Can We Sabotage Ourselves?

Can we who are born again sabotage ourselves? Using sabotage in the sense of damaging something, the answer is: yes, we can. Just as we can sabotage our health by consuming “junk food,” inadequate rest, lack of sunshine, fresh air, exercise, etc. we can damage our spiritual health by what we allow. Do we consume spiritual junk food? Is what we read, what we view, what we listen to “clean and wholesome?” If not, we are consuming spiritually — health damaging food! Paul instructed the Philippian Christians, in Chapter 4, Verse 8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true….honest….just…. pure….lovely….of good report; if there be any virtue….any praise, (is it praiseworthy?) think on these things.” These are the kinds of things which should fill our thinking! Are we getting physical and spiritual rest? What about exercise; are we “living out” our experience of Jesus? Do we lack “sunshine: (i.e.; beneficial Christian fellowship)? Fresh air? Is our physical and Spiritual environment healthy?  Spiritually, do we experience the wind of the Holy Spirit? Consumption of (internalizing) God’s Word, talking (prayer) with God, involving ourselves with brothers and sisters (the church) in Christ, witnessing (encouraging people to come to Christ), these are the things that guarantee Spiritual health! Eliza E. Hewitt, in her hymn, “Since the Fullness of His Love Came In, “describes a life that is Spiritually healthy: “Once my way was dark and dreary, for my heart was full of sin, but the sky is bright and cheery, since the fullness of His love came in. There is grace for all the lowly, grace to keep the trusting soul: power to cleanse and make me holy, Jesus shall my yielded life control. Let me spread abroad the story, other souls to Jesus win; for the cross is now my glory, since the fullness of His love came in. I can never tell how much I love Him, I can never tell His love for me; for it passeth human measure, like a deep, unfathomed sea; ‘Tis redeeming love in Christ my Savior, in my soul the heav’nly joys begin; and I live for Jesus only, since the fullness of His love came in.” Selah! Robust and vibrant Spiritual health can and should be ours. Let’s refuse the things that sabotage our spiritual health and pursue that which will cause Spiritual health to flourish!   Ron 

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

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Do you “feel” restless, useless, hopeless? No Christian needs to succumb to these kinds of emotions. God loved you, saved you, forgave you, cleansed you, came to live in you and He has a plan for you, and that gives you purpose. The workings of God in our behalf, the workings of God in our inner being, the workings of God through us, the workings of God to teach us, train us, purify us and bless us; these give meaning to our lives. How many things could be more wonderful and glorious than for God to do what only He can do in, and with, your life and mine? “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:17-21). John Newton in his hymn, “How sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,”  testifies to ways that Jesus works: “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! It soothes his sorrow, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear. It makes the wounded spirit whole and calms the troubled breast; ’tis manna to the hungry soul and to the weary rest. Dear name! the Rock on which I build, my shield and hiding place; my never failing treasure, filled with boundless stores of grace! Jesus, my Shepherd, Brother, Friend, my Prophet, Priest and King, My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring. Amen.” Selah! Destructive emotions give way when we walk with Him in faith and in harmony with His will; when we trust, apply and obey.   Ron

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

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A cluster of emotions creates a very heavy burden, a burden that no one who knows Jesus as Lord and Savior need carry. Discouragement, depression, despair and despondency are burdens too heavy to bear. If there is a physical cause to these, seek medical help. However, in most cases there is a spiritual cause. Before we come to Jesus and are reborn, these kinds of burdens are designed to help us see our need of salvation. If we truly know Him, we can surrender our burdens to Him. He is there for us! He instructs us to: “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee.” (From Psalm 55:22). Just how does this work? There are principles in Scripture for all of these. When we trust what God says and apply these principles, these burdens are lifted. For example: If I am discouraged, that discouragement can’t co-exist with a spirit that is filled with gratitude for all God’s blessings. God’s Word has help for all these burdens. Another example: We can talk with Jesus (prayer) about our burdens. He invites us to do that. In Matthew 11:28, He said: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Come unto Him to be born again; come unto Him, if you already know Him. For both, He gives rest. C. Albert Tindley’s hymn, “Leave It There,” speaks to this: “If the world from you withhold of its silver and its gold, and you have to get along with meager fare, just remember, in His Word, how He feeds the little bird — take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain, and your soul is almost sinking in despair, Jesus knows the pain you feel, He can save and He can heal — take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail, don’t forget that God in heaven answers prayer; He will make a way for you and will safely lead you thro’ — take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. When your youthful days are gone and old age is stealing on, and your body bends beneath the weight of care, He will never leave you then, He’ll go with you to the end — take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” Selah! Just as a caged bird resigns itself to its captivity and a slave gives up hope of freedom, many are so used to their burdens that they find it hard to let go of them. There is wonderful release for all who let go!   Ron

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

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Our Daily Bread recently told a story of a man who was a chronic worrier. However, a friend visited one day and found him worry free. When asked why he no longer worried, he explained that he hired someone to worry for him. His friend asked, “What do you pay him?” He replied, “$200 a week.” “Can you afford that?” asked his friend. The response: “That’s his worry!” Humorous. However it shows how foolish worry is for all who are genuinely converted. We have Someone Who can carry all our worries and He offers to do it without charge. Worry is assuming responsibility that God never intended for us to have. It’s insulting to God, when we doubt His ability and willingness to care for us. Jesus taught about God’s watch-care and provision in Matthew 6:26-30. In Verses 31-34, He admonishes us: “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (for after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” “I Asked the Lord,” a hymn by Johnny Lange and Jimmy Duncan, gives us the source of relief from worry: “I asked the Lord to comfort me when things weren’t going my way, He said to me, “I will comfort you and lift your cares away.” I asked the Lord to walk with me, when darkness was all that I knew, He said to me, “Never be afraid, for I will see you through.” I didn’t ask for riches, He gave me wealth untold, the moon, the stars, the sun, the sky, and gave me eyes to behold. I thank the Lord for everything, and count my blessings each day. He came to me when I needed Him, I only had to pray, and He’ll come to you if you ask Him to, He’s only a prayer away.” Selah! If worry gave relief or offered any cure; if it paid any bill or did our joy restore, then it might be worth it to worry for a while. Since it doesn’t, give your worries to Him and He’ll restore your smile.  Ron

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

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So many blessings come with being born again. When God’s Word is internalized; when we trust what He tells us and act in obedience on what He says, negative emotions are transformed into positive emotions. One such emotion is fear. There are three types of fear: 1. I should fear doing or failing to do something that will hurt me. 2. I should definitely have a fear of God. I should fear His judgment if I do not receive His Son as my Savior and Lord and, if I do know Him in a personal relationship, I should fear Him in the sense of reverent respect. 3. This third type of fear is a cringing, terrifying, crippling fear that acts like a spiritual cancer on our inner being. This type comes from Satan and is intended to disable and/or destroy us. II Timothy 1:7 makes this clear: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” We have power. We have the enabling and the authority of Scripture. Trusting what God says, we are enabled to let go of our fears. For example, Isaiah 26:3: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” I John 4:18 includes this Truth: “….perfect love casteth out fear.” Romans 8:6 tells us that: “….to be Spiritually minded is life and peace.” In Psalm 56:3, the writer uses himself as an example of how to let go of our fears: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” In William Cowper’s hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” he challenges us: “Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take. The clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.” Selah! Turning our fears over to God, leaves us free of that destructive emotion. God replaces fear with relief. His shoulders are big enough to carry your fears; your shoulders are not!   Ron

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

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Imagine being born a slave. It might be quite a long time before you realized that you were a slave. When you discovered that you were a slave and desired freedom, you soon found out that your cruel master had no intention of setting you at liberty. You were trapped, longed for freedom but could see no possible way of escape. How would you “feel?” Hopeless? Just having to give in and make the best of a horrible slavery until you die? However, Someone comes along Who originally owned you. He paid an infinite price to redeem and reclaim you, reconnect you with Himself. You were freed from a hateful master to a loving One. Moved by love that paid such a price to free you – you, loving and grateful, give yourself to a life of willing and loving slavery to such a loving Master, only to find that you are truly free. Consider these verses: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). Rev. H. J. Zelley gives voice to this glorious freedom in his hymn, “He Brought Me Out.” This is how he put it: “He gave me a song; “twas a new song of praise. By day and by night its sweet notes I will raise. My heart’s overflowing; I’m happy and free. I’ll praise my Redeemer, Who has rescued me.” Selah! From the depths of despair to the fullness of freedom: what a wonderful transformation of emotions!    Ron

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

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We do something wrong or fail to do something right. We justify it; we make excuses. Nevertheless, inside of us is a feeling of guilt, unless, as in I Timothy 4:2, we have a: “conscience seared with a hot iron.” This guilt that we have is toward God and others. It’s a very bad “feeling.” What if we’re found out, exposed? What will they think of us? What will be the consequences? We try to tell ourselves that we can get away with it. Sometimes, we do—here on earth. Many more times, we don’t get away with wrong. Ultimately, however, we get away with no wrong, no sin, no evil. We face God! Even if we don’t believe that, we still will face Him! We will give account in the judgment even down to and including every idle word (see Matthew 12:36). If the only sin we ever committed was to steal a penny, we would be guilty of stealing. A horrible offense against God Who is Holy! We offend His holiness! One sin would demand Hell! God’s holy law was broken! Even with seared consciences, sin does something damaging inside of us and affects others to their hurt. There is an alternative! If we admit to our sin(s), own our guilt and shame, turn away from wrong (repent) and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, then: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (From Romans 8:1). Our guilt and shame is transformed into “forgiven!” We’ve been cleansed and freed!  Jesus paid our sin penalty! In gratitude, we submit to His reign in our lives. Mrs. M. J. Harris penned these wonderful words in her hymn: “He Took My Sins Away): “The load of sin was more than I could bear. He took them all away, He took them all away, and now on Him I roll my every care. He took my sins away.” In the chorus, she adds: “He took my sins away and keeps me singing every day.” Selah! Only Jesus can offer such a full and complete pardon and free us from the judgment due our sin(s)! Has He done that for you?  Ron

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

How Are We to Understand Hebrews 5:14?

When we experience the new birth, we start our new life as babies, Spiritually speaking. Peter was inspired in I Peter 2:2 to give this charge: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.” However, in II Peter 3:18, he further charged: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Obedience to these instructions brings us to what we are told in Hebrews 5:14:  “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Age here seems to be in terms of how rapidly that we grow. The more time we spend studying, coming to understand, and applying what God has to say, the quicker we reach full age. Full age, at the very least, means we know how to apply the Word and we have become disciplined enough and determined enough to do so! This kind of exposure to and involvement with Scripture sounds an alarm when we are under attack. (See yesterday’s article). We examine what we have been thinking; we discern if it’s good or evil and we are quick to know which it is. Having practiced (by reason of use“) bringing God’s Truth to bear on our thinking and emotions, we choose to obey God and not our invaded thoughts. In other words, we are to: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil (Just as Jesus did by correctly using Scripture) and he will flee from you.” (From James 4:7). A beautiful hymn by C. F. Jones, “Deeper, Deeper,” expresses the full sweep of this growth: “Deeper, deeper! blessed Holy Spirit, take me deeper still, ’till my life is wholly lost in Jesus and His perfect will. Oh, deeper yet, I pray, and higher ev’ry day,  and wiser blessed Lord, in Thy precious holy Word.” Selah! When all human wisdom vanishes, God’s Word endures forever!   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at kowingtheway1@gmail.com

Anticipating An Attack

We are going to be attacked! Sometimes it’s an all out frontal assault, usually when we are at a low point in our lives. More often, it’s when we are off guard. In I Peter 5:8, we are warned: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” One of the ways to be alert is to understand his strategy. He often works on your thinking. He will give you reasons why you should or should not do certain things. Then, he will use your emotions! Having planted ideas in your mind, he stirs your emotions. “I would really enjoy or benefit by that!” or “I can’t do that, it’s too hard or too unpleasant!” He suggests that if it’s that enjoyable it must be all right, or if it’s difficult or unpleasant, God wouldn’t expect you to do it. Having your mind trained to bring Scripture to bear on your thinking is essential. Hebrews 5:14 tells us why we need to become adept in our understanding of God’s Word; “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” If we don’t become mature in understanding and applying Biblical truth, we may end up satisfying the “lion’s” appetite!  William Cowper speaks to this in his hymn, “The Spirit Breathes upon the Word.” He wrote: “The Spirit breathes upon the Word and brings the truth to sight: precepts and promises afford a sanctifying light.” Selah! Our options are to know the Word and be disciplined to test all our thinking, in order to be sure it’s in harmony with the Word.    Ron

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

The Spoils of Battle!

When one country defeats another country in a war, the victor takes over the enemies’ land and goods. “To the victor belongs the spoil,” the saying goes. This is also true in the Spiritual realm, with a significant difference. When we are born physically, we are born spiritually dead. (See yesterday’s article). Satan’s agenda moves smoothly on, until God intervenes Then, Satan’s sway is threatened and the battle is underway. He fights to retain his influence. God seeks us and offers freedom from Satan’s influence. The battle intensifies! Will I open myself to God’s deliverance or will I choose continued slavery to sin? I respond to God’s offer and He enters my inner being reconnecting me with His Spiritual life. However, Satan still has a toehold in my inner being and he will resist eviction with a mighty effort. God has given us the method for victory over Satan in II Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds); casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Every inch of ground to be taken in our inner beings depends on the quick and firm application of the appropriate Scriptural teaching. Let me put it another way, and this is the significant difference: as we draw on God’s promises, follow His principles, and obey His commands and instructions, the enemy loses ground. The Word, becoming more and more the basis of all that we are, do, and say, cleanses, purges and purifies within. This leaves less and less ground for Satan to occupy and he loses more and more influence in our lives. This is what Jesus meant when He prayed: “Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth” (John 17:17). The third stanza of “The Old book and the Old Faith,”  (By Geo H. Carr) speaks to this: “‘Tis the Book that tells us of the will of God, and the Saviour’s teachings while the earth He trod, how He soothed earth’s sorrows and relieved its woe, thro’ Whom strength is given to conquer every foe!” Selah! Every victory leaves Satan with less and less ground in our lives. God’s Word is the weapon to take more and more ground away from the enemy and for God to occupy!  Ron

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