A Matter of Choice

We have been given a privilege. How we use this privilege is crucial. What happens in our lives here on earth and on into eternity is a result of how we use this privilege. It’s the gift of the freedom of choice. With this gift so great comes our responsibility for how we use it. Make no mistake, we will have good or bad experiences based on our choices. Let me illustrate. I imagine that Hitler and Lincoln were both cute, innocent babies. Look how each came out. A young person becomes “spaced out.” He or she drives a car and someone is killed. Some other young people enter the healing profession and end up saving lives. People commit crimes and end up in prison. Others obey the law and become highly respected. Many more examples could be given, but let’s consider the most important of all choices. In Joshua 24:14-15, Joshua challenges Israel. In verse 14, he admonishes them to “….fear the LORD, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth. In Verse 15, he gives them a choice: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve….” A religious leader met with Jesus. He gave Jesus a respectful greeting. Before he could say more, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). This encounter highlights the most important of all choices: Will I receive Jesus as Savior and Lord and be spiritually reborn, or will I refuse and be eternally rejected? God doesn’t make this choice for us; He leaves it up to us. An author with the initials: A. J. H. asks in the hymn, “Have You Counted the Cost?” some questions that help spell out the consequences of our choice: “There’s a line that is drawn by rejecting our Lord, where the call of His Spirit is lost, and you hurry along with the pleasure-mad throng – have you counted, have you counted the cost? You may barter your hope of eternity’s morn, for a moment of joy at the most, for the glitter of sin and the things it will win – have you counted, have you counted the cost? While the door of His mercy is open to you, ere the depth of His love you exhaust, won’t you come and be healed, won’t you whisper, I yield –  I have counted, I have counted the cost? Have you counted the cost, if your soul should be lost tho’ you gain the whole world for your own? Even now it may be that the line you have crossed, have you counted, have you counted the cost? Selah! If you have chosen to receive Jesus, thank God; rejoice! If you haven’t, you can choose to do so. Do it while you can. Tomorrow can be: eternally, too late! Ron

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

 

Tying It All Together

The wonderful way that God’s Word works is what calls for our attention today. We are “….born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (From I Peter 1:23). The Word of God shows us our need. We embrace Jesus as Savior and Lord and the Holy Spirit brings about our Spiritual rebirth. All this is in response to trusting God’s Word. As we are filled with the Word (studying, learning, applying and obeying) our faith (trust, confidence) grows. As we see the results of this in our lives, our faith is strengthened. The inworking/outworking of this faith brings love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience) gentleness, goodness, (more) faith, meekness (strength under control) and temperance (the control of the “self” by the Holy Spirit).. Experiencing this fruit in our lives, little by little, we are shaped into His image. As others see these changes in us, some may decide to trust Christ for their salvation. When we see God impact others by what He has done in our lives, our faith is strengthened even more. Faith motivates more faith and we Spiritually mature!  In her hymn, “I Am Trusting thee, Lord Jesus, Trusting Only Thee!” Frances Ridley Havergal shares these expressions of trust (faith) in God: “I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, trusting only Thee; trusting Thee for full salvation, great and free. I am trusting Thee for pardon; at Thy feet I bow, for Thy grace and tender mercy trusting now. I am trusting Thee for cleansing  In the crimson flood; trusting Thee to make me holy by Thy blood. I am trusting Thee to guide me; Thou alone shalt lead, ev’ry day and hour supplying all my need. I am trusting Thee for power; Thine can never fail. Words which Thou Thyself shalt give me must prevail. I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus; never let me fall. I am trusting Thee forever and for all.” Selah! Faith, regardless of circumstances or appearances, will bring many blessings!  Ron

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

A Matter of Control

We want to be in control. There are some things that we can legitimately control and we should take charge of these things. There are, however, many areas when control means: I want my way; I’ll decide how I shall live and behave. This usually, if not always, leads to serious problems. The most serious problems come when I am confronted with the gospel, see my need to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord and decide to respond. The catch is that I want my life to be better, or I want to escape Hell, but I want to do it on my terms. I’ll take the offer of salvation but I will control how I shall live. Although it may not be stated or sharply discerned, we are telling God what we want. It doesn’t work that way! When we come to Christ, we relinquish the right of self-control. We are to repent, turn from our sin(s) and surrender to His control. It will take time but we will more and more surrender to His will, guidance and wisdom. Any supposed conversion that doesn’t result in that kind of life is not genuine conversion! At conversion, the Holy Spirit, using God’s Word, will begin a life-long process of controlling us and purifying our lives in holiness. This is what “temperance” means. It’s defined as “self-control.” That simply means that we yield to the Spirit’s control of ourselves. True faith (trust, belief) is willing to trust God’s control. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2). “Only to be what he wants me to be, every moment of every day, yielded completely to Jesus alone, each step of this Pilgrim way. Just to be clay in the Potter’s hands, only to do as His will commands. Only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day.” (From “Every Moment of Every Day,”-by Norman J. Clayton). Selah! Jesus gave His life for us; how can we not give our life to Him?   Ron

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

 

Insipid Person?

A secondary meaning of “insipid” is “dull.” To commend “meekness” as something good that faith has accomplished seems to be approving “dullness.” People who are meek seem to be people who can be “walked over.” However, “meekness,” as God’s Word explains it, is anything but being weak or dull. if you think that being meek is being weak, try being meek for about a week! Meekness, as called for in the Bible, is strength under control. We have a determination to let God use, guide and defend us. We depend on God’s strength to enable us to respond in Christ-like ways. Under attack, we depend on God to vindicate us, while we maintain rock-like convictions. We search our hearts to see if any attacks are valid. If they are, we are open to correction. If any of the attacks are wrong, we calmly explain in a gracious way where they are wrong. We can insist on proof of these false charges, without becoming upset and angry. If they will not furnish proof, we trust God to take care of it and we pray for them. Ephesians 4:31-32 is a description of strength under control: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” A couple of stanzas from Eliza E. Hewitt’s hymn, “Stepping in the Light,” convey the attitude of Biblical meekness: “Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior, trying to follow our Savior and King; shaping our lives by His blessed example, happy, how happy, the songs that we bring. Walking in footsteps of gentle forbearance, footsteps of faithfulness, mercy and love, looking to Him for the grace freely promised, happy, how happy, our journey above.” Selah! This strength in weakness is under Whose control?   Ron

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

 

 

 

When Faith Has Come Full-Circle

When we make a conscious choice to trust someone we may, or may not, be disappointed. We understand that and are “on guard” until that person has proven himself or herself. Even then, we can be betrayed by someone that we completely trust. Trusting God is a different matter. When we trust God with our eternal destiny, what is there not to trust? Trusting human beings is conditional simply because they can fail us. Trusting God is unconditional. He never will fail us. However, we have to trust Him absolutely, even in what we don’t understand. Proverbs 3:5-6 makes this requirement very clear. “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.” There will be times when we will be tempted to doubt. Nothing seems to be working out; all looks impossible. The enemy attempts to malign God’s love and care, and he plays on our hurts, fears and worries. But true faith rejects these attacks and trusts regardless of how things seem. While this learning process is going on, as we spend much time in God’s Word, our faith is strengthened. Time and eternity will always validate our faith. God is perfect! One area of perfection is that He is always trustworthy. But He doesn’t have to do things our way. He will always do what is best and right, even when it seems otherwise. Harriet E. Jones gave us a simple hymn entitled: “I will trust in the Lord my God,” Its words express unwavering trust in all of life’s experiences: “I will trust in the Lord my God, in affliction trust Him still; His promise grand will surely stand, ev’ry word will He fulfill. I will trust in the Lord my God, tho’ the darkness cover me; no cloud shall dim my faith in Him, till the brighter way I see. I will trust in the Lord my God, trust and cling to His dear hand; trust day by day, trust all the way, to the shining glory land.” Selah! “Saving” faith  leads to “growing” faith as we feed on God’s Word. “Growing” faith confirms “saving faith.”    Ron

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

 

   

Be Good!

Do you remember a parent or someone saying to you, “Be good!”? They usually meant for you to behave, to stop doing something you shouldn’t do. The problem with this is found in Jesus’ question to a certain ruler. Jesus asked him, in Luke 18:19: “Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.” Jesus was asking the ruler if he recognized that He (Jesus) is God. In that probing question, a certain Truth is expressed, namely that only God is good. Where does that leave us when we are told that one of the results of genuine faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord is “goodness?” Let me digress for a moment: any human being can do good things, can be considered a good person. But why? Is it the desire to be called “good”? Is the good that we do because of an obligation we feel, or do we act out of genuine concern? The latter is a good trait but still falls short of God’s kind of goodness. God is pure “good.” That brings us to the core of the issue: the goodness that springs from authentic faith is God’s love in us and flowing out through us to touch others. It is love in action! It is God’s love and we are the “channels” for God’s love to impact people’s hearts and minds, offering salvation, help and hope. Phillip Doddridge speaks of God’s kind of goodness that touches others through us: “O Fount of good, for all Your love our true thanks should be paid. What can we render, Lord, to You, when you own all that’s made? But You have needy brothers here, partakers of Your grace, whose names You will Yourself confess before the Father’s face. In their sad accents of distress Your pleading voice is heard;  You may in them be clothed and fed and visited and cheered. Then help us, Lord, your yoke to wear and gladly do Your will, each other’s daily burdens share, the law of love fulfill. Your face with rev’rence and with love we in the poor will view, and, while we minister to them, we do it as to You.” (The hymn: “O Fount of Good, for All Your Love“). Selah! In Acts 10:38 we are told that: “….God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: Who went about doing good.” May we be found sharing His goodness with others!   Ron

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





Godly Gentleness

I pray that you are seeing the activity of the Holy Spirit in response to genuine faith. We open our Bibles and learn of God’s response to our faith. We believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We admit our sinfulness and sins, repent and turn away from this type of life and receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit enters our inner being (our hearts) and reveals how much God loves us. This brings deep, satisfying joy. We discover that stress and anxiety give way to peace, as we trust (have faith) in His love, guidance and strength. This experiential peace comes out of our peace with God. This peace and trust sustain us when suffering, gives us the confidence that God will help us during our trials, and will bring us through our trials with our faith intact. We will fail and stumble as we grow, but God is patient and ready to restore and renew us as we journey through life. As God is patient with us, we find that we can be patient with others. In our relationships with people, we learn to extend Godly gentleness; we learn to show kindness to others, thus reflecting God’s gentle kindness to us. This kind of relating to people can and sometimes does move them to consider their need for God and His love. Paul’s inspired prayer for the Thessalonians applies to us today. In I Thessalonians 3:12, he prayed: “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.” Think through these challenging words: “The little deeds of kindness will cheer the aching heart, the little rays of sunlight will make the gloom depart; then let the hands be busy, to make the burdens light, and let the heart be cheerful, to make the pathway bright. Remember how the Savior descended from above to bring the world a blessing and sow the seed of love. He’s bidden us to follow, and made the journey plain; then let us also scatter the seeds of golden grain. Our life will soon be over, the summer will be past; the sowing-time, so precious, has come and cannot last. May we be up and doing, each moment here employ, until our work is ended; then we shall reap with joy. The little deeds of kindness, we do from day to day, bring sunshine and gladness to those along the way. Then let us not grow weary, nor falter in despair; but earnest and faithful, spread sunshine ev’rywhere.” (From the hymn: “Deeds of Kindness,” by J. W. Van De Venter). Selah! This life changing work of the Holy Spirit gives to others’ eyes a glimpse of Jesus.   Ron

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

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