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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