Oblivious to the Wonder!

How many of God’s children “just don’t get it?” Do we really grasp the wonder of God’s involvement of Himself with us? Why would He – pure, perfect and holy Being that He is – have the least interest in us? How can He stand us: fallen, rebellious, selfish, sinful, corrupt beings that we are? He loves us! The basis of that love is never found in us; it is found only in His grace and mercy! That grace was operative before He created the world. He brought us into existence, even while knowing that we would rebel. He planned and provided rescue and restoration for whosoever will receive salvation, through surrendering to Jesus as Savior and Lord. Those who “will” find themselves embraced in His love and care. God comes to live in His redeemed children’s hearts. He starts a process of purging out sin, purifying our hearts, and preparing us for eternity in Heaven with Himself! This process is to make us like His beloved Son. From the moment of genuine conversion, we experience the wonder of this relationship. The depth of this relationship is experienced as we open ourselves to His Word and prayer. If we truly know Him, we must never settle for being oblivious to the wonder! Give yourself to: “….grow(ing) in grace, and in the knowledge (knowing) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (From II Peter 3:18). Frederick M. Lehman’s hymn, “The Love of God,” finds echo in the hearts of those who are His: “Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky. Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!  How measureless and strong!  It shall forevermore endure—the saints’ and angels’ song!” Selah! Getting to know Him intimately will keep you from being oblivious to the wonder!  Ron

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

Knowing God on a Personal Level

You might want an appointment with an important person. However, to gain an appointment, you may have to produce a justifying reason for being granted one. You may also need a contact who can get you an appointment. Once you have gotten to see this person, you may have been able to start a friendship with this “important” person. How does all this compare to getting to know the only truly important Person-God? Do you have a justifiable reason to be welcomed into His Presence? If you have come to know His Son as Savior and Lord, all your sins have been forgiven and your soul has been cleansed. His Son secures entrance into His Father’s Presence for you! John 14:6 makes it clear that this is the only way to see God. You have not only gained entrance into His Presence, you are welcomed and loved. While He is your “Friend,” you now have a relationship with God that completely transcends friendship. You now have fellowship and communion with your creator God! You are encompassed within Him and He puts His Presence into your innermost being. You have been adopted into His family; you have become His child! How do you get to really know your Father in Heaven? Jesus, directly and through His followers, gives you ever increasing understanding of His Father in the Bible. God Himself is revealed in the Scriptures. The more time you spend there, the better you come to know and love Him. Not only that, but you can listen to Him and He will listen to you. This is called prayer! Loving Him, gaining understanding of Him, learning from Him, following His instructions, and letting Him guide you, you become more and more like Him! “My God, how wonderful You are; Your majesty, how bright! How beautiful Your mercy seat in depths of burning light! How wonderful, how beautiful the sight of You must be, Your endless wisdom, boundless power, and awesome purity! O how I fear You, living God, with deepest, tenderest fears, and worship You with trembling hope and penitential tears! Yet I may love You too, O Lord, Almighty as You are, for You have stooped to ask of me the love of my poor heart. No earthly father loves like You,  no mother half so mild  bears and forbears as You have done with me, your sinful child. Father of Jesus, Love divine, great King upon Your throne,  what joy to see You as You are and worship You alone!  (From the hymn, “My God, How Wonderful Thou Art,” By Frederick William Faber). Selah! Ponder these words of Jesus from John 14:23: “If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him!” Knowing about Him only as a biographical figure written up in a book is fascinating, but knowing Him personally as the Living Christ is life changing!   Ron

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

   
 

The Undergirding of Acts

Looking back in the Book of Acts, we see a lot of emotional experiences. These wonderful experiences were not what prompted the acts of God, they were the results of God’s acts. It is not uncommon today to wrongly equate emotion with Spirituality. (On the other end of the spectrum, lack of visible emotions are often equated with “deadness”). What must undergird true acts of God? In those early days of the church, the “Presence,” provision, promises and power of the resurrected Jesus ignited confidence, courage and commitment in the hearts and minds of His people. Many of them interacted with our Lord in person. Based on the facts of His Presence and His instructions, they acted! Moving out in complete trust, they experienced God acting in and through them. No wonder they were excited! What about us today? Good question! Until we realize that the Bible is not for reading only, all we have are the facts. When we see that God’s Word and prayer are actually putting us face-to-face with Him, Spiritually, we will be ignited to let God act in us and through us and we will become excited. Think long and hard on this excerpt from Philippians 3:10: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection….” The last half of the verse is also very important. However, think on “knowing Him,” and on “the power of His resurrection.” We need to really “know” Him, and the power of His indwelling life. How fitting the pleas found in the hymn, Pentecostal Power,” by Charles H. Gabriel: “Lord, as of old at Pentecost, Thou didst Thy power display, with cleansing purifying flame, descend on us today. For mighty works for Thee, prepare and strengthen every heart; come, take possession of Thine own and nevermore depart. All self consume, all sin destroy! With earnest zeal endue each waiting heart to work for Thee; O Lord, our faith renew! Speak, Lord! before Thy throne we wait, Thy promise we believe, and will not let Thee go until the blessing we receive. Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power! Thy floodgates of blessing on us throw open wide! Lord, send the old-time power, the Pentecostal power, that sinners be converted and Thy name glorified!” Selah! If we believe the facts that God reveals in His Word and act on these facts, we can see these pleas answered.   Ron

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

 

   

Indwelling Experienced!

There is a need to properly relate doctrine to experience. Doctrine and experience are both extremely important. However, they are  to be understood correctly. Doctrine is the standard by which we determine if our experience is truly from God or from some other source. Experience is not how we are to develop doctrine. Solid Biblical doctrine is not the stopping place in our Christian lives. We must not only understand, believe and defend doctrine, we must comes to grips with it! For example, one doctrine is that of the indwelling and infilling of the Holy Spirit. We need not only to carefully examine this doctrine, but actually experience the implications related to it. We can believe that God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, lives in us, that He dwells in our innermost being! The question is: are we conscious of His Presence within us? If so, how do we treat Him; how do we respond to what He expects from us? Knowing in an “information only” way that He lives within, means that we are acting as if we are only a Library where His Truth is stored. When we finally realize that God is actually within us and lovingly respond to Him being there, we will undergo a transforming experience. As the Psalmist exclaimed in Psalm 16:11: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy Presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore!” Tamra N. Lee gives us a glimpse of the implications of His Presence within us, in her hymn, “Nearer to Jesus:” “Nearer, still nearer, close to my Lord; I will seek Jesus in prayer and the Word. As I draw near to my precious Lord: His Word has promised His Spirit outpoured! Each day I’ll follow His blest commands, each day I’ll praise Him and cling to His hand.  Walking with Jesus I’ll surely find all my desires in Jesus are mine! Help of the helpless, my blessèd Lord! Caring for each one, in love watching o’er; holy compassion guarding our way: Jesus my Shepherd, help me not to stray, Nearer still nearer, to end of time. Speaking His gospel salvation divine. Showing His way and doing His will: some day in Heaven our joy be fulfilled!” Selah! Is our relationship with Jesus really Personal?    Ron

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

 

Relating to Jesus

We can’t relate to Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, etc. because they are not here. You can learn about them, study them, admire them, but you can’t relate to them. You can relate to Jesus; HE IS HERE! You have to know Him in order to relate to Him. You can only know Him by receiving Him as Savior and Lord. If you have done that, you are in a relationship with Him. However, that relationship must not only begin; it must grow and deepen! He’s ready; are we? If a friend, let’s say your dearest friend, came to live with you, how would you relate to that friend? Would you enjoy that friend, think about your friend, admire and respect that friend, learn all about that friend, talk that friend “up” to others but otherwise ignore that friend? Would you not converse with that friend, listen, learn from your friend, do what your friend asked of you, tell what the friendship means to you, express love and gratitude, introduce others to your friend, and be blessed by your friend’s presence? If we are born again, we have Almighty God living inside of us! There’s not any other friend like this One! He died that you might live; He died to rescue you from an everlasting Hell! We need to spend hours, days, weeks, months, years, getting to really know Him in depth. Nothing compares with the blessings of knowing Him in a rich, loving, deepening, thrilling, truly personal way! When we know Him like this, we will know what John meant when he wrote in John 1:14: “….we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” “The Garden of My Heart, a hymn by Haldor Lillenas, speaks of this kind of relationship: “There’s a sacred and hallowed retreat, where my soul finds a fellowship sweet, where the Lord of my life I may meet, in the garden of my heart. In the cool of the day He walks with me, in the rose bordered way He talks with me;  In love’s holy union, and sacred communion, in the garden of my heart.” Selah! Give time, thought, and love to your truest of all friends! He loves you with an everlasting love!    Ron

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

Revival is: Jesus!

The church in its early days was what we call “on fire!” Even at the risk of life and limb, those early Christians were zealous, excited, enthusiastic and active. Down through the centuries, that zeal has flagged, faded and at times, all but disappeared. When it looked really bad, prayer, fasting, repentance and restitution moved God to renew, revive and restore the church. This has happened time and again, when God’s people get serious. What changes when God brings seasons of refreshing? Our focus on Jesus changes. We think on Him and what He suffered for us. We are filled with wonder and gratitude for His mighty grace. We worship Him and love Him. He speaks to our minds and hearts. We are appalled at the sins we have tolerated in our lives. We long for victory over sin in our lives. We want to honor and glorify Him. We know when He is speaking to us and we start paying attention. Things of the world lose their grip on us. In other words, revival is not something we work up. It is not something that we are to seek. Instead, it is Him we crave! He becomes our “magnificent obsession!” Revival is: Jesus! We can’t get enough of Him! It’s so simple and, at the same time, we often fail to do it. James explains: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:7-10). In her hymn, “Nearer, Still Nearer,” Mrs. C. H. Morris gives us this timely prayer which we would do well to make our own heartfelt prayer: “Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring,  naught as an offering to Jesus my King – only my sinful, now contrite heart;  grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart. Nearer, still nearer, Lord, to be Thine,  sin, with its follies, I gladly resign,  all of its pleasures, pomp and its pride, give me but Jesus, my Lord crucified.” Selah! When He sits on the thrones of our hearts, His life will flow into us and out through us. The throne is not for double-occupancy!   Ron

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

Thirst That Must Be Assuaged!

Could it be that we have allowed knowledge about Jesus to inoculate us against really knowing Him? When someone speaks to us, we can usually hear and respond. Would we stop someone from speaking to us and say to them, “I don’t want to know you, I only want to know all about you? I’m fascinated with knowledge about you, but I don’t really want to become personally and actually involved with you.” Now, the point of all this is: do we relate to Jesus that way? How desperate are we for a deep, personal, wonderful, loving, relationship with Him? We sing: “Jesus Is All the World to Me!” Is He, in fact, “all the world to us?” Do we have an intense thirst for a deep relationship with Jesus? The Psalmist did! In Psalm 42:1-2 he cried out, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.” If we were in the desert without water for a very long time, would we be desperate for some water to quench our thirst? You can be certain that we would do everything possible to find water. When that water was found, we would drink and drink!  Wanting to know Him with an intense personal love creates a Spiritual thirst that He alone can assuage. How we can experience that kind of craving will occupy our thoughts tomorrow, God willing. When we actually drink of Jesus’ Person, we can identify with Clara Teare Williams’ testimony in her hymn, “Satisfied.” She wrote: “Well of water, ever springing, bread of life so rich and free, untold wealth that never faileth, my Redeemer is to me!” Selah! How thirsty are we for Him?   Ron

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

Our Forgotten “Past”

One of the saddest things about Americans in our day is that we have forgotten our “past.” What a beginning we had! Contrast that with how things are today. Compare the character qualities of many of the Patriots with the character qualities of many people today. Sadder by far, is how we, who are born again, “stack up” against the early Christians! The church was born on the Day of Pentecost. The Spirit of God filled those early disciples, immersing them into a Spiritual Body, bonding them together with the life of their Living Head. They became “the Church,” Jesus’ Body. They were excited, fervent, courageous, sacrificial, joyous, confident, committed, loving and sharing. They pulsated with the very resurrection life of Jesus! How does that compare with the typical believer today? With tremendous exceptions, many of us today are “Ho, Hum,” bored, indifferent, involved in many things much more than we are vitally involved with Jesus. We’ve lost the wonder, the thrill, the dedication, the love, the impact of God’s power working in and through us. We’ve “shrugged off” this sorry situation and see it as: “That’s just the way things are today.” Are you, am I willing to accept this “status quo?” Are we willing to prepare for and seek revival in our day? Or have we “written that off” as a “thing of the past?” The formula today is the same one that Jesus gave to the Ephesian Church in Revelation 2:4-5: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” We might begin by praying, from the depths of our hearts, William P. Mackay’s prayer in his hymn, “Revive Us Again:” “Revive us again — fill each heart with Thy love; may each soul be rekindled with fire from above.”  Selah! It only takes a spark to get a fire going!    Ron

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

Activated Truth

A person could read a book on travel. It could give pictures, authentic information, explanation, directions, maps, etc. It could share experiences of people who have traveled. It could show how one could get the most for his or her money. However, until that person prepares to travel and then actually travels, that book is simply interesting and accurate. It hasn’t made a difference in the reader’s life, even though believed completely. Failure to experience travel may not make a huge difference in one’s life. To read the Bible, believe it, and not act on what you read makes an eternal difference! I wonder how many believe the Bible to be actual Truth, without acting on that Truth. Christians can be deceived into believing the Scriptures as they would believe any reliable book, but never experience what that Book offers. The Word of God is first to inform and then to be implemented. In II Timothy 3:15, after Paul told Timothy that the Holy Scriptures: “.are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,” he added in verses 16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” In other words, activating God’s Word in our lives, learning, applying and obeying it, we mature in our life in Christ. We are blessed and we are used to bless others. The hymn, “Teach Me, O Lord, Thy Way of Truth,” expresses how this works in our lives: “Teach me, O Lord, Your way of Truth,  and from it I will not depart;  that I may steadfastly obey, give me an understanding heart. In Your commandments make me walk, for in Your law my joy shall be; give me a heart that loves Your will, from discontent and envy free. Your Word sheds light upon my path; a shining light, it guides my feet; your righteous judgments to observe, my solemn vow I now repeat. Your wondrous testimonies, Lord, my soul will keep and greatly praise; Your Word, by faithful lips proclaimed, to simplest minds the Truth conveys. I thirst for Your commandments, Lord, and for Your mercy press my claim; O look on me and show the grace displayed to all who love Your name.” Selah! Never be only an arm chair traveler; move out and take the trip!   Ron

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

An Empty Altar?-Part 2

The Old Testament sacrificial system called for a spotless lamb without blemish. The lamb had to be placed on the altar and had no “say” in the matter. It was put to death, never to live again. Under “Grace,” when we choose to receive God’s free gift of salvation, by receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord, we are perfected forever: “For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). So we become a perfect offering in our “position” or “standing.” If this has been our experience, we willingly place ourselves, our whole being on the altar as a “living” sacrifice. However, although we have been pronounced perfect in “standing,” we are not perfect in “practice.” This is where Galatians 2:20 comes in: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” I have been crucified with Christ. This was done for me when God knew, in eternity past, that I would receive salvation. This judicial “placing” is active in the present, extending from the moment of Spiritual rebirth. “I have been” and “I am being,” crucified (I was put to death; I am dying to the old way that was mine before I was saved. I am now experiencing “the new and living way)! As the old way is dying out, it is being replaced with holiness of life. Our part is to stay on the altar. Our altar must never be empty! If we start to slip or slide off, God has flesh hooks to prod us back on. One is conviction; the other is chastisement! Sometimes, He uses both! Learning to remain firmly on the altar brings the fire of God on the sacrifice, purifying the offering. The purified sacrifice experiences profound blessings and blesses others! Two other stanzas in E. A. Hoffman’s hymn, “Is Your All on the Altar,” remind us: “Oh, we never can know what the Lord will bestow of the blessings for which we have prayed, till our body and soul  He doth fully control, and our all on the altar is laid. Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid? Your heart does the Spirit control?  You can only be blest, and have peace and sweet rest, as you yield Him your body and soul!” Selah! Those who have been born again have, or will, put themselves on the altar and are learning to yield to God!   Ron

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