Heaven’s Previews

Advertisements for an event give reasons to come to it.. What is given is designed to pique your curiosity and interest and motivate you to come and see. God has done something like that in the Bible. All the glimpses of Heaven are planned to give you an appetite for the whole picture and to make you want to be there. For an event, you usually have to purchase a ticket. For seeing Heaven, Someone has already paid the admission price. We would get ready for the event and we also need to get ready for Heaven. As far as the event is concerned, if someone bought your ticket, you would have to accept it. Jesus has paid for your arrival in Heaven and His death on the cross was the price. When we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord our presence in Heaven is guaranteed. It’s very nice when someone buys you a ticket to a good event. The price that Jesus paid is beyond imagination and comprehension. The glorious truth is that He paid it for whosoever will receive it! A ticket from a friend or generous benefactor is good for a day or a limited time. The gift that Jesus offers is for forever!! To refuse a friend’s gift could be seen as ingratitude; to refuse God’s gift is the ultimate ingratitude. For those who do receive Him, listen to what He has promised in John 14: 1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” These promises are for all who receive His offer of salvation. Consider the musical testimony of one who received the Savior: “The Savior has come in His mighty power and spoken peace to my soul; and all of my life from that very hour I’ve yielded to His control, I’ve yielded to His control. ‘Twas only a foretaste of joys divine in Canaan waiting for me, where sweetest of honey and milk and wine were dripping from every tree, were dripping from every tree. From glory to glory He leads me on, from grace to grace ev’ry day; and brighter and brighter the glory dawns, while pressing my homeward way, while pressing my homeward way. If fellowship here with my Lord can be so inexpressibly sweet, Oh, what will it be when His face we see, when ’round the (great) throne we meet, when ’round the (great) throne we meet?” ( From: ” ‘Tis Marvelous and Wonderful,” by Mrs. C. H. Morris). Selah! If you have received the Lord as your Savior, rejoice! If you haven’t, receive this eternally marvelous gift while the offer is still available. It can be withdrawn at any time.  Ron

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

Stationed in a Foreign Country

Being stationed in a foreign country is quite an experience. You are away from home for an extended period of time. You work there, meet people, make friends, visit places, have a place to live, engage in social activities, learn all about the country, etc. You like a lot about the place. Once in awhile, you consider settling down there. Some actually do settle there for the rest of their days. For most, there is a desire to go home. You try to make the best of it while there but you have a longing to get home. This is somewhat like the experience of the born again Christian. They are restored to Spiritual life and come to realize that they are dwelling in a foreign country (this world). Their real home is Heaven and they are longing to go home. They try to make the best of their temporary home. They avoid the degrading things found all around them. Local people notice the difference and treat the redeemed as foreigners. Yet some see qualities that they come to value, in these strange people. They would like to be like these aliens. They are told that there is Someone: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). They are told that they can have their citizenship changed to Heaven. All who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord are adopted into His family and become part of His Kingdom. Just as Americans have a better life than most of the world, God’s true people have a better life and destiny than the whole world. When God’s people come home, they will have a perfect life! Mrs. A. J. Bridgewater’s hymn, “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be,” gives us some ideas about the home that God has for those who are His: “We read of a place that’s called Heaven, it’s made for the pure and the free; these truths in God’s Word He hath given, how beautiful Heaven must be. In Heaven no drooping or pining, no wishing for elsewhere to be; God’s light is forever shining, how beautiful Heaven must be. Pure waters of life there are flowing, and all who will drink may be free; rare jewels of splendor are glowing, how beautiful Heaven must be. How beautiful Heaven must be, sweet home of the happy and free; fair haven of rest for the weary, how beautiful Heaven must be.” Selah! Only those who have become citizens of Heaven will enjoy that “forever” home!    Ron

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

To Tell the Truth

There was a TV game panel show called: “To Tell the Truth.” Three people claimed to be a certain person. Only one was that person. The pretenders were allowed to lie; the actual person was sworn to truth. It was the panelists’ goal to discover who was the actual person as opposed to the imposters. For born again Christians, two lessons can be drawn from this show. 1. Those who are authentic can usually be identified by those who observe. 2. The pretenders often look like “the real thing.” The more the life of a genuine Christian is probed, the more obvious it should be that they are real. As to the imitators, they are often exposed. At the end of the show the imitators were revealed. At the end of life, all imitators will be exposed. Speaking of wheat and tares in Matthew 13:30, Jesus instructed His disciples to: “Let both grow together until the time of harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn.” All who belong to Jesus should be easily identified by the life they live and the values they hold. We are different! We are to, in the words of William D. Longstaff, “Take Time to Be Holy.” In the second stanza, he wrote: “Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; spend much time in secret with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be — Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.” Selah! We are to be holy. In order to be holy, we must be purified. Peter tells us: “….ye have purified your souls in obeying the Truth through the Spirit.” Paul, in Titus 2:14, explains Jesus’ purpose in sacrificing Himself. It was: “….that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” A peculiar (unique) people that are easily seen to be the “real goods.”   Ron

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

After the Party is Over!

What happens after the party is over (or should I say the meal, the activities)? Is this where the giving of thanks stops? If we limit our giving of thanks to God to once a year, is that enough? Suppose you only thanked your wife, husband, parent(s) or children once a year, would they feel that they were appreciated? Someone does a lot to help us and we wait until one day in the year and then thank them for what they did and do, would that suffice? What if God only blessed us once a year, would that be all that we hoped He would do? The sad truth is that if we didn’t have Thanksgiving Day, too many people would never thank God! Having said that, how many are thankful for blessings but not for the “Blesser?” Thanks-giving is not just a responsibility, it is a way of life for those who are His born again children. Ephesians 5:20 describes the normal response of His grateful children: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is normal for a Spirit filled Christian. Giving thanks comes from hearts that are full of psalms, hymns, spiritual songs and that sing and make melody within and that overflow to ignite gratitude in others (see Verses 17-19). Few hymns afford such a comprehensive array of reasons to be full of thanks, as does August Ludvig Storm’s “Thanks to God!” He wrote: “Thanks, O God, for boundless mercy from Thy gracious throne above; thanks for every need provided from the fullness of Thy love. Thanks for daily toil and labor and for rest when shadows fall; thanks for love of friend and neighbor and Thy goodness unto all. Thanks for thorns as well as roses, thanks for weakness and for health; thanks for clouds as well as sunshine, thanks for poverty and wealth. Thanks for pain as well as pleasure — all Thou sendest day by day; and Thy Word our deepest treasure, shedding light upon our way. Thanks, O God, for home and fireside, where we share our daily bread; thanks for hours of sweet communion, when by Thee our souls are fed. Thanks for grace in time of sorrow and for joy and peace in Thee; thanks for hope today, tomorrow, and for all eternity!” Selah! One day a year is worthwhile for concentrated thanks giving; let every day be full of gratitude and expressed to our loving Heavenly Father.   Ron

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

A Mind Manufactured Idol

We, who have experienced a genuine conversion, can fall into a neat trap. Our minds, worked on by subtle thoughts and feelings, can unconsciously manufacture an idol. Here’s how: when we are born again, God’s Truth becomes a sacred trust. We love it, defend it and strive to expose and guard against anyone or anything that tries to promote error. This is as it should be. On the other hand, Satan often hijacks this kind of faithfulness and twists it to his own ends. We can be so committed to God’s Word that we focus only on understanding it, believing it and guarding it. The problem is that we minor on applying and obeying God’s Truth. If our minds have been distracted from obedience and application, they have manufactured an idol. If we come to realize how we have been trapped, the enemy has another trap ready, right in our mental pathway. The suggestion is that we focus on obedience and experience. We are influenced to downplay doctrine and major on experience. Voila! Another idol has replaced the first one! Satan is very clever! Paul in a few inspired words in Romans 10:10 gives the antidote to both kinds of idolatry: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” We believe, defend, apply and obey! This is God’s balance! If we have fallen into either trap, let’s ask God the same thing that William Cowper asked in his hymn, “O for a Closer Walk with God.” This was his appeal; may it be ours as well: “The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be, help me to tear it from Thy throne and worship only Thee.” Selah! In Jude 3, We have been exhorted to: “….earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” In Ephesians 2:10 we have the other half of our needed balance: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Let’s not let our hearts and minds be turned to any idol!   Ron

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

When We Stop and Think About It

Perhaps, the problem is that we are so busy that we just don’t have time to stop and think about it. Now, obviously there are times when we have to be busy. Chores must be done, phone calls need to be made , errands run, bills paid, children cared for, etc. Nevertheless, we need to have some times to stop, think and catch our breath. More than that, we who are born again, must have a time to quiet ourselves before God. In Psalm 46:10, God commands: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted.” In order to obey (because of our love for Him) we need to know that some of our activities are not needed. We need to distinguish between necessary things and things that we need to refuse to do. If we are too busy for God, we are too busy no matter how important we think some responsibilities are. On the other hand, when we do stop and think, meditate and pray, we discover the joy and glory of interacting with our Creator. We experience God, Him Whom Jesus has always enjoyed. We become excitingly aware of Jesus’ Presence within us, in the Person of the Holy Spirit! We walk with and fellowship with Him. We learn more and more of His love and our grateful hearts well up with love for Him and overflow with praise and worship to the Father. This is not religion, or duty; it is not trying to earn favor. It is vital, wonderful, thrilling Christianity! It is Christ in us, manifesting Himself to those lives which intersect with ours. A tract to a waitress or waiter, a few words to a friend, an encouragement to a  Christian brother or sister, a Godly lifestyle showing the work of God in our lives, a helping hand in His name, these are a few of the ways in which people are made aware of Him. In the hymn, “Lord, Speak to Me, That I May Speak,” Frances R. Havergal gives us priceless words of prayer: “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.  Selah! If we quiet  ourselves before God and think deeply on Him, our very heart will overflow!  May He use us as salt, provoking great thirst for Jesus and His love.   Ron

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

Why Did They Change That?

You go to the store to purchase an item that you have used for years and one that you really like. You’ve used it for years and plan to for years to come. They have discontinued it. You are annoyed and disgusted. Why would they eliminate an item like that? Or they still have it, but they have come out with a new version. You try it and it’s nothing like the original. You mention to others that the new product is nowhere near as good as the original. You are amazed when they tell you that they like the new one better than the old one. How could they even think that it’s better? Now, imagine that Jesus’ 11 disciples, the Apostle Paul, and other early Christians were transported into our times and visited a lot of the churches that exist now. Would they ask why the original was discontinued or why has the content been changed so much? Would they be told that the new was better? Examining the content, would they wonder why certain vital ingredients were missing? Perhaps the wonderful taste of the original has been watered down. Would they conclude that something was missing? Would they tell us that the original was far superior? I think that, deep down in, most of us know that these concerns are justified. Would they remind us of the words of Jesus to the church in Ephesus: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4-5). We might well plead: “Lord, as of old at Pentecost Thou didst Thy pow’r display, with cleansing, purifying flame descend on us today. All self consume, all sin destroy! With earnest zeal endue each waiting heart to work for Thee — O Lord, our faith renew! Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power! Thy floodgates of blessing on us throw open wide! Lord, send the old time power, the Pentecostal power, that sinners be converted and Thy Name glorified!” (From “Pentecostal Power” By Charles H. Gabriel). Selah! Perhaps Jesus would admonish many local churches today, to remember, repent and return!  Ron

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

The Fullness of Blessing!

The early Christians were “fired up!” They lived in the wonder of the resurrected Christ! Jesus, Who was recently cruelly murdered on a Roman cross, came out alive from the tomb. They saw Him alive themselves or heard from unimpeachable sources who had seen Him alive. Restored to life, it was an amazing miracle of gigantic proportions! As this supernatural wonder unfolded, they came to realize that they were to be indwelt with His resurrection Life. He would abide in them! He accomplished an astonishing amount of impact on their world by working in and through them. We look back and ask how it is that we have such an anemic version of the vibrant faith that drove them. And the answer is simple! When we, who are born again, begin to consciously dedicate ourselves to do whatever is required to experience Jesus as they did, we will have begun to recapture authentic and exciting Christianity. We will be revived! We will be freed from the boring routine so commonly characterizing many who have been content to be at ease in Zion. We will start to live in the fullness of blessing. A “hum-drum” and unsatisfying spiritual slumber will no longer be acceptable. Nothing less than whole-hearted embracing of the Lord of the Word and the Word of the Lord will do! Are we ready for this? Will we become disciplined in using all the means of grace? Paul, in Philippians 3:7-10, gives us the motivation that would radically change our lives from a sterile lethargy to fullness of blessing: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” John W. Peterson gave us a picture of what can be. In “Come, Holy Spirit,” he gave us something to think on, something that should be our fervent prayer: “Then in an age when darkness gripped the earth, ‘The just shall live by faith’ was learned; The Holy Spirit gave the Church new birth as reformation fires burned. In later years the great revivals came, when saints would seek the Lord and pray; once again we need that holy flame to meet the challenge of today! Come, Holy Spirit, dark is the hour; we need your filling, your love and your mighty pow’r! Move now among us, stir us, we pray; come, Holy Spirit, revive the Church today!” Selah! Are we going to seek the Lord and pray?   Ron

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

Contributing to Abandonment

I have received reports and articles with the sad news that many young people (and some older people) are abandoning the church. One part of the answer is found in the previous two articles. Our secular educational system is one contributing factor to this abandonment. Ironically, another contributing factor is the church! The educational community does this because of its secular worldview, a worldview that permeates the entire educational establishment. The church, in far too many instances, contributes by default. I believe the church has a major responsibility to reverse this trend. It is found in Ephesians 4:11-14. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” In short, we need to teach the Truths that the Bible teaches, why we believe them, and how to defend them, beginning with how we know that the Bible is the Word of Almighty God. There is another contributing factor and that is hypocrisy. The pulpits need to address this and the matter of settling for an “intellectual only embracing of Truth. We need to experience God’s Truths lived out and enjoyed in our daily lives. When young people (and others) see it work in our lives, they will be much more likely to trust God’s Truth. John Ellerton addressed it well in his hymn, “Shine Thou upon Us, Lord.” “Live Thou within us, Lord — Thy mind and will be ours: Be Thou beloved, adored and served with all our pow’rs, that so our lives may teach Thy children what Thou art, and plead, by more than speech, for Thee with ev’ry heart.” Selah! We need to believe God’s Truth, be able to defend it, and let Jesus live it out in our behavior, attitudes, values and love.    Ron

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

Willing and Unwitting Accomplices

There is someone working energetically behind the scenes of our lives. He is invisible, but works through others who are usually very well disguised. They carry out his agenda, some willingly and others unwittingly. In Ephesians  2:2, he is described as: “….the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” One of his most effective endeavors (maybe his most effective one) is the secular educational establishment. Why would I assume this? Think with me. If you wanted to gain control of the world’s masses, you would want to influence their thinking. The best way to do this would be the educational system. Because, if you teach all students going through the system to adopt the philosophy that you want them to embrace, you can influence politicians, leaders in all fields, the media, everyday people, future teachers, etc. In this system you can create the impression that science and education have all the answers. You can mock what God has to say in the Bible as myth, superstition, old-fashioned and convince people that educated people have outlived all that. In the workplace, let business owners and managers (who have often been the products of the educational system) suggest that employees with views that are Biblical must suppress those views and certainly not propagate them. Well, you get the idea! The “bottom line” is that Satan has a virtual monopoly on the thinking of the multitudes. There are a few flowers, struggling for survival, among the weeds of ungodly communicators but they are drastically outnumbered, greatly limiting their impact on the thinking of students. With the flow of Godless teaching penetrating the thinking of multitudes, we would be well advised to pray what Laurence Tittiett prayed in his hymn, “O Grant Us light.” He prayed: “O grant us light, that we may see where error lurks in human lore, and turn our doubting minds to Thee, and love Thy simple Word the more.” Selah! Proverbs 14:12 warns of the outcome of a Godless worldview: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Therefore: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord….” (From Psalm 1:1-2a).    Ron

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