Preparing for Purity

The Psalmist asks and answers a very important question: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3-4). God is speaking of both outward and inward purity. In James 4:8, James is calling on us to get rid of inward and outward impurities: “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse (your) hands, ye sinners; and purify (your) hearts, (ye) double minded.” If you and I are going to gain and maintain purity of heart, we can’t coast along dreamily wishing for a miracle of purity to suddenly and dramatically make us pure. Looking to Jesus for help, we need to be exposed to things that intensify our desire for purity. For example, we need to let the Word search our hearts and let the Holy Spirit generate a desire for holiness of heart and life. We need to be dedicated; we must be fully committed to the pursuit of spiritual purity. We must be determined. It’s in our nature to “lose steam,” if we don’t see results quickly. Therefore, “Never give up!” Keep on keeping on! Also, we must be disciplined. The will, motivated by the Word, must overcome obstacles and not be swayed by discouragement and doubts. Let our hearts and wills be like that of Charles H. Gabriel  as expressed in his hymn, “More Like the Master I Would Ever Be.” May his desire find echo in our hearts and lives: “More like the Master I would ever be, more of His meekness, more humility; more zeal to labor, more courage to be true, more consecration for work He bids me do. 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! If we don’t take holiness and purity seriously, why would an unsaved person bother to consider what Jesus might have to offer?   Ron

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

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What Does “Pursue” Mean?

Yesterday, I included Hebrews 12:14 which commands: “Follow peace with all (men), and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”  What does it mean to “Follow?” Before we consider what this means, let me mention what we are to follow: peace with all men (mankind) and holiness. Then we are told that without holiness: “no man shall see the Lord.” To “follow” implies that we have a Leader. We trust Him, listen to Him, and do what He instructs. To “follow” means to go in the same direction, toward the same goal, doing and being what we are being guided to do and be. We are pursuing the same objective! We are striving for peace and holiness. However, in our “spiritual” pursuit, there is a problem that has to be solved. In order to qualify to undertake the pursuit, we have to be holy. God, however, has declared us holy, crediting us with Jesus’ righteousness. It’s like our record has been wiped clean of anything and everything that would hinder our pursuit. Now we are to follow after (or pursue) holiness of life and, as far as possible, be at peace with all men. How we will pursue will engage our attention tomorrow, God willing. In his hymn, “Take Time to Be Holy,” William D. Longstaff lays out the “ground rules” for this pursuit: “Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; abide in Him always, and feed on His Word. Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,  forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide; and run not before Him, whatever betide. In joy or in sorrow, still follow thy Lord, and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul, each thought and each motive beneath His control. Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.” Selah! For those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord, there are no exemptions from this pursuit!    Ron

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

The Pursuit of Purity

In His Word, God has a lot to say about spiritual purity. Why do we His people not give much thought to purity and to the pursuit of it? Let me pose the question another way: How much time, energy and attention do you and I give to the pursuit of purity and holiness? Hebrews 12:14 commands: “Follow peace with all (men), and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” What do we mean by holiness and purity? How do we pursue it? What are the implications for us? Isn’t it time to give this some serious thought? How much purity is found in His bride (the Church) today? Perhaps a more pertinent question might be: How much lack is there of purity? Over the next two or three or.?..days, let’s give this matter a close look and be prepared to make any changes that the Holy Spirit indicates need to be made. Jesus deserves a pure bride! Let us share the intentions expressed by James Rowe, in His hymn, “I Would Be Like Jesus.” He wrote: “Earthly pleasures vainly call me; I would be like Jesus; nothing worldly shall enthrall me, I would be like Jesus. He has broken every fetter, I would be like Jesus; that my soul may serve Him better, I would be like Jesus. All the way from earth to glory, I would be like Jesus; telling o’er and o’er the story, I would be like Jesus. That in Heaven He may meet me, I would be like Jesus; that His words “Well done” may greet me, I would be like Jesus. Be like Jesus – this my song, in the home and in the throng; be like Jesus, all day long, I would be like Jesus.” Selah! What would happen if the whole church on earth zealously sought to be pure?  Ron

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

Weighing the Options

Think with me about life. After all is said and done, there are really only two options for how we live. We can live for ourselves, our families, our friends, and whatever pleasure and satisfaction we can squeeze out of our brief time on earth. The Bible likens this to a foolish man who builds his house on sand. A few years and a few pleasures, lots of problems, and our house sinks into the sand of eternal suffering. On the other hand, the one who builds his house (his life) on a solid-rock foundation, faith in Jesus as his Savior and Lord, has abundant life here and now. He has help with all of the hard things in life, a wonderful personal relationship; meaning, purpose, joy, peace and a glorious “forever” to come! Well, you might ask: “What if that’s all an illusion?” The one who asks that question might well ask himself that if his own approach to life is foolish, where does that leave him?! Jesus, in Matthew 7:24-27, put it this way: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”  Edward Mote understood and wrote this timeless hymn, “The Solid Rock.” It describes the response of the one who is truly wise: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; in ev’ry high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the ‘whelming flood; when all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Selah! The foolish man will experience eternal loss; the wise man, by comparison, would lose little, if he was wrong, but he will gain forever because he is truly wise.   Ron

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

A Missed Opportunity?

Have we missed an important opportunity and responsibility? Apologetics (the study of what we believe and why it’s true) is sometimes taught to teens and adults, but not necessarily enough. How often is apologetics taught to little kids? Is it possible for them to understand? I believe we have teachers who can bring apologetics down to their level of understanding, if they are themselves taught. Is what we call “Sunday School” living up to its title? Is it truly a “school?” Are we training and equipping students to understand God’s Word and be competent in their ability to defend the faith? Could this reverse the trend of young people abandoning their trust in God’s Word, when challenged in High School and College? We are given a command in I Peter 3:15 that we are to obey: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to (give) an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Don’t we have a responsibility to be ready ourselves and also to help others to be ready? Does our responsibility to “redeem the time” include wise use of the Sunday School and Youth Groups? Think about it! Consider the message in this stanza and the chorus from: ” We’ll Stand by the Bible, God’s Message to Man,” (By Franklin E. Belden). “No book so abounding in wonderful truth, no guide so unerring for childhood and youth, no counsel so needed by man in his bloom, no comfort so sweet on the verge of the tomb. Stand by the Bible, walk by the Bible, teach by the Bible, revealing God’s plan; stand by the Bible, study the Bible, live by the Bible, God’s message to man.” Selah! Let’s do this and help others to do it also.     Ron

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

A Sunday School Word to Avoid?

If you were teaching a class on American History, would you entitle the portion about World War II, “The Story of World War II?” I think you might call it “the history of” or “the account of” or something like that. Why? Because it was real history! It isn’t just a story! Why do we speak of the story of Job, or of Moses, or of Ruth, etc. instead of “the history of….?” We might be wise to say something like this: “This morning, we are going to learn about the life of Noah.” If Satan can plant the idea that these are only interesting “stories,” he just might undermine the reality that these people actually lived, went through these experiences and died. We need to teach our students real history, not entertain them with an interesting “story.” The Bible is not a storybook; it is God’s inspired record! “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” (II Timothy 3:16-17). Nowhere in the passage does it speak of telling a story to teach truth. Scripture is an inspired record of this earth and God’s plans and purposes for it, and for the people on it. Parables are stories to teach truth, but Scripture, as a whole, is an historical record.  In her hymn, “Break Thou the Bread of Life,”  Mary A. Lathbury gave us this pertinent stanza: “O send your Spirit now, dear Lord, to me, that He may touch my eyes and make me see. Show me the Truth made plain within Your Word, for in Your Book revealed I see You, Lord.” No mention of “story” is found in this hymn. Selah! Fact or fables? Let’s tell it like it is!   Ron

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

Without Hope, What?

In an excerpt from A. W. Tozer’s writings, he pointed out that without hope, the world would soon be in a sorry condition. Think of the things people hope for: wealth, popularity, a good job, a career, a nice home, a good car, good friends, happiness, a loving mate, nice clothes, respect, etc. Let me suggest another perspective: let’s say that we have all that is mentioned above. We get up in the morning, go to our employment, come home to a nice meal, enjoy our family, do some “fun” things, turn in and repeat this process day by day, year in, year out. Throw in some travel, vacations, a hobby, maybe helping someone, raising our children, etc. Then we die! Then, what? If that is the outcome of a few short years, why even bother? And, if we add the reality of eternity to this scenario, what then? Living our lives and entering eternity, forever separated from God and righteousness, makes no sense! On the other hand, if we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, turn our lives over to Him to be used for His glory, we have purpose, meaning and hope. Not the kind of hope that is only wishful thinking and longing, but hope that has been defined as “anticipated certainty.” This is absolute confidence in the trustworthiness of the trustworthy One! It is knowing that at the moment of death, we enter a place of purity, beauty, and perfection in the Presence of God forever, free from all of earth’s sin(s) and sin’s consequences. In Ephesians 2:12, Paul speaks of the condition of those who have not been born again as: “….having no hope, and without God in the world.” A gospel song from an early Billy Graham film speaks very clearly to why we even spend a few years on earth: “You were born to find God’s love; life has no other quest. Until your soul has reached its goal, your heart will find no rest.” Selah! Some reason that if we who know Christ are mistaken, what then? We are no worse off and have had a much better life. However, our “certainty” is based on God’s Word, which has never been proved wrong and not on man’s thinking that has often been proved wrong. Jesus wisely said: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26).   Ron

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