A Very Special Family

One of God’s greatest gifts is a good family. Many are blessed with a family like this; too many are not. If you are one of the latter, why not purpose that in the future you will work toward creating a good family? There is, however, a family that is even better than these many good families. It is the family of God and this family is an eternal family!. Jesus calls attention to this family in Mark 3:31-35: “There came then His brethren and His mother, and, standing without, sent unto Him, calling Him. And the multitude sat about Him, and they said unto Him, Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren without seek for Thee.” Mary’s concern for Jesus welfare was most likely why they were trying to get Him to slow down some. Jesus’ response, when told, revealed the ultimate family: “And He answered them, saying, ‘Who is My mother, or My brethren?’ And He looked round about on them which sat about Him, and said, Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and mother!” All who know Him as Savior and Lord will always be a part of this family! Imagine being related to God, the Father, forever! “Wondrous Grace” (Author unknown) gives us some thoughts on being in God’s family: “The Lord of earth and glory, the King of kings is He, into His royal family,  He has adopted me. He makes me heir with Christ His Son, to a kingdom rich and fair, and all the riches of His grace His children freely share. He feeds me with the bread of Heav’n, He makes my spirit glad; and now I have companionship, with the children of a King, His boundless love, His wondrous grace, forever will I sing. O wondrous love! O boundless grace! That makes me the child of a King, O wondrous love! O boundless grace! that makes me the child of a King.” Selah! God’s family is a forever loving family!   Ron

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

 

Physical Concerns Vs. Spiritual Opportunities

Three areas of concern call for our consideration in Mark 3:19b-30: “….and they went into an house and the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when His friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him: for they said, ‘He is beside himself.’And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth He out devils. And He called them unto Him, and said unto them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan?’ and if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand, and if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: because they said, He hath an unclean spirit” Jesus appointed twelve for special ministry. After this they went into a house and were surrounded by a multitude outside. Many were seeking Jesus’ help, others were looking for a way to criticize and condemn. Friends were there, as well, concerned about Jesus’ well-being. If God, the Father, planned for these crowds to be there (and He did), there is no need to be concerned about Jesus’ well-being. The scribes accused Jesus of working in harmony with Beelzebub. In other words, they attributed the working of the Holy Spirit to the prince of the devils. This earned them a strong rebuke and a warning of eternal damnation. There never lacks people who would undermine God’s working, if they thought they could. To oppose God is to fight a losing battle and is done at great risk! This excerpt from Paul Gerhardt’s hymn, “If God Be on My Side,” applies to those who are God’s, and Jesus knew that the Father was there for Him: “If God be on my side, then let who will oppose, for oft ere now to Him I cried, and He hath quelled my foes. If Jesus be my Friend, if God doth love me well, what matters all my foes intend, tho’ strong they be and fell.” Selah! There is nothing that can touch the lives of the redeemed that He won’t remove, or enable us to handle it, as long as we trust Him.   Ron

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

Ordination on the Mountain

Ordination Services are held in churches. Right? Not always! Jesus conducted one on a mountain. It had more impact than any other ordination. Mark 3:13-19a recounts this event: “And He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him, and He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. And Simon He surnamed Peter; and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and He surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed Him.” Jesus ordained twelve men; twelve very unlikely men, including one traitor. Surely, this was a mistake! Not on your life! Jesus empowered them! Eleven of them were in ministry to bear fruit. (See John 15:16). They spread the Gospel, reached Gentiles, were involved in the beginning, establishing and growing of the church. Fruit was borne from that time on. It has continued through the centuries, right down to any of us who have come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior! It will continue through years to come. “O Lord, You called disciples, proclaiming, “Come and see!” And so an invitation began your ministry. Then Andrew called his brother, and Peter came to You; more men and women followed, and little children, too. You met a busy woman out in the noon-day sun. You shared God’s love, You listened; You told all she had done. She called her friends and neighbors and brought them face to face with you, the living water, the bearer of God’s grace. O Christ, Your invitation has reached from year to year! Through some who heard You calling, a church was founded here. As faithful people served You so many years ago, they soon invited others; Your church began to grow. God, by Your Holy Spirit, now send us in Your name to serve the lost and outcast, the poor for whom You came. Through gifts of hope and healing, through loving ministry, may we reach out, inviting the world to “Come and see!” (“O Lord, You Called Disciples” By Carolyn Winfrey Gillette). Selah! Are you an unlikely Person for God to use? What Jesus did for and through those twelve, He can, in a measure, do for and through those of us who know Him.   Ron

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

 

 

   

It’s Not Time Yet!

The religionists wanted to destroy Jesus. He was a threat to their religious monopoly. What an exercise in futility! Trying to kill God is guaranteed to fail! Jesus said in John 10: 17-18, “….I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself….” Mark tells us of Jesus leaving, unscathed. Instead of Jesus being killed, He went on to serve and continue His mission. It wasn’t time yet! “But Jesus withdrew Himself with His disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things He did, came unto Him. And He spake to His disciples, that a small ship should wait on Him because of the multitude, lest they should throng Him, for He had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, ‘Thou art the Son of God.’ And He straitly charged them that they should not make Him known” (Mark 3:7-12). There are many times when we, who are His, could be injured or killed. If we aren’t, it’s because God has a mission for us to carry out. In that wonderful hymn, “The Stranger of Galilee,” Mrs. C. H. Morris speaks of those who have met Jesus and what we are to tell others: “His look of compassion, His words of love, they shall never forgotten be; when sin-sick and helpless He saw me there, this Stranger of Galilee;  He showed me His hand and His riven side, and He whispered, “It was for thee!” My burden fell off at the pierced feet of the Stranger from Galilee. Come, ye who are driven and tempest-tossed, and His gracious salvation see;  He’ll quiet life’s storms with His “Peace, be still!” this Stranger of Galilee;  He bids me to go and the story tell—what He ever to you will be, if only you let Him with you abide, this Stranger of Galilee. Oh, my friend, won’t you love Him forever? So gracious and tender is He!  Accept Him today as your Savior, this Stranger of Galilee!” Selah! He offers Himself and His salvation; that’s something religion cannot do!   Ron

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

The Heartlessness of Religion

Religious systems are driven to control their devotees. “Do what we say and teach, or shut the door on your way out. You don’t fit in with us.” They care about their vested interests and little, if at all, for their followers. As long as people fall in line, they are treated nicely. Let them think independently and they are rejected. Leaders are heartless to those who oppose. It was no different in Jesus’ day. Mark  3:1-6 shows the true face of religion: “And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand, and they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath Day; that they might accuse Him. And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And He saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, ‘Stretch forth thine hand.’ And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him. Instead of rejoicing over the wonderful healing, they placed rigid observance of a day above the sad plight of a hurting man. Their heartlessness was exposed in their plotting to kill Jesus. Joy F. Patterson authored the hymn, “Jesus Heard with Deep Compassion.” It speaks of Jesus’ love:Jesus heard with deep compassion, pleas for healing, cries of pain; cured the lame and cleansed the leper, gave the  blind their sight again. At His voice, tormenting spirits fled a madman’s tortured mind; clothed and healed, he went rejoicing, home and family to find. Jesus touched the lives of outcasts, weak or sinful, scorned or poor; gave them self-respect and courage, trust and faith and hope secure. Truly hearing, truly seeing deep within each troubled soul, Jesus healed their wounded spirits, sent them forth with lives made whole. Jesus, Lord, our true example, You have shown how we must live. Teach us how to share with others everything we have to give. Let our days be spent in service; bring us by Your grace to know healing is the church’s calling, and the path that we must go!” Selah! Jesus didn’t die to promote religion; He died to purchase redemption!   Ron

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

Violating the Sabbath?

In Mark 2:23-28, we are informed of another encounter Jesus had with the religious establishment: “And it came to pass, that He went through the corn fields on the Sabbath Day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath Day that which is not lawful? And He said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” The religious leaders wanted God, the Son, to comply with God’s rules their way. Just do and be the way we say to do and be. Keep the letter of the Law; never mind the spirit of the Law! Jesus explained to them that God established the Sabbath to bless men, not to burden them. Then He made a statement that they “choked” on: “….the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Religion is blind to all but what it decides. Charles W. Naylor contrasts the joy of the Lord’s Day with rigid observance of the Sabbath Day. His hymn, “The Lord’s Day,” explains: “O day of all the days the best, when—laid aside each earthly care—we meet with God’s dear saints so blest, and in their praise and worship share. Not by a rigid code we’re bound with death to all who disobey; but through God’s love within us found, we keep this precious worship day. This day our Lord in triumph rose to give us hope beyond the grave; He conquered all our many foes, and proved His mighty pow’r to save. So in remembrance we will keep this blessed resurrection day, the pledge of all who wake or sleep, that they shall live through Him for aye.” Selah! Jesus and His disciples didn’t violate the Sabbath, they understood its purpose!   Ron

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

 

 

 

Overwhelming Thanks!

I wish you all a day of great gratitude! There are truly countless things that God blesses us with, for which we should be filled with thanks-giving. Today, however, let me narrow it down to this: What if Jesus hadn’t intervened? There would be endlessly increasing wickedness. We would eventually see the fading and, finally, complete loss of any kind of love. The world would become more and more selfish (far more than today). We would self destruct!  It would start slowly. This would accelerate and finally end this dying world, but not us! Without God’s love and Jesus’ death, the only destiny left would be banishment to eternal Hell, forever! Thank God, Jesus came, bringing salvation for whosoever will! For those who receive Him as Savior and Lord, the completely opposite scenario will unfold. Think that through! “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (II Corinthians 9:15)! From all who have received Him and who will receive him, lift up your voices and sing “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul! Thank you, Lord, for making me whole! Thank you, Lord, for giving to me Thy great salvation, so rich and free!!!!Selah! Isn’t He wonderful!?  (Ron) 

  Have a day of profound thankfulness!