Fresh Air!

Stale or stagnant air is not good to breathe. Likewise, polluted air is harmful. Foul odors are offensive. A pigpen stinks! Nevertheless, the pigs, apparently, are not bothered. What about those of us who have been born again? Are we content to wallow in the garbage of this world system’s rotting stench? Are we not called to draw fresh air from the rarefied atmosphere of Heaven? Isn’t this what Paul, in II Corinthians 6;17, was inspired to urge us: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean (thing).?” While the “pigs” are content to feed on the swill of worldliness, the “sheep” are to enjoy still waters, green pastures and the paths of righteousness and feel the refreshing breezes of God’s favor. This seems to be what, “The Cleansing Wave, ” by Phoebe Palmer was all about and what God intends for all of His children to experience: “Oh, now I see the crimson wave! The fountain deep and wide; Jesus, my Lord, mighty to save, points to His wounded side. I see the new creation rise, I hear the speaking blood; it speaks, polluted nature dies, sinks ’neath the cleansing flood. I rise to walk in Heav’n’s own light, above the world and sin, with heart made pure and garments white, and Christ enthroned within. Amazing grace! ’tis Heav’n below to feel the blood applied, and Jesus, only Jesus know, my Jesus crucified. The cleansing stream I see, I see!  I plunge, and, oh, it cleanseth me!  Oh, praise the Lord, it cleanseth me! It cleanseth me, yes, cleanseth me.” Selah! Sheep should never be found in a pigpen!   Ron

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Soaking in Sunshine

If we are born again, the Light of God’s Word has penetrated the darkness of spiritual death in our inner beings (our hearts) bringing Life and illumination within. Continued exposure to Scripture brings more Light. However, we walk in the darkened world of lost people. This darkness of a fallen world can be depressing. Physical darkness over long periods of time can be depressing. What a joy when sunshine returns! Spiritually, we need sunshine and God gives it and it radiates from brothers and sisters in Christ. When we add Spiritual sunshine to and draw Spiritual sunshine from Godly Christians, great joy is experienced. We enjoy Spiritual warmth and health. In Proverbs 4:18, we are told: “But the path of the just (is) as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Colossians 3:16 adds: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Anna B. Russell, gave us a song entitled, “Be a Ray of Sunshine,” in which she wrote of how Christians can be a blessing to others: “Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go, shining for the Savior with a steady glow; bringing smiles to sad ones, wiping tears away, make yourself a blessing every passing day. Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go; comfort bring to others, stoop to raise the low; kind words cost but little, smiles bring pleasures, too; they may lift a burden; let them not be few. Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go; cheerfulness is needed, this you can bestow; help to chase the shadows from this world away, bringing joy and gladness like a shining ray. Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go; stars will shine the brighter in your crown, I know; sunshine brought to others will reflect on you,  Heav’n will be the sweeter—keep the end in view. Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go, shining for the Savior with a steady glow; be a ray of sunshine filled with Heaven’s light, sending forth a message beautiful and bright.” Selah! You can, if you will, lavish others with the sunshine of God’s blessings!    Ron

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It Tastes So Good!

Sugar rich treats, extra salted things like chips, processed foods (some with harmful additives) taste so good that we turn to these far too often. Wholesome and healthier foods usually requires discernment in regard to what we purchase, extra effort in preparing, and do not often have the level of taste appeal that is found in so-called junk food. Poor food choices can undermine our physical health. Spiritual health is undermined by thinking on, watching, listening to and using things that move us emotionally but have little or no Spiritual nourishment, and often have harmful ingredients. Topping our list of wholesome “Spiritual” food would be the milk, meat and water of God’s Word. There are, in God’s family, those who are Spiritually healthy and who can help us to eat right and to enjoy God’s nourishing provisions. There are attempts by others, to entice us to enjoy that which claims to be good Spiritual food but which contains error and reduces our appetites for pure food. Isaiah 55;2-3a speaks to this: “Wherefore do ye spend money for (that which is) not bread? and your labour for (that which) satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye (that which is) good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live….” If we feed wisely, we can identify with the chorus of C. Austin Miles’ hymn, “Dwelling in Beulah Land.” It goes like this: “I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky, I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry; O yes! I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply, for I am dwelling in Beulah Land.” Selah! Eat wisely; feast on Scripture; add some wholesome side dishes; refuse junk food; exercise; get fresh air and sunshine and “let your soul delight itself in fatness.”     Ron 

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Spiritual Strength

What does it mean to be Spiritually strong? What can we do to become strong Spiritually? If we are in good health physically, eat right and exercise regularly, we will likely be strong. Sunshine, fresh air, wholesome food and pure water add to our strength. Carry this over into the Spiritual life. Before we are born physically, we have no strength to be developed. Before we are born Spiritually, we have no Spiritual strength to be developed. If, however, we are born again, we must eat right. We are to feed on the pure milk of the Word and start young to get onto meat. We are not to feed on the rotting swill of the world’s offerings. We must have an exercise program. Laziness and inertia must be overcome. We must find ways to share our faith and let our “Trainer” guide and direct us. As we share, perhaps stumbling and struggling in the early stages of our exercise, strength will begin to develop. Fresh air can be found on the mountains of God’s blessings. Pure water must be drawn from the “wells of salvation.” This water is refreshing. It gives cleansing of the spirit! The sunshine of His Presence and the reflection of that sunshine from the lives of serious saints brings warmth and calm. After a good night’s rest, we go to our “Trainer” to give our report, talk things over, share any problems, express our appreciation and love, and receive our instructions. Once we have completed our training for the day, we can have a night of rest. Saying good night, after we discuss our day’s experiences, “He giveth His beloved sleep.” Let me extract a stanza from, “He Hideth My Soul,” by Fanny Crosby. It speaks of this daily development: “A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, He taketh my burden away; He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved; He giveth me strength as my day.”  “But grow in grace, and (in) the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (From II Peter 3:18). Selah! No true child of God is exempt from this training. Failing to train daily, brings corrective discipline.  Ron

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Manipulative Advertising

What would happen, if you viewed a commercial that pointed out the problems with the product, as well as the good points? You would probably not consider purchasing the product. Advertising is designed to motivate you to purchase something. Far too often, we blindly go with what appeals to our desires. We seem to accept deceitful advertising. However, the Gospel is not something to be sold. To emphasize only the positive benefits of the Gospel is, just like in advertising, less than completely honest. Furthermore we are not selling the Gospel, we are offering it. We are announcing its availability. We need to give people the facts. There are benefits, there are costs, and sometimes dangers. They are not to “sign up” for the benefits; they are to take advantage of the offer or reject it. We must heed Paul’s command in Romans 12:17 to: “Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” Susan H. Peterson, in her hymn, “Do Not Be Surprised,” gives an honest picture of the offer: “Do not be surprised at the suffering you bear; it’s not something strange, so you must not despair. Rejoice that you share with Christ and His sufferings know; when He comes in glory, your joy will o’erflow. If you are insulted because of Christ’s name, you’re blessed, for God’s Spirit on you will remain. Your suffering should never be for what deserves blame; but if for your faith you’re hurt, be not ashamed. God’s judgment will start with His own family. What then will the outcome for godless men be? In spite of your suffering, do good to all men; for God will be faithful to you to the end. If God should will that you suffer ill, commit yourself gladly His will to fulfillSelah! Usually, there are blessings and burdens in our life in Christ. The blessings are for rejoicing; the burdens for refining. The end result is joy forevermore!  Ron

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“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night.” — Psalm 91:5

Guest Article- From Charles H. Spurgeon

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night.” — Psalm 91:5

Author: Charles H. Spurgeon

“What is this terror? It may be the cry of fire, or the noise of thieves, or fancied appearances, or the shriek of sudden sickness or death. We live in the world of death and sorrow, we may therefore look for ills as well in the night-watches as beneath the glare of he broiling sun. Nor should this alarm us, for be the terror what it may, the promise is that the believer shall not be afraid. Why should he? Let us put it more closely, why should we? God our Father is here, and will be here all through the lonely hours; He is an almighty Watcher, a sleepless Guardian, a faithful Friend. Nothing can happen without His direction, for even hell itself is under His control. Darkness is not dark to Him. He has promised to be a wall of fire around His people—and who can break through such a barrier? Worldlings may well be afraid, for they have an angry God above them, a guilty conscience within them, and a yawning hell beneath them; but we who rest in Jesus are saved from all these through rich mercy. If we give way to foolish fear we shall dishonour our profession, and lead others to doubt the reality of godliness. We ought to be afraid of being afraid, lest we should vex the Holy Spirit by foolish distrust. Down, then, ye dismal forebodings and groundless apprehensions, God has not forgotten to be gracious, nor shut up His tender mercies, it may be night in the soul, but there need be no terror, for the God of love changes not. Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore cast away, nay, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do.”

Though the night be dark and dreary,
Darkness cannot hide from Thee;
Thou art He, who, never weary,
Watchest where Thy people be.”

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Profile of the Praising Saint

The praising saint has had all sin(s) forgiven, has been cleansed, accepted, adopted and has become a child of God. He or she has peace with God, the peace of God, knows the love of God, has fellowship with God and has God living in him or her. This saint has daily guidance and direction, hears the voice of God in the Word of God, daily. He or she is given a Divine mission, is equipped for the responsibility and has God’s enabling, step by step through life. He or she has One who helps with every burden. He or she is given understanding of God’s working through the ages. He or she has been rescued from Hell and guaranteed Heaven. He or she has been given an inheritance and is a co-heir with Jesus. He or she has been given countless brothers and sisters. God has impacted the lives of others through His saints. He or she has a song in his or her heart and sometimes on his or her lips. He or she have a higher quality of life and avoid many damaging consequences of sin and find rest in God and stability in living. He or she sometimes find healing and, one day, perfect healing forever! The list could go on, but you get the picture. “Blessed (be) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly (places) in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). E. A. Hoffman offered praise in the hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” Let this praise be echoed in yours, if you know the Lord: “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms. O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, leaning on the everlasting arms; O how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms. What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.” Selah! As one gospel song puts it: “If it keeps gettin’ better and better, O Lord, I don’t know what I’m gonna do! (Gaither, I believe).   Ron

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A “File Cabinet” Mind?

File cabinets are useful. We can put important and true information in a folder and it’s there in the cabinet when we need it. There is a drawback, however. We can file it and forget it. It’s still important and true. Nevertheless, until we take it out, think on it, use it, and grasp the significance of it, it is only stored knowledge. When we let our minds become simply a place to store knowledge and information, they have become a sort of mental “file cabinet.” Have we put all our Spiritual knowledge and truth into this mental “file cabinet?” Do we take it out, think on it, appreciate it, act on it and become excited when we recall the wonder of what we did, what it meant to us, what a difference it made in our lives? Have we wondered why we didn’t get it out and think on it often? Was this concern in Peter’s thoughts, when He wrote to fellow believers, in II Peter 3:1-2? He told them what his purpose was in writing both letters: “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in (both) which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour….” Let’s bring the wonders of God’s Person and work in our lives out of mental storage and live life in reality of His blessings! Mary D. James’ hymn, “All for Jesus ” is an expression of the reality that should be ours: “All for Jesus! all for Jesus! All my being’s ransom’d pow’rs; all my thoughts and words and doings, all my days and all my hours. All for Jesus! all for Jesus! All my days and all my hours. Let my hands perform His bidding; let my feet run in His ways; let my eyes see Jesus only; let my lips speak forth His praise. All for Jesus! all for Jesus! Let my lips speak forth His praise. Worldlings prize their gems of beauty, cling to gilded toys of dust, boast of wealth, and fame, and pleasure; only Jesus will I trust. Only Jesus! only Jesus! Only Jesus will I trust. Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus, I’ve lost sight of all beside, — so enchained my spirit’s vision, looking at the Crucified. All for Jesus! all for Jesus! All for Jesus, crucified! Oh, what wonder! how amazing!  Jesus, glorious King of kings, deigns to call me His beloved, lets me rest beneath His wings. All for Jesus! all for Jesus! Resting now beneath His wings.” Selah! No Christian was ever intended to occasionally scan God’s Truth and His working in our lives. We are to live in the wonder, thrill and glory of such a personal relationship with Jesus! Do we? We can!  Ron

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What Did We Put on the Altar?

My computer came to me and told me what it would do for me. If that were true, I wouldn’t be pleased. I want to use my computer for my own concerns, not for what it chooses to do. When it comes to Christians versus a computer, what have we put on God’s altar? Is it our talents, our knowledge, our plans, our goals? If so, what use are we to God? I want control over my computer; God wants control over our talents, knowledge, plans and goals. In short, He wants us to place ourselves on the altar. If I maintain control of my computer, I can accomplish a lot; if God maintains control of our lives, think what He can and might accomplish. My machine has no choice in the matter. We do have a choice! We can do things our way and accomplish nothing of eternal value or we can yield to God and He will accomplish things with eternal value! It’s a matter of control. When I’m in control, what I do is a “fleshly” work. I will take pride in what I do. God will never bless that which is of the flesh! When He is in control, it’s a work of the Spirit, God, the Holy Spirit, and He gets and deserves the glory! And we “end up” blessed! This is what Paul, in Romans 12:1-2, was urging the believers at Rome to do: “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.” Let the chorus in Charles H. Gabriel’s hymn, “More Like the Master,” be the offering of our lives: “Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone; take Thou my heart and make it all Thine own. Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore, wash me and keep me Thine forevermore.” Selah! When God’s fire strikes our self efforts, only ashes are left; when His “fire” works in and through us, pure gold emerges from the flames.     Ron

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What Is That Smell?

There are two phrases you have probably heard: “Smell those flowers!” and “The stench of death.” There can be an application made in the lives of genuine Christians. Think on “Smell those flowers!” What a pleasant scent comes from some flowers! We really enjoy it. Being around a vibrant Christian who loves and enjoys His or Her Lord, who is filled with joy and peace and who really cares for others; this brings pleasure! What about “the scent of death?” If a child of God is deeply burdened over lost people and has a chance to explain to those who are lost what they face if they do not come to Jesus as Savior and Lord, some will begin to think on what death means to them. They may begin to “sense” what would happen to them if they face eternity without knowing Jesus. An awareness of impending death and judgment may move them to come to Him while they can. Failure to receive Him leaves one with a nagging sense of fear of what comes after the grave. In II Corinthians 2:15-16, Paul writes: “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” A. J. Hodge, in the hymn, “Have You Counted the Cost?” musically describes the contrasting impacts that our lives and words can have on people: “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? 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 we walk closely with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will direct the proper scent to the right people.   Ron

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