet! Hope of earth and joy of Heaven.” Selah! “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).   Ron

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

We Never Walk Alone

People who do not know Jesus often feel loneliness and insecurity. They may not have any true friends. They may have no one who loves, counsels or cares about them. They may have no place to turn for help. They often become depressed, discouraged and despondent. Some end up taking their own lives. Others give up and try to lose themselves in a life of sin. Even that leaves them void and empty. There are “….pleasures of sin for a season.” (From Hebrews  11:25). However, “….sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (From James 1:15). A life of sin, a life without Jesus and salvation, finds its victims, eventually, lost forever in the fires of Hell. On the other hand, those who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord find purpose, meaning, hope, help, guidance, joy, peace, love, etc. and end up blessed forever, with Him in Heaven. There will be hard times and hard things. Even then, these people never walk alone! God walks them through trials and helps them every step of the way. God’s Word explains how all this works. Jesus, in John 8:12, tells us, “….I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Avis M. Burgeson puts it well in her hymn, “It Is Glory Just to Walk with Him,” “It is glory just to walk with Him Whose blood has ransomed me; it is rapture for my soul each day. It is joy to feel Him near where’er my path may be. Bless the Lord, it’s glory all the way! It is glory just to walk with Him. — It is glory just to walk with Him. — He will guide my steps aright, thro’ the vale and o’er the height. It is glory just to walk with Him.” Selah! Only the way of the Cross leads home!   Ron

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

Public Bible-Reading as Part of Worship

Guest Article By A. W. Tozer

“To read the Bible well in public we must first love it. The voice, if it is free, unconsciously follows the emotional tone. Reverence cannot be simulated. No one who does not feel the deep solemnity of the Holy Word can properly express it. God will not allow His Book to become the plaything of the rhetorician. That is why we instinctively draw back from every simulated tone in the reading of the Scriptures. The radio announcer’s artificial unction cannot hide the absence of the real thing. The man who stands to declaim the Scriptures like a schoolboy reciting a passage from Hamlet can only leave his hearers with a feeling of disappointment. They know they have been cheated, though most of them could not tell just how. Again, to read the Bible well, one must know what the words mean and allow them to mean just that, without putting any body English on the passage to make it take a turn of meaning not found in the text. Probably the hardest part of learning to read well is eliminating ourselves. We read best when we get ourselves out of the transaction and let God talk through the imperfect medium of our voice. The beginner should read aloud whole books of the Bible in the privacy of his own room. In that way he can learn to hear his own voice and will know how he sounds to others. Let him consult a pronouncing Bible to learn the correct pronunciations of the names and places of the Bible. Let him cultivate the habit of reading slowly and distinctly with the reverence and dignity proper to the subject matter. Surely Protestants deserve a better sort of Scripture reading than they are now getting in our churches. And we who do the reading are the only ones who can give it to them.”

Selah! When we read Scripture to others, we are quoting the voice of God and how we do it reveals our regard (or lack of regard) for His Word. Therefore, let us give it our best effort!   Ron

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

Suppose It Were Possible!‏

If we are honest, how would we describe our level of concern over lost people? Are we somewhat concerned, fairly concerned when we stop and think about it, quite concerned (remember to be honest), or are we intensely concerned? For most of us, the answer is probably that we are somewhat concerned. We are so busy and distracted that it’s only when something we hear or read reminds us of the horrifying reality of unsaved people’s destiny that we become concerned. At that point we care, at least until we get caught up in our daily activity again. Is there anyone intensely concerned? The Bible tells us of One who was. He bore an excruciating death on a Roman cross to prevent anyone from having to experience eternal Hell! There was someone else in Scripture who cared intensely. In Romans 9:1-3, we have a glimpse into Paul’s great heart of love. He wrote, “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….” Suppose it were possible, would we be willing to suffer Hell ourselves, if it meant others being spared? Were there others who had that kind of concern? One comes to mind (and there were others). John Knox prayed, “Give me Scotland or I die!” If we are of those who are intensely concerned, would we not find a way to witness by word and walk? Leon Tucker’s chorus entitled, “Lord, Lay Some Soul upon My Heart,” gives us a prayer that we might well make our prayer, “Lord, lay some soul upon my heart and love that soul through me; and may I always do my part to win that soul for Thee.” Selah! Has a burden for lost people been swallowed up in Laodicean lukewarmness? Will we commit to reversing the trend? Will we?   Ron

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