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

Have We Followed the Directions?

We buy something that we have to put together or build and, too many times, we fail to read the directions. Sometimes, we come to regret our failure to follow directions. This is bad enough when we are talking about some material possession that we messed up; it is much more consequential when we are talking about lives. Consider Paul’s inspired directions in Ephesians 6:4 regarding children: “….bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Is there anything in these directions telling us that we should delegate part of that responsibility to the public schools? Could those teachers and administrators have any ability to do what Paul told fathers to do? Except for an occasional Christian teacher, the answer is obvious. In fact, the whole secular educational establishment is likely to teach the exact opposite of the admonition of the Lord. Tragically, too many Christian schools that used to be unabashedly committed to the fundamentals of the faith have defected to one degree or another. It is the responsibility of the home to keep children from these influences. Homeschooling or a very strong Christian school may be the only alternative to delivering our kids into “the den of the lions.” Could our current decline in spiritual and moral values be the result of people trusting their children to the Godless influences of men and women who hold a Godless worldview? In the hymn, “Shine Thou upon Us, Lord, ” John Ellerton wrote: “Shine Thou upon us, Lord, True Light of men today, and through the written Word Thy very Self display, that so, from hearts which burn with gazing on Thy face, Thy little ones may learn the wonders of Thy grace. Speak Thou for us, O Lord, in all we say of Thee: according to Thy Word, let all our teaching be, that so, Thy lambs may know their own True Shepherd’s voice, where’er He leads them go, and in His love rejoice.” Selah! We may salvage something that we damaged by not following directions; but may not be able to reverse the damage done to lives that God has entrusted to us. He expects us to follow His directions!   Ron 

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

Such Wondrous Love!

Before the world was created, love existed. In I John 4:16 we are told that: “….God is love.” If you are born again, you were loved long before you came to this earth, back beyond the creation of Adam and Eve. Paul wrote of this in Ephesians 1:4: “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”  I John 2:17 tells us: “….the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” God loves you and long after this world is gone you will still be an object of God’s love! What God said to Jeremiah in Chapter 31, Verse 3 applies to all who are truly saved: “….Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” We were rebels, enemies, aliens, spiritually dead, without hope and without God. God sacrificed His only Son to pay the penalty due all our sin and rebellion. He won our hearts and drew us to Himself. He restored us to a wonderful relationship with Himself and will keep on loving us forever. George Matheson spoke of this love in these words: “O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee; I give thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be. O Light that foll’west all my way, I yield my flick’ring torch to Thee; my heart restores its borrowed ray, that in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.” (From the hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go“). No matter how much love or lack of love that we have known in this life, the love of God far surpasses all other love. Selah! Consider Paul’s inspired words in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Ron

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

How Much Space?

There is an old saying that people find time for what is most important to them. There are some exceptions to that rule. However, as a general rule, it is very true! I’ve observed and I’m sure most of you have also observed that people interested in sports find time to follow their favorite team. Those with a hobby often devote a good slice of time to enjoying their hobby. Those trying to get ahead devote much energy to pursuing their dreams and goals. O.K., but what about God? Just how important is He? If we have come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord, how much of our daily space is given over to cultivating that blessed relationship? We usually have to fit much into our days, but how can we excuse neglecting the One Who loved us more and has done more for us, at infinite cost, than anyone on earth has ever done or will do? How lame our feeble excuses will sound when we stand before Him! Do we give Him any space? Do we give Him a little space? Do we tuck Him in, if we can find a minute, and too many times fail to do even that? “Bottom line,” is He important to us at all? Look with me at Romans 12:11: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” We should give an honest day’s work to our job. We certainly should in some way(s) serve the Lord. The central phrase is: “fervent in spirit.” More than work, more than serving Him, we need to be fervent in being with Him, talking, listening, learning, enjoying, loving and doing what He tells us to do. Can we identify with Bernard of Clairvaux’s heart cry in his hymn, “Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts?” He wrote: “Jesus, Thou joy of loving hearts Thou Fount of life, Thou light of men, from the blest bliss that earth imparts, we turn unfilled to Thee again. Thy Truth unchanged hath ever stood, Thou savest those that on Thee call; to them that seek Thee, Thou art good, to them that find Thee, all in all. We taste Thee. O living Bread, and long to feast upon Thee still; we drink of Thee, the Fountain head, and thirst our souls from Thee to fill. Our restless spirits yearn for Thee, where’er our changeful lot is cast: glad when Thy gracious smile we see, blest when our faith can hold Thee fast.” Selah! He is far more important than anything that daily clamors for our attention. Let’s take time to truly interact with Him each day in an increasing and fervent devotion!   Ron  

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

More Than “Rock-Solid” Faith

Is our faith in God “rock-solid?” I’m addressing those who have received Jesus as Savior and Lord. Or is our faith conditional? “God, as long as you don’t go against what I want or what I expect, I’ll trust You.” Will my faith be discarded when it clashes with my will?” In fact, we need a faith that is more than “rock-solid.” Rocks can be blasted in pieces. We need a faith that nothing can destroy! Let me give an example. Someone whom we dearly love dies. We prayed and prayed that he or she would be healed and/or spared, but they died. Let me add another consideration. What if they died unsaved (as far as we know). (We never know for sure what might have transpired between them and God at the edge of death). This one who died was loved with an intensity that is beyond our ability to express. It is in this kind of situation that our faith is given the acid test. Perhaps I am informed that I only have days or months to live. Am I going to abandon my professed faith? Consider Job’s response to his crushing experiences: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (From Job 13:15). Real faith cannot be abandoned. It may be shaken but will not give way. If my loved one(s), my will, my deepest desires, my expectations, my plans, my ambitions, etc. lead me to give up my faith, they are idols! Well did William Cowper put it: “The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be, help me to tear it from Thy throne and worship only Thee.” (From “O for a Closer Walk with God“). Selah! This kind of faith (more than rock-solid) comes from learning about, listening to and obeying Jesus. It is coming to really know Him and trust His love, His knowledge, His wisdom, His grace, etc. We can only do this by constant exposure to Him in the Word of God and prayer. We may not understand until Heaven but all that He causes or allows is “right!” Trust Him, no matter what! He’ll not fail you! He’s absolutely trustworthy!    Ron

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