Seeing, At Last!

Emptiness, doubts, fears, worries, frustration, guilt, hopelessness, unanswered questions, a troubled heart, etc., with some pleasure, fun, love, usefulness, etc. thrown in. Trying to suppress our feelings of something missing, we try to get our minds onto other things. We live for pleasure, try to keep busy, lose ourselves to deadly addictions, get caught up in illicit sexual activity, take on a cause, pursue a hobby, accumulate wealth or any other means to stifle the unsatisfied cravings within. This condition is spiritual death, the blackest of darkness, blindness and lostness. We may refuse to believe it but that is what it is! And that’s how it will be forever, unless we are exposed to the Light of the gospel! When that occurs, we can keep our eyes tightly shut or truly see, at last! If we really open our eyes, we can say, as Paul did in Second Corinthians 4:6: “For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” W. C. Martin experienced this and made it part of the hymn: “Still Sweeter Every Day.” Martin wrote: “His glory broke upon me when I saw Him from afar; He’s fairer than the lily, brighter than the morning star; He fills and satisfies my longing spirit o’er and o’er; each day He grows still sweeter than He was the day before.” Selah! When we see His Truth, respond in faith and repentance, and are restored to Spiritual life, a whole new world of wonder, love and praise excites our redeemed vision. The darkness is gone; His glory shines in our inner being! Praise His name! Ron

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

The Only Adequate Explanation

Have you ever thought about how ignorant it is to assume that we ourselves and all that is around us just, somehow, happened? If that were so, we have no adequate explanation of life, where we come into the picture, or what, if anything, remains after the grave. In short, nothing makes sense! We have no reason for existence, no real or lasting purpose for existing, and no likelihood of existing after our brief sojourn here. We are a mere speck in the middle of a gigantic illusion. “Here today; gone tomorrow!” is our epitaph. Why do people ignore the only adequate explanation: God? Speaking of scoffers, Peter wrote, “For this they willingly are ignorant of.”  (From II Peter 3:5). (Peter then goes on to mention some things that they choose to ignore). Paul, writing to the Church at Rome, said in Romans 1:28: “….they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” Why is that? John 3:20 tells us: “For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 1:1-9 tells us what the light is that people avoid. The “bottom line” is that fallen sinners do not want to let God control them and direct their lives and behavior and they do not want to be accountable for their sin. So, like an ostrich, they try to hide their heads in the blinding sand of human explanations, while they move inexorably on to eternal judgment. Some will ignorantly say, “I don’t believe all of that stuff!” The only answer to that is: “What if you are wrong?” Only when one comes to the Light, does life make sense! Consider the truth simply given in the opening stanza of “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus,” by Helen H. Lemmel: “O soul are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free!” The chorus goes on to challenge both non-Christians and Christians: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Selah! Only those who know Jesus (or are willing to know Him) as Savior and Lord can ever come to a completely adequate explanation of life and find meaning, purpose and the unfailing promise of Heaven. Have you? If not, will you?  Ron

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

Do We Take It For Granted?

I’ve been pondering a matter. What does the average Christian really think about sin today? Is it possible that we just accept the reality of its existence and go on about our business with little concern? After all, it’s a fact of life so we just have to live with it. Do we? Should we? All too often, when we have a reminder about sin in our own lives, we excuse it with something like this: “I know, I should not have done this, but I’m only human.” Or is the problem that we have seen so much of it in the media, in friends and family and out in the world that we have lost our sense of how evil sin actually is? When was the last time you and I grieved over sin? Have we fervently prayed for victory over sin in our own lives? In fact, how can we pray fervently, if we have just learned to live with it? Let me add another area of concern. Could people be hindered from coming to Jesus because of a lack of conviction for sin? Sin cost Jesus deep grief, loneliness, rejection, insults, excruciating pain and more. He was persecuted, betrayed, tortured, taunted, wounded and horribly murdered. That’s what sin did to Him! Sin cost the spiritual and physical death of the entire human race. The only possible way that we could be salvaged was Jesus’ death on the Cross! Our sin nailed Him there! Fanny Crosby’s hymn, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus,” presents a vivid plea: “Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, writhing in anguish and pain; tell of the grave where they laid Him, tell how He liveth again! Love, in that story so tender, clearer than ever I see; stay, let me weep while you whisper — Love paid the ransom for me!” He did that for you; for me, for whosoever will! The loving voice of God has been heard down through the centuries: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18)! Selah! Sin is so criminal that it requires the death penalty! Jesus paid that penalty in full and He offers release from condemnation for all who own their sin and turn to Him as their Savior and Lord. In the light of such love and grace, let us never lose sight of “the exceeding sinfulness of sin.”  Ron

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

Facets of Fellowship

I wonder how many Christians really understand fellowship. Certainly, we understand part of it; do we understand that there are several facets of fellowship? When we gather on Sunday, at prayer meeting, at a Bible Study, or at a shared meal, that’s fellowship. Or is it? Maybe not! How much does Jesus enter into our conversations and thoughts? What about visiting friends, family and Christian brothers and sisters? Isn’t that fellowship? Perhaps; perhaps not. It depends on what happens when we get together. What part does Jesus have in our visit? There are legitimate things to talk about besides our Savior but is He left out of our sharing? When we go into God’s Presence (prayer) do we fellowship with Jesus? Perhaps we just dump all our cares and concerns on our Heavenly Father. In fact, He tells us to do that. We offer praise and thanks. That’s good! However, do we also fellowship with Jesus? We have a lot of things to think about. This is understandable, but do we give much thought to Him? If we are really blessed by His presence and He permeates our thoughts and stirs our hearts, and we relish the sense of His Presence, we are in fellowship. If this is a major component of our daily lives, we should be able to identify with Mrs. C. H. Morris’ hymn: ” ‘Tis Marvelous and Wonderful,” in which she spoke of fellowship: “If fellowship here with my Lord can be so inexpressibly sweet, Oh, what will it be when His face we see, when ’round the white (Great) throne we meet?” How can we experience inexpressibly sweet fellowship? First, be sure we are born again. Then, “….if we walk in the Light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (From I John 1:7). How do we walk in the Light? Psalm 119:130 gives us the answer to that question: “The entrance of Thy Word giveth Light.” Selah! For the Word to enter, we must study it, apply it, obey it and delight ourselves with Him. That’s the way to enjoy wonderful, inexpressible, sweet fellowship.  Ron

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

Zooming In

There is much that we have to deal with in life. If we are born again and are becoming discipled, there are responsibilities that require time and energy and sometimes a lot of both. In fact, it is often difficult to balance our daily responsibilities. In the midst of all of this, what matters most can be lost in the shuffle. We need to have regular times each day, sometimes brief times and usually ample times , to: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (From Psalm 46:10). Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28: “Come unto Me…..and I will give you rest.” In Mark 6:31, Jesus told His disciples: “….Come ye your selves apart….and rest a while.” Jesus got alone, sometimes for hours, with His Father. Paul spent much time in prayer. In the middle of all our often stressing activities, we miss the centerpiece of our lives. First and foremost, we need to take time to “zoom in” on our Lord and Savior, our God. How recently have you dropped everything and just “zoomed in” on Him and what He means to us? Let me add another intensely essential area for our focus: I speak of the Cross! Can we recall a time, even in the last few months, when we “zoomed in” and really thought on the Cross and on what it cost our Savior? In the wide picture of our lives, it is far too easy to lose sight of what matters most of all! Our daily lives flow on with all our cares and duties; only disciplined effort and determination will enable us to “zoom in” and fix our eyes upon Jesus. In the hymn, “A Quiet Place,” Composer Ralph Carmichael gives us these thoughtful lyrics: “There is a quiet place, far from the rapid pace, where God can soothe my troubled mind; sheltered by tree and flow’r, there in the quiet hour with Him, my cares are left behind. Whether a garden small, or on a mountain tall, new strength and courage there I find; then from this quiet place I go prepared to face a new day with love for all mankind.” Selah! Losing sight of Jesus and the Cross in a flurry of daily activity renders us bereft of the greatest privilege ever offered to redeemed beings!   Ron

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

What About Our Language?

“I swore, but I didn’t mean anything by it, it just came out.” Try telling that same kind of lame excuse to the judge the next time you are arrested for speeding. Even Christians sometimes say wrong things that they try to excuse. Why do people do this? It is because we let emotions drive our speech. We get angry and say something hateful. We share an off-color story because it amused us. Fear of unpleasant consequences motivates us to lie. As long as the tongue is under the sway of wrong emotions, the evil will continue. When we allow this, it is like we are shining a flashlight on the “garbage” in our hearts. Jesus, while rebuking religious hypocrites, revealed the cause of our hearts’ “garbage.” You’ll find this in Matthew 12:34: “….for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.”  We are saying: “What you are hearing is an outpouring of the “garbage” in my heart.” What can we do about it? First, recognize the corruption,  Next, if you are born again, ask God for help. If you are not His, come to Him. Once you know Him as Savior and Lord, you’ll have His help. Let His Word put “steel’ in your “will.” Our wills must be stronger than our emotions. Nevertheless, the source must be cleaned up. The “garbage” must be removed by a determined choice of our  sanctified “wills.” This is called: repentance! Then our hearts are purified “with the washing of water by the Word.” (From Ephesians 5:26). As this washing is cleaning our hearts, we bring our emotions in subjection to our God-enabled “wills.” We must also replenish the purged area with God’s commands, principles, values, desires, etc. With the fruits of righteousness filling our inner being, we’ll cease displaying “garbage” and start displaying good fruit. Elisha A. Hoffman, asks and answers two essential questions. The first question supplied the title of his hymn: “Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?” The second question is this: “Your heart does the Spirit control?” The answer? “You can only be blest and have peace and sweet rest, as you yield Him your body and soul.” Selah! When our body is yielded, and our soul, God is ready to strengthen our wills to do His will. Unholy emotions must be overcome by God’s Word. As the Word controls, holy emotions will follow.  Ron

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

What About Learning?

Learning, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily bad or wrong. In fact, basic learning is essential to our daily living. What matters greatly is why we want to learn, what teachers are allowed to give input into our minds, and how discerning we have become. Do we want to learn so that we can take pride in our intellectual achievements or to use knowledge to make us wise and to help others? What do we know about schools we might go to or teachers that we might listen to? Do we assume that what we are being taught is right because of the academic credentials of the educator or can we truly discern between truth and error? A corrupt source will supply corrupt information. We have two basic worldviews: One begins and ends with God; the other is God-rejecting and starts and ends with fallen people. The former looks to God Who is the ultimate authority on life; the latter looks to mankind for answers to the meaning of life and ends in the deadliest of dead-ends! No wonder the Psalmist was inspired to write in Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.” At an “Institute in Basic Life Principles Seminar,” we were given some very good definitions of three important Biblical words. Here they are: knowledge is understanding life from God’s point of view; wisdom is responding to life from God’s point of view; grace is the ability that God gives to enable us to respond to life from His point of view. Proverbs 1:7 informs us that: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” I Corinthians 3:19 reveals God’s attitude toward the world’s wisdom: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” James 3:17 pinpoints the source of genuine wisdom: “….the wisdom that is from above.” In Titus 2:11, we are told that it is: “the grace of God that bringeth salvation.” This salvation brings the life of God into our inner being and His Presence, using His Word, energizes us to live Godly. He galvanizes our wills to do right. When we exercise that will to do what Scripture teaches and refuse to respond to emotional appeals to give in to evil, we have learned a truly vital lesson. Gene Routh wrote the hymn: “I Know the Bible Is True,” in which he explains what Scripture means to us: “I know the Bible is wholly true, for peace it gave me within; it finds me, comforts me day by day, and gives me victory o’er sin. Tho foes deny with a spirit bold the message old, but still new, its Truth is sweeter each time ’tis told, I know the Bible is true.” Selah! Fallen men’s worldview leads to Hell! The worldview of Scripture leads to Heaven. Which worldview do you trust?   Ron

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