Let An Emotion Rule Us?

I’ve stressed in a number of articles that we should not go by “feelings.” We should base our beliefs and behavior on solid Biblical Truth. However, there is one “emotion” that should reign daily in our lives. While this is true, there’s a “catch.” Paul wrote to the Colossian Church (and to us) about this in Colossians 3:15: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Notice that Paul said let, not make peace rule in our hearts. The “catch” is that, in order for this peace to rule, we must ingest and digest God’s Word faithfully. Scripture has to not only give us information but we have to implement that information. In other words, when a born again Christian studies, applies and obeys, peace will take over in his or her life. When peace is absent, we are not implementing Biblical Truth. “O God of Love, O King of Peace,”, a hymn by H. W. Baker, describes a Bible-based peace that Christians experience when they know and believe the Word of Truth: “O God of love, O King of peace, make wars throughout the world to cease; the wrath of sinful man restrain; give peace, O God, give peace again! Remember, Lord, Thy works of old, the wonders that Thy people told; remember not our sins’ dark stain; give peace, O God, give peace again! Whom shall we trust but Thee, O Lord?  Where rest but on Thy Faithful Word? None ever called on Thee in vain: give peace, O God, give peace again! Where saints and angels dwell above, all hearts are knit in holy love; O bind us in that heav’nly chain: give peace, O God, give peace again! Selah!  “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The word “keep” in this verse has been understood as God’s peace being a protective shelter surrounding our hearts and minds. Peace reigns within the shelter!   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail

 

 

 

Faith That is Self-Validating!

Saying that I have faith without demonstrating the results of faith is like saying I believe the Bible but I do not apply it.  Faith that doesn’t produce results in and through our lives is only “information” that we believe to be true but of which we make no use. James 2:17 reminds us that: “….faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” The faith that justifies us will, without works, nevertheless issue in works! The Thessalonian Christians’ active faith brought commendation from Paul. In I Thessalonians 1:3, he wrote: “….remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.” News about the changes in them spread far and wide. In Verses 9-10, Paul continues: “….ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from Heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus.” People could see the changes. Do people see the changes that Jesus, through our faith, has brought about in our lives? Anna F. Oakley wrote this gospel song, “What a wonderful change in my heart there has been,” in which she describes the results of true faith: “What a wonderful change in my heart there has been, since the Saviour’s dear love I first knew; I am free from the bondage and fetters of sin, for He saves me, and He will save you. Ev’ry day, ev’ry hour, I am walking with Him, He’s an unfailing Friend, strong and true; there’s a light in my soul that shall never grow dim, for He saves me, and He will save you. As a child of His grace, ev’ry promise is mine, He will keep me the whole journey thro’; not a foe shall I fear, nor a shadow of time, for He saves me, and He will save you. He saves me, He saves me today, and His love in my heart doth renew; blessed Saviour divine, I am His, He is mine for He saves me, and He will save you.” Selah! Biblical faith radically changes lives; we are being made more and more like Him! Applying the Word is the means!   Ron

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

Are You Thinking Ahead?

For those who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord, the Bible warns of impending eternal judgment, and informs them, in John 3:36, of the two choices: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Those are the only options! We can believe and be saved or believe not, and be eternally under the wrath of God! But what of those who truly believe? Are we so “caught up” in the affairs of this life that we give little time to thinking ahead? This world, thank God, is brief; our real home is forever! Are we thinking ahead? Are we ordering our lives with eternity’s values in view? Do we want to, will we, hear Him say, “….Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord (Matthew 25:23). This is why Paul was inspired to urge us, in Colossians 3:2, to Set y(our) affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Let this hymn, “Nothing but Leaves,” by William J. Henry, be a serious challenge to us to think ahead: “Nothing but leaves I’ve gathered, yes, nothing but worthless leaves, when from the field of labor others bring golden sheaves; then in the day of judgment shall I be found with tares, when God rewards the faithful with crowns of shining stars. Nothing but leaves I’ve gathered, so sad, but, alas, ’tis true, what I have done I never, nevermore can undo; past is the harvest season, the summer has come and gone, reaping for future burning the thorns and briars I’ve sown. Nothing but leaves I’ve gathered, dear sinner, oh, hear the cry; swiftly your days are passing, soon you’ll be called to die; what are the seeds you’re sowing? what will you reap at last? Sometime you’ll surely gather sheaves from the seeds you’ve cast. Gathering nothing but leaves, gathering nothing but leaves; spending life’s precious moments gathering nothing but leaves.” Selah! Time squandered can never be reclaimed! Gather fruit now that will be enjoyed forever.    Ron
Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Reasons for Rejoicing

For those who are born again, there are countless reasons for rejoicing. I’m not thinking about things like food, clothing, shelter, and many other blessings. For these, we should be very grateful. For the genuinely converted believer, here is a sampling of reasons for rejoicing: Jesus was crucified for us! He loved us enough to allow His creatures to do that. He enters in to a personal relationship with us. He forgives us for and cleanses us from our sin(s). He listens to us and talks with us. He gives us counsel, training, guidance, correction, support, comfort, grace, peace, contentment, purpose, strength in trials, a guarantee of an eternal home with Himself, assurance of all evil gone forever, ultimate perfect health, and much more. A great many more could be mentioned. However, what I seek to emphasize is that our God reveals Himself to us, involves Himself with us, fellowships with us, works in us and through us and showers us with manifold blessings. Paul was inspired to speak of this in Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” In the hymn, “He Abides,” Herbert Buffum rejoices for God’s blessings and so can we who know the Savior. He wrote: I’m rejoicing night and day as I walk the narrow way, for the hand of God in all my life I see; and the reason of my bliss, yes, the secret all is this: that the Comforter abides with me. Once my heart was full of sin, once I had no peace within, till I heard how Jesus died upon the tree; then I fell down at His feet, and there came a peace so sweet; now the Comforter abides with me. He is with me everywhere, and He knows my every care;  I’m as happy as a bird and just as free; for the Spirit has control; Jesus satisfies my soul, since the Comforter abides with me. There’s no thirsting for the things of the world—they’ve taken wings; long ago I gave them up, and instantly all my night was turned to day, all my burdens rolled away; now the Comforter abides with me. He abides, He abides; hallelujah, He abides with me! I’m rejoicing night and day as I walk the narrow way, for the Comforter abides with me.” Selah! Ponder the following and rejoice! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Peter 1:3-8).   Ron

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

The Basis for Rejoicing

How can we rejoice when everything seems to be wrong? Are we really expected to rejoice in suffering? What if we don’t “feel” like rejoicing? These are reasonable questions. We have been conditioned to rejoice only when things are going well. How can one rejoice in difficult and horrible circumstances? If our basis for rejoicing is only what makes us happy, we will do little rejoicing. There is not a whole lot of happiness. We have some periods of happiness, but they have a habit of disappearing. There is a way of having constant rejoicing! We can’t rejoice for what hurts such as pain, disease, death, financial difficulties, cruelty, etc. However, we can rejoice, if we have learned to trust God’s love, care, wisdom, purposes, etc. Two outstanding men of God furnish us with  powerful examples of trust. Paul and Job (as well as many others of God’s people) trusted and/or rejoiced while suffering. It’s obvious that they didn’t rejoice over the suffering itself. Their trust in God and in His promises, purposes and His Presence sustained them in the midst of their pain. Do you think that now they regret their trust in Him? God can give grace to rise above our circumstances. The writer of Proverbs offers sound advice that gives us a basis to rejoice, even in the furnace of affliction: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). It will be hard to trust Him like this, unless you spend a lot of time getting to really know Him and discover what He has brought about, using suffering as a means of accomplishing His higher purposes. In her hymn, Rejoice and be glad, all ye faithful,” Laura E. Newell offers these encouraging thoughts: Rejoice and be glad, all ye faithful, who trust and who wait on the Lord; rejoice, for His grace shall sustain you; abundant shall be your reward. Tho’ trials may often assail you, and though you afflicted may be, rejoice, He is mighty to save you; His goodness and love you shall see. Then onward, press onward, nor ever grow weary, tho’ sorrows befall, and dark be the way to His palace, for Jesus is guiding through all; He knows when our sad hearts are burdened, and pities each one in His fold. In tender compassion and mercy, His sweet words of comfort are told. He owns us, and calls us His children; to Him, to our blest Saviour King, be thanks and be glory for ever; His goodness we joyfully sing. And then, in the transport of rapture, in Heaven we’d worship the One,  Who calls every one to His kingdom, and guides till life’s labors are done. Rejoice and be glad, all ye faithful, who trust and who wait on the Lord; rejoice, for His grace shall sustain you; abundant shall be your reward.” Selah! Trusting Him is not a “feeling” but a firm uncompromising decision that is non-negotiable, regardless of circumstances.   Ron
 
Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Overflow from Saturation

How many people would ask for a drink of water and be pleased with two ounces? Ordinarily, we would want a full glass of cold water. Why, then, do so many Christians try to get by with only a “sip’ of the “Water of Life?” Imagine trying to work with a sponge containing only a few droplets of water. In John 4:14, Jesus stated: “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Of course, a Spirit-taught Christian relates this “Water of Life” to both the Living Word and the written Word. If we are just drinking an occasional few ounces, there is little opportunity for overflow into the lives of others. It was said of Spurgeon: “Prick that man anywhere and Bible will come out!” Let’s drink deeply and often until our overflow spills into some thirsty lives! Peter P. Bilhorn expressed well in his hymn, Drink and Live,” how much this water is needed: “Living water pure and free, God hath sent to you and me. Of the water Jesus gives, he who drinks forever lives. Thirsty souls with care oppress’d, drink and Christ shall give you rest;  Why with thirst should sinners die, since life’s fountain is so nigh? Come and drink while ’tis today, come and drink without delay; come, for this is Jesus’ call, to the fountain free to all. Come, drink, drink of the water, come drink of the water of life, come drink, drink of the water, while now it is flowing for thee, for thee.” Selah! The inspired words of Isaiah remind us that: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). May our cup run over!   Ron

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

Wisdom in Giving

I’ve talked with a number of God’s people who feel guilty if they don’t give to some organizations that contact them with a strong emotional appeal for funds. There are principles for determining if you should give, if you are able. First, check out the integrity of the organization financially and doctrinally. Determine what percentage goes to administration and what actually helps the need. Some organizations give only a small amount of money to the actual need. That is not good management! Check, if you possibly can, the results these groups accomplish with those they claim to help. Remember your local Bible-believing church comes first in your giving: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Don’t give grudgingly; God loves a cheerful giver. If you have some means to help after you have taken care of “family” obligations, choose tried and tested charities. They, too, should be “checked out.” Remember, you can’t help them all; choose wisely. Whatever you give to God’s work doesn’t take the place of praying for these ministries. Be a good steward of that with which God has entrusted you. Don’t short-change your own family, your mate, children and needy relatives. Don’t give in such a way as to enable people to continue in financial irresponsibility. There are occasions when sacrificial giving is called for. Seek God’s guidance. These are a few thoughts that hopefully will be of help. Within these guidelines, consider Lizzie DeArmond’s hymn, “Giving and loving, Loving and giving:” “Blessings, like sunshine, fall on our way, pass them on freely, O do not delay; loving and giving, make life worth living, some little kindness may cheer a sad day. Singing for gladness, smile as you go, smoothing the rough road for comrades below; make some heart lighter, some dark path brighter, lifting a burden, your goodwill to show. Better than silver, richer than gold, blessings unnumbered around us unfold; service we render, words true and tender, happiness ever for others must hold. Giving and loving, loving and giving, some little kindness do ev’ry day; joyfully singing, in His name bringing blessings to others walking your way.” Selah! Only God can  accomplish eternal results, using our giving.   Ron

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

The Same Idea As Witchcraft

All human beings are sinners! There are some sins that we might be guilty of and not know that we are. There is one serious sin that all who haven’t been born again constantly engage in. It is rebellion! It is like witchcraft. Engaging in witchcraft is being guided by a power that is not God. Rebellion is being guided by our own fallen nature instead of submission to the only real and perfect authority, and that is God, Himself. By default, we are being manipulated by Satan. That’s the ‘bottom line” with both rebellion and witchcraft. This is what Samuel was pointing out in I Samuel 15:23: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.”Having any “authority” but God is outright rebellion. This even spills over into our personal work with seekers. We present the gospel many times and do not put into the minds of the seekers that they must relinquish the control of their lives and submit to Jesus’ Lordship. When we surrender to Jesus, we do not dictate the terms of surrender. When He captures our hearts, He lays out the terms of surrender. The battle stops; the rebellion ends. He is Lord. When our surrender is firmly made, we discover that we serve the greatest of all captors! George Matheson understood. His hymn, “Make Me a Captive, Lord,” spells out what our response to Jesus must be: “Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free; force me to render up my sword, and I shall conqueror be. I sink in life’s alarms when by myself I stand; imprison me within Thine arms, and strong shall be my hand. My heart is weak and poor until its master finds; it has no spring of action sure, it varies with the winds. It cannot freely move till Thou hast wrought its chain; enslave it with Thy matchless love, and deathless it shall reign. My power is faint and low till I have learned to serve; it lacks the needed fire to glow, it lacks the breeze to nerve; it cannot drive the world until itself be driven; its flag can only be unfurled when Thou shalt breathe from Heaven. My will is not my own till Thou hast made it Thine; if it would reach a monarch’s throne, it must its crown resign; it only stands unbent amid the clashing strife, when on Thy bosom it has leant, and found in Thee its life.” Selah! When a human being surrenders to the Lordship of Christ, He or she discovers the greatest freedom they have ever known!   Ron

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

A Functional Family

Many families today are sadly dysfunctional. That hasn’t always been the case. A dysfunctional family, years ago, would have been the exception. This is a sorry situation in our world today! It is far more tragic when God’s family fails to measure up to God’s design. This can only be a problem when God’s Word is not heeded by His children. His directions for His family are clear: ….let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (From Hebrews 10:24-25). In Ephesians 1:14-21, Paul tells us that: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Part of what he prays for, for the church, is that they might: “….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….” God’s family is to be holy, pure, loving, mutually supportive of all members, and committed to obeying and honoring the Father’s loving instructions. John Fawcett, in his familiar hymn, “Blest Be the Tie That  Binds,” gives us an understanding of how God’s family should be: Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above. Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares. We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear, and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear. When we are called to part, it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again. This glorious hope revives our courage by the way; while each in expectation lives and waits to see the day. From sorrow, toil, and pain, and sin, we shall be free; and perfect love and friendship reign through all eternity.” Selah! If we are in God’s family, there should be a family resemblance. If we are born again, let’s honor our Father in Heaven.  Ron

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

When the Impossible Becomes Possible

When Jesus told His disciples, in Mark 10:25, that it was easier “….for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,” they were overwhelmingly astonished. In Verse 26, they asked, “….Who then can be saved?” In Verse 27 Jesus answered, “….With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” When the spies were sent by Moses to report on the “Promised Land,” the majority report said Israel couldn’t take the land, but Caleb and Joshua didn’t agree. Caleb said, “….Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” (From Numbers 13:30). What caused the different reports? The majority looked at the obstacles; Caleb and Joshua looked to God. Taking the land was impossible for men, but not God! Today, many Christians believe that it is impossible to know increasing victory over sin. They see the old nature and new nature in a constant battle, without either one gaining much ground, or perhaps the old nature as having a slight edge. Maybe, occasionally, the new nature will get the upper hand. If we are depending on ourselves this scenario might be quite accurate. If we are depending on God, we can know more and more victories and see real progress. But, you ask, how do we depend on God like that? The basic answer is always the Word and prayer. There are other helps but, without Scripture and prayer, they have little impact. On the other hand, if we are disciplined to study, apply, and obey God’s Word and to pray, these other helps are valuable. They include: biographies, books on sound doctrine, books on consecration, apologetics, fellowship with serious Christians, Godly music, books on prophecy, Bible Studies, etc. These can never take the place of God’s Word and prayer, but they can be like salt and pepper or seasoning, when we are enjoying the “meat” of the Word. The basic question is: how serious are we about the things of God? “Have we learned the secret of the Christian’s pow’r? Victory, victory, all the way along; list’ning and obeying, trusting every hour, victory all along through Jesus. By the Word indwelling, “watching unto prayer,” victory, victory, all the way along; resting, while we serve Him, in His keeping care, victory all along through Jesus. Let Him do the planning, let Him use our days, victory, victory, all the way along; yielding to His Spirit, His shall be the praise; victory all along through Jesus. Only “earthen vessels,” His the treasure rare, victory, victory, all the way along; humbly overcoming—then the mansions fair; victory all along through Jesus. Victory, victory, all the way along, lift Immanuel’s banner, marching on with song; Christ shall keep His kingdom, right shall conquer wrong: victory through Jesus, all the way along.” (“Victory All the Way Along, “- By Eliza E. Hewitt). Selah! Consecration makes strong demands and gives blessed rewards!   Ron

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