Balancing Responsibility and Opportunity

Christians have a responsibility to resist evil. They also have an opportunity to show God’s answer to evil. In the process of standing against evil and promoting righteousness, there are often opportunities for conversation with non-Christians. If we are fighting for good laws and against bad laws, we are dealing with symptoms only. Trying to get unsaved people to do right and not do wrong is essential. We need to nip evil “in the bud.” Our opportunity is to bring those that we converse with to see their need of dealing with the roots of evil. In other words, sin! If there were no sin, there would be no evil to resist. There would be no need to promote righteousness. The true Christian wants and craves for righteousness. He or she, when they are born again, will see righteousness spring up in their lives and will see sin gradually overcome by the power of God’s Word being applied in their lives. Paul explains this change in Romans 10:9-10; 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved, for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth is confession made unto salvation…..for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Our primary responsibility is to tell people what God has to say to us about our deepest need, and that is to receive Christ as Savior and Lord. While we discharging that responsibility by resisting evil and contending for what is right, let’s take advantage of the opportunity to share God’s Word as the ultimate answer to the sin problem. If they turn to Jesus, they can give the same testimony that Jack P. Scholfield gave. It is found in His hymn, “Saved, Saved!” He wrote: “I’ve found a Friend Who is all to me, His love is ever true;  I love to tell how He lifted me and what His grace can do for you. He saves me from every sin and harm, secures my soul each day; I’m leaning strong on His mighty arm — I know He’ll guide me all the way. Saved by His power divine, saved to new life sublime! Life now is sweet and my joy is complete, for I’m saved, saved, saved!” Selah! While being a good citizen, be a good witness!    Ron

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

Unequal?

In II Corinthians 6:14, there are two words that I have seldom heard explained: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” The key words here are “unequally yoked together.” What constitutes an unequal yoke? If I work at a job with someone who is an unbeliever, is that an unequal yoke? If I help someone of another faith protest against something that is wrong, is that an unequal yoke? If I fight moral evil being promoted by government and do it with religionists and cultists, is that an unequal yoke? If I buy my groceries at a store owned by someone who is an atheist, is that an unequal yoke? Marrying an unbeliever is clearly an unequal yoke. Amos affirms that with a question: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)? In marriage, two become one. If a child of God marries a child of the devil, he or she will have trouble with the father-in-law. What guidelines do we have to escape an unequal yoke? 1. If I have to compromise any truth from God’s Word, it is an unequal yoke. 2. If I give an implied endorsement to any false teaching, it’s unequal. 3. If unsaved people have a prevailing influence on me in regard to lifestyles or convictions, that’s unequal. In fact, if my Godly influence prevails over their wrong thinking, that’s as it should be. 4. If I am persuaded to involve myself in ungodly activities, that is a deadly and unequal yoke. Guided by God’s Word and God’s Spirit, we can interact and bring truth to bear on error. Separation and isolation are not synonymous. We can’t spread Truth in isolation! In her hymn, “Rescue the Perishing,” Fanny Crosby reminds us: “Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, feelings lie buried that grace can restore; touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, chords that are broken will vibrate once more. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save!” Selah! If we are not equipped to confront error, we can be overcome by it. In order to safely interact with unbelievers, we must be equipped to overcome lies with God’s Truth. If you are not equipped, become equipped!    Ron

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

A Sinking Ship?

Is the “Ship of State” sinking? It doesn’t take an astute observer to answer that question. America is awash in waves of immorality, sins, and confusion. We, the church, are not passengers on this ship, even if we act as if we are. We are an important part of the crew! In fact, if the ship is going to sink, we are the only ones that know a way that it might be prevented. God places a huge responsibility on the church. The promise that He gave to ancient Israel inextricably links the spiritual health of God’s people with the healing of a sick land. “If My People, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I Hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14). While the primary interpretation spoke to Israel, a justifiable application can be made to the church. We are His People! Someone might think that America has gone beyond the possibility of being restored. I believe that revival is still possible and if God grants us revival, it will impact the nation. Suppose, however, that the ship cannot be salvaged. If that is so, we have the only kind of life preserver that is capable of saving anyone who will take it and trust themselves to it. It is Romans 10:9-10; 13. There is a wonderful patriotic hymn, a prayer for America, that we should pray: “God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above.  From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam,  God bless America, my home sweet home.  God bless America, my home sweet home.” (“God Bless America,” by Irving Berlin). Selah! It would be hypocritical to pray this prayer and then leave it to unsaved people to salvage the sinking ship or to offer a reliable life preserver.   Ron

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

Government or Gospel?

The number one priority of the church is to evangelize and disciple. That is a given! As to political matters, we should do our duty as citizens. If we get too involved in politics, we might get side-tracked and focus so much in that area that we neglect the gospel. Of course, that is a possibility. So leave politics to others, right? Wrong! If government is given free reign, how long will it be before they remove our freedom to evangelize and disciple? Do you doubt that this could happen? Have you really noticed that far too much of our freedom has already been eroded? If not, you are out of touch with reality in this matter. Left to themselves, can we expect most unsaved liberal leaders to go no further in their subtle and not so subtle efforts to undermine and marginalize our faith? One need only study the history of Hitler’s rise to power and how the German people were brought under Nazi control – slow, subtle and effective. The same process is underway here. With disciplined use of our time, we can major on our mission and still make a worthwhile effort to retard the advance of evil in our country. If not us, who? if not now, when? In time or too late? No amount of unsaved people can accomplish what an informed, praying, dedicated, determined and pure church can accomplish in God’s strength! In Matthew 5:14 Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world….” and in Matthew 5:13 He said, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” Notice the words world and earth. Bringing the light of God’s Truth to bear on the world and spreading God’s salt across the earth, at least our part of it, will help heal wrong and preserve what is right. Who is better equipped than, or nearly as responsible as, the church is to be salt and light? Think carefully on these words from Daniel C. Robert’s hymn, “God of Our Fathers:” “Thy love divine hath led us in the past, in this free land our lot is cast; Be Thou our ruler, guardian and stay, Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.” Selah! If we had stood up in the past against these attacks, things might not have come to this point. What will be our future, if we fail to stand up now and be counted?    Ron

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

Whose Family?

I hope you have been blessed with a good family. I’m thankful for mine. Some have been born into a wealthy family. Some have old, well established and “well thought of ” families. A good family is something that gives wonderful satisfaction. Some have been born into a very dysfunctional family. That is heart-breaking! However, no matter what your family situation is, you are or can be, part of the most wonderful family of all. This is a huge family! Part of the family is found all over the earth. Some are from different races, cultures, nations, tribes, etc. It doesn’t stop there. While many of these family members are away from home and are on their way home, countless members have already arrived at home. Eventually, we’ll all be home and will be together forevermore. You’ve probably understood that I’m talking about the family of God. That is Whose family I’m discussing.  Paul wrote about this family in Ephesians 3:14-15: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in Heaven and in Earth is named….” We, who have been Spiritually reborn, are the children of the King! Even more than that, we are children of the King over all kings. Our Family Name is the greatest of all family names! Let’s be diligent to avoid ever bringing discredit to that name. Scripture tells us that “we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” (From Romans 8:17). If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, you will always be a part of God’s family. You’ll never be orphaned, thrown out, disinherited, or exiled. Harriet E. Buell was driven from home because of her faith in Jesus. Look at her testimony in her hymn, “A Child of the King:” “My Father is rich in houses and lands, He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands! Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold, His coffers are full, He has riches untold. I once was an outcast stranger on earth, a sinner by choice, and an alien by birth; but I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down, an heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown. A tent or a cottage, why should I care? They’re building a palace for me over there; though exiled from home, yet still I may sing: all glory to God, I’m a child of the King.” Selah! If you’ve been adopted, thank God! If you haven’t, you can be! See Romans 10:9-10; 13. There’s always room for one more in this wonderful family! Ron

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

Talking About or To?

A.W. Tozer said that some (I wonder if maybe it’s many) act as if our God is an absentee God. Before you dismiss that thought, stop and think. At church, among Christian brothers and sisters, in Bible Study groups, and (hopefully) to others about their need of Him, we talk about God. Do we do that much talking to Him? These two things are not in competition with each other but it seems reasonable that we should talk to Him as much as about Him. When we talk with Him, is it like He is far away (such as in Heaven) and is it like talking to someone on the phone? Do we really grasp that He is right in the same room as we are in? We believe that He is in us, if we are born again. However, do we believe that intellectually without believing it experientially? If we relate to Him as if He is a distance away from us, how can we fully comprehend that He is right here, right now? Many reminders are found all through Scripture of His personal Presence right with us. Consider these excerpts from Scripture: “He is a very present help in trouble. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Lo, I am with you alway. In Him, we live and move and have our being. He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother,” etc. As Johnny Lange and Harold L. Graham put it in, “He’s Only a Prayer Away:” “He has infinite power, and so many things He can do; He’ll always be ready to help you, just ask Him to come to you. He’s only a prayer away. When others forsake and desert you, and you’re in the depth of despair; let God share your burden and sorrow, just seek Him and He’ll be there. He’s only a prayer away.” If we can grasp it, He is present in our inner being. This is the heritage of all who know Him as Lord and Savior. Selah! How would you feel if you were right beside someone and they talked to you as if you were away somewhere? Be aware of His Presence and talk to Him face to face in prayer.   Ron

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

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