Capture the Moment!

Why is it that we make resolutions and fail often to keep them? Why is that we think a lot about the “past?” We’d like to go back and change many things. We learn from the “past.” We have had experiences that we’d like to enjoy again. My point is that we can’t return to the past; we can’t go there! The ‘future” is only in our thoughts. We experience no future!” The split second that we get there, it  becomes the “present.” The only reality for us is “now!” The reason that we make so little progress, Spiritually, is that our thoughts dwell too much on the past or future. The only thing that we can do anything about is “now.” We live in the “right now.” This was the inspired example that Paul gave to the Philippian Church (and to us). In Philippians 3:14-15, he stated: “….forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark.” He could only reach forth and press toward in the present moment! He captured the moment! and so must we! Let’s prepare for the new year by starting right now to let God shape us each moment, each hour. The opening stanza of, “Joy in Serving Jesus,” by Oswald J. Smith explains how we capture the moment: “There is joy in serving Jesus, as I journey on my way, joy that fills the heart with praises, every hour and every day. There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus, joy that throbs within my heart; every moment, every hour as I draw upon His power, there is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart.” Selah! Redd Harper captured this moment in his song: “Each Step of the Way.” He put it this way: “I’m following Jesus one step at a time, I live for the moment in His love Divine; Why think of tomorrow? Just live for today, I’m following Jesus each step of the way.” This is the way to do today and in 2016 and on..!   Ron

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How Far Have You Come?

The Christian’s life is likened to a walk. This journey began at conversion and continues until we get “home.” It would make no sense to walk in place or to take just a few steps. You would get nowhere or not very far. It is a tragedy, if this is the way that we walk in the light of God’s Word. We need to assess if we are making progress. How far have you come? Are you studying and understanding your Bible more than last year? Do you love the Lord more than you did a year ago? Is your prayer life more meaningful than around this time last year? Have you studied more books on the Bible and on the Christian life in 2015, than in 2014? Have you increased your witnessing in the last twelve months? Are you more involved in and joyful in worship in your private life and in your local fellowship? Have you become more engaged in missions? These questions are not designed to discourage you but to challenge you to develop a plan to grow. We need to be determined to become disciplined in our walk with God. If you decided to walk from your home to a distant area, you would probably set a goal of a certain amount of progress each day on your trip. This is a wise decision in your Spiritual walk. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul testified: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:7). If we are going to be able to say the same, we need to be serious about our Christian life!  It’s not a game; it’s a conflict1 You and I will meet powerful and clever resistance. We need to press on with courage, dedication and determination. We must settle for nothing less than progress! Horatio R. Palmer shares timely thoughts in his hymn, “Yield Not to Temptation.” In the third stanza, he wrote: “To Him that o’ercometh God giveth a crown, through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down; He Who is our Savior, our strength will renew, look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through. Ask the Savior to help you, comfort, strengthen, and keep you. He is willing to aid you, He will carry you through.” Selah! A good soldier will carefully heed his commanding officer’s directions, counsel and orders. A good soldier of Jesus Christ’s will do the same! This is the key to progress.    Ron

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Sleep Walking

Sleep walking is an affliction that can be dangerous. We’ve all heard of incidents that ended badly or almost did. This problem can usually be addressed medically, thankfully. However, what can be done for Spiritual sleep walkers? These are those who have joined the ranks of the rut dwellers. Think about it! How many Christians have fallen into the rut of the routine? Worse still, how many have settled into the rut and are fast asleep? They continue to walk like zombies, blissfully unaware of the traps that Satan has placed in their paths. Surrounded all around by the glorious wonders of God, they stumble along sightlessly. Satan smiles and others are amused, while some pity the sufferer. They are an effective advertisement for how to make the Christian walk boring, dull or difficult. It is to these that Paul’s inspired cry rings out: “….Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (From Ephesians 5:14). The light that will awaken the “rut dweller” is found in Psalm 119:130: “The entrance of Thy words giveth light.” Only as the Word penetrates the darkness of spiritual slumber will the victim awaken and behold His glory. Note: It’s not when the Word stops at the mind. It’s when it enters the heart that the light goes on. Fanny Crosby had physical darkness but she had abundant Spiritual light. In her hymn, “Redeemed,” the light in her heart illuminated the hymn’s praise: “Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child and forever I am. Redeemed and so happy in Jesus, no language my rapture can tell; I know that the light of His Presence with me doth continually dwell. I think of my blessed Redeemer, I think of Him all the day long; I sing for I cannot be silent; His love is the theme of my song. I know I shall see in His beauty the King in Whose law I delight; Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps and giveth me songs in the night.” Selah! Only the Holy Spirit can ignite the tinder of the text and set it ablaze in our hearts. For those who have succumbed to the tyranny of the usual, Paul has timely words in Romans 13:11: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” It’s time to wake up and behold the Wonder.   Ron

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Spiritually Understanding the Bible

Many people, even some Christians, fail to get beyond the pages of God’s Word. Why? Well, first of all, any who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord can’t spiritually comprehend Scripture. Paul, referring to an unsaved person as a “natural man” told the Corinthian Church (and us) that: “….the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned.” (From I Corinthians 2:14). The Bible can be understood like literature but not as God speaking to the heart. The only exception is when the Spirit of God is using the Word to lead someone to Jesus. People, if they are willing, can understand enough to see their need and be able to decide if they will receive Jesus. What about the Christian who comprehends little of the Bible? The problem, in this case, is not realizing that the Bible is unlike all other books. Reading it without grasping its supernatural nature leaves a person unaware that God is speaking to him or her in the mind and in the heart. The message that gets no further than the mind is only intellectual truth and is little more than “interesting,” if that. Only when the heart is changed because one has understood that God is speaking through the printed page and that one responds in obedience and is willing to be guided, does the Bible become a living Book, alive with the Presence of God. Mary Lathbury, in the first stanza of, “Break Thou the Bread of Life,” appears to have grasped this reality. She wrote this about the Bible: “Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord to me, as Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea; Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; my spirit pants for Thee, O living Word.” Selah! How do you view the Book? Is it a great piece of literature? a moral challenge? beautiful stories, etc. or is it the voice of God speaking to your heart?   Ron

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What Do You Expect?

What do you plan to do to strengthen your walk with God? (I’m addressing those who have come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord). Do you have a plan? Do you realize that you need a plan? If we have been born again, growth will happen. However, it doesn’t happen by just pushing a button. You don’t grow physically that way and neither do you grow Spiritually that way. Do you usually walk away from the table when you are hungry? Are you hungry for Spiritual growth? Come to the table! Open, read, ponder, swallow and digest God’s Word. Do you plan to live in the dark without any sunshine? If you have Spiritual eyesight, spend time in the sunshine of fellowship with God’s people. Do you plan to work 24/7? If so, you won’t last long. You will suffer Spiritually, if you don’t get adequate Spiritual rest. Get alone with God in prayer! No exercise? Do you plan to be flabby and crippled? How about Spiritual exercise? Are you Spiritually strong or a weakling? How does one develop Spiritual muscle? We do it by becoming adept in resisting the enemy, recapturing ground that belongs to God and rescuing people from the enemy’s control. We are: “….strengthened  with might by His Spirit in the inner man.” (From Ephesians 3:16). If you have no plan, you plan to fail! Details of the plan are found in the Bible. If we expect to grow without our active use of the means of grace, we will pay the price in our lack of Spiritual health. We start by obeying II Peter 3:18: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” In  “Prayer Responses,” by Jon Drevits, we find these timely thoughts: “What our lips profess may our lives express: this we pray in Jesus’ name As our hearts believe we with joy receive: for in Jesus’ name we pray. In the Savior’s name we the promise claim: that You hear and answer prayer. What our mouths confess may our faith possess: this we ask for Jesus’ sake.” Selah! Let’s develop a workable plan for Spiritual growth and health and then implement it in His strength. We can then expect God’s blessing!  Ron

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What Next?

What comes next in your walk with God? If you are born again, are you just plodding along? Are you like a passive observer of your Christian life? Are you just letting your walk with God unfold or are you actively involved? Scripture often likens our Spiritual growth to a walk. A walk implies an action on our part. God takes us off of the old direction of our lives, turns us around and points us in the right direction for our lives. That’s the idea of conversion. We reverse direction. We no longer move away from God but move toward Him. In Isaiah 30:21 we are told: “….This is the way, walk ye in it.” God will provide help, guidance, strength, motivation, challenge, etc. He will not do the walking for us! He will even walk with us, pick us up and clean us up. He will give us a nudge to get going, but we must do the walking. We cannot just stand there and wait! Paul was inspired to inform us how we are to walk. In Philippians 3:13-14, he spelled it out: “….one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark.” Do you have your eyes set on the finish line, the goal, the prize? Start with some steps, pick up the pace, start to jog and break into an all out run. Go for it!  Nevertheless, we walk in the Spirit and we walk in the Word. Without the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, we cannot move forward. Take His hand, go by the rules (Scripture) and move out! In the hymn, “Higher Ground, Johnson Oatman, Jr. Has expressed the heartbeat of a true disciple: “I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day — still praying as I’m onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay; tho some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim is higher ground. I want to live above the world, tho Satan’s darts at me are hurled; for faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground. I want to scale the utmost height and catch a gleam of glory bright; but still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” Selah! This walk requires discipline. Discipline is the mark of a disciple. Being trained in and governed by the Word of God develops discipline. Discipline is not optional and there are no shortcuts.   Ron

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God Here, Now!

One of the two most momentous times in all of human history occurred around two thousand years ago. God Almighty, in the Person of His Son, entered our world; our planet. Jesus was born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem. Jesus, in a supernaturally prepared body that was untouched by sin, was God in human flesh! This unprecedented reality was eloquently described by Charles Wesley in his well loved Christmas Carol, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!” He wrote: “Veiled in flesh, the God-Head see, hail th’ incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.” This was exactly what Matthew was inspired to write: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Mathew 1:23). Jesus, God here, now was the subject of a most unusual birth announcement: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night, and, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel of the Lord said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8-11). Jesus, God with us! Deity inhabiting humanity, miracle of miracles! But, stop and think: God is here, now, in the lives of all who have received Jesus as Savior and Lord. He communicates with us today! Jesus spoke God’s Words to those He moved among while He was here. He is here, now! He is present in God’s Word! He is the key to the Word of God. It is all centered in Him! In the Person of the Holy Spirit, God (Jesus: God with us) speaks through Scripture! The Bible is the voice of God speaking to the heart of man. For all whom Christ does not indwell, God’s Word is printed information only. When one is born again, the Word speaks to him or her, Spiritually, as the voice of God! The message of the Bible is set on fire, and moves from information only to life transforming impact, in those with ears to hear and eyes to see. Selah! Unlike all other books, the Bible is alive with the Presence of God! Redeemed eyes and ears know that God is here, now! Do you see Him; can you hear Him? All who are born again will see and hear!    Ron

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Christmas Rest-ODB-12/17/15‏

Guest Article

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.  Matthew 11:28

As a boy I delivered newspapers in order to earn money. Since it was a morning newspaper, I was required to get up at 3:00 every morning, 7 days a week, in order to have all 140 of my papers delivered to their appropriate homes by 6:00 A.M. But one day each year was different. We would deliver the Christmas morning newspaper on Christmas Eve—meaning that Christmas was the only morning of the year I could sleep in and rest like a normal person.



Over the years, I came to appreciate Christmas for many reasons, but one that was special in those days was that, unlike any other day of the year, it was a day of rest.

At that time, I didn’t fully understand the meaning of the true rest that Christmas brings. Christ came so that all who labor under the weight of a law that can never be fulfilled might find rest through the forgiveness Christ offers. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). In a world that is too much for us to bear alone, Christ has come to bring us into a relationship with Him and give us rest.

What burdens would you like the Lord to carry for you? Ask Him today.

Our soul finds rest when it rests in God

Taken from Our Daily Bread, Copyright 2015 by Our Daily Bread Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49512 and used by permission

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God Has an Interest in Making Us Righteous

Guest Article-By A. W. Tozer

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the working of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).

A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to “accept” Christ without forsaking the world. But what saith the Holy Ghost? “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4), and “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). This requires no comment, only obedience.

It is an error to assume that we can experience justification without transformation. Justification and regeneration are not the same; they may be thought apart in theology but they can never be experienced apart in fact! When God declares a man righteous, He instantly sets about to make him righteous.

The error today is that we do not expect a converted man to be a transformed man, and as a result of this error our churches are full of substandard Christians. Many of these go on day after day assuming that salvation is possible without repentance and that they can find some value in religion without righteousness.  A revival is, among other things, a return to the belief that real faith invariably produces holiness of heart and righteousness of life!

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 Guest Article-By A. W. Tozer

December 14, 2015

The Christian doctrine of obedience to God and to His will is now largely neglected in modern religious circles, and many in our own congregations seem to feel that our obligation to obey has been discharged by the act of believing on Jesus Christ at the beginning of our Christian lives. We need to remember that “the will is the seat of true religion in the soul.” Nothing genuine has been done in a man or woman’s life until his or her will has been surrendered in active obedience. It was disobedience that brought about the ruin of the race. It is the obedience of faith that brings us back again into the divine favor! It needs to be said that a world of confusion results from trying to believe without obeying! A mere passive surrender may be no surrender at all. Any real submission to the will of God must include willingness to take orders from Him from that time on. I keep wondering whether the Lord’s ministers will again give to obedience the place of prominence it occupies in the Scriptures.


His servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. Romans 6:16
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