Respect in Responding

There’s no more efficient way to cut off communication with someone than to attack him or her personally. People naturally go defensive when attacked. Reasoning with someone with whom you disagree is more apt to win them. Being rude to them may prevent truth from being accepted. Sadly, even some claiming Jesus as their Savior and Lord attack character rather then respectfully debating issues. There are times when so-called “righteous anger” is resorted to in an attempt to cover up our own inability to defend our position adequately. Courtesy and respect can go a long way in reasoning with most people. Even when a major Bible doctrine is at stake, taking a firm reasoned stand can be done without being mean or hateful. We must be firm against heresy, while trying to salvage the heretic. We can’t give an inch of ground to error, but some erring ones can be delivered by the truth being spoken in love. (See Ephesians 4:14-15). On a lesser plain, but important, there are issues such as politics where healthy debate may get us closer to truth then “digging in our heels.” “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). Of course, there are times that someone is not reachable. Paul spoke of this to Titus: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject” (Titus 3:10). However, not with an attitude of disgust, but with grief. If we are standing on solid Scriptural ground, There may be times when error has to be publicly rebuked. Even then, restoration is to be sought. “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save. Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, feelings lie buried that grace can restore; touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, chords that are broken will vibrate once more.” (From “Rescue the Perishing” by Fanny Crosby). These thoughts can also apply to somebody caught up in error. Selah! Love, teach, defend, learn and look to God for help in salvaging someone.  Ron

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Why families? Why didn’t God just make individuals? The answer is obvious: He knew that we needed each other and that is just as true today as when God created Adam and Eve and declared: “….(It is) not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (From Genesis 2:18). A good family loves, supports, shares, helps, prays, works together, and protects the family’s name and reputation. These are the responsibilities we all have toward each other, loving and being loved as a family. As part of God’s family, we have similar “Spiritual” responsibilities and privileges. Paul prayed to the Father in Ephesians 3:14 and adds this fact about the Father in Verse 15: “Of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” This family is the greatest of all families and to be born into this family is to be overwhelmingly blessed. And that is what takes place when we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord! Gloria and William Gaither wrote about, “The Family of God.” This is how they put it: “You will notice we say “brother” and “sister” ’round here, it’s because we’re a family and these folks are so near; when one has a heartache we all share the tears, and rejoice in each victory in this family so dear. From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King, no longer an outcast, a new song I sing; from rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong, I’m not worthy to be here, but, praise God, I belong! I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, for I’m part of the family, the family of God.” Selah! Let’s behave and function as becomes members of God’s family and honor and glorify that Holy Name by which we are called!   Ron

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Stress is so much a part of our lives that we seem to accept it as inescapable. Some types of stress are beneficial. Mostly, however, we can be and need to be stress-free. We need adequate rest. This is true physically; it is true spiritually. How can we get proper rest, spiritually? Let’s start by considering things that hinder or prevent spiritual rest. Here’s a sampling: 1. Busyness. 2. Distractions. 3. Worry. 4. Not accepting or asking for help. 5. Trying to do too much.  “God doesn’t drive His sheep; He leads them!” (Source unknown). There is one priority that must out-rank all others and that is time spent alone with Jesus in the Word and prayer. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus urged: “Come unto me, all (ye) that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke (is) easy, and my burden is light.” We must order our days wisely, according to Scriptural principles, not taking on responsibilities without guidance from our Lord, looking to Him for strength and enabling, and except for a genuine emergency, not neglecting rest. “Near to the Heart of God,” by Cleland Boyd McAfee, musically describes this essential rest: “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God, a place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God. There is a place of comfort sweet, near to the heart of God, a place where we our Savior meet, near to the heart of God. There is a place of full release, near to the heart of God, a place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God. O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God, hold us, who wait before thee, near to the heart of God.” Selah! Walking in the Spirit, not walking in the energy of our “flesh,” brings comfort, strength and rest!    Ron

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Discipline and Exercise

It’s possible to eat right, get plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and still be flabby. This is bad when we are referring to our physical situation; it is tragic if we are spiritually flabby. How many who claim Jesus as Savior and Lord are, for all Spiritual purposes, “wimps?” There seem to be too many who enjoy all the benefits but are undisciplined and do not exercise. What do we mean by spiritual discipline and exercise? Have we disciplined ourselves to be faithful in a daily “quiet time?” Are we faithful to the local assembly? How about discipline in our finances and giving? Or do we do these things only when we are “in the mood?” What about exercise? Sharing our faith is exercise! However, it is only a part of our necessary exercise program. Some of the other exercise includes study: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15). Godliness: “….exercise thyself (rather) unto godliness.” (From I Timothy 4:7). Defending our faith (knowing what we believe and why and becoming able to teach and defend it): “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” (I Peter 3:15). And: “….earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (From Jude, Verse 3). Christianity is not a game, a club, a means of entertainment, etc. It is war, a battle, an enemy, attacks, defense, conquests, etc. Paul understood, do we? He testified: “But I keep under my body, and bring (it) into subjection.” (From I Corinthians 9:27). Mrs. C. H. Morris offers these timely thoughts: “They who know the Savior shall in Him be strong, mighty in the conflict of the right ’gainst wrong; this the blessed promise given in God’s Word, doing wondrous exploits, they who know the Lord. Brave to bear life’s testing, strong the foe to meet, walking like a hero midst the furnace heat, doing wondrous exploits with the Spirit’s sword, winning souls for Jesus, praise, oh, praise the Lord! Victory! victory! Blessed, blood-bought victory!  Victory! victory! Vict’ry all the time!  As Jehovah liveth, strength divine He giveth unto those who know Him—vict’ry all the time!” (From: “Victory All the Time“). Selah! This is a time to develop spiritual muscle; it is not a time to make excuses for a lack of discipline and exercise.    Ron

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Fresh Air and Sunshine

If we develop healthy eating habits, we are far more apt to be able to get out and go. What a combination: good food, fresh air and sunshine! Joachim Neander wrote of this. His hymn, “Heaven and Earth, and Sea and Air,” speaks of these blessings: “Heaven and earth, and sea and air, all their Maker’s praise declare; Wake, my soul, awake and sing: now thy grateful praises bring. See the glorious orb of day breaking through the clouds His way; moon and stars with silvery light praise Him through the silent night. See how He hath everywhere made this earth so rich and fair; hill and vale and fruitful land, all things living, show His hand.” These bless us on a physical level and we should thank and praise God for them. But for a child of God, there is a daily supply available of nourishing food, such as that of which we wrote yesterday. Add to that feast, we also are blessed on the spiritual level with the fresh air and “Son”shine of mountain top experiences with our Lord. “There is sunshine in my soul today, more glorious and bright, than glows in any earthly sky, for Jesus is my light! There is music in my soul today, a carol to my King; and Jesus listening, can hear the songs I cannot sing. There is music in my soul today, for when my Lord is near  the dove of peace sings in my heart, the flowers of grace appear. There is gladness in my soul today, and hope and praise and love for blessings which He gives me now,  for joys “laid up” above. O there’s sunshine  blessed sunshine,  when the peaceful, happy moments roll; when Jesus shows His smiling face,  there is sunshine in my soul.” (From “Sunshine in the Soul,”-by Eliza E. Hewitt). SelahEat right, breathe the fresh air of Spiritual purity, spend lots of time in the “Son”shine. Begin to understand what Paul was talking about in Ephesians 1:3, when he wrote: “Blessed (be) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly (places) in Christ.”     Ron

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An Adequate and Essential Diet

In II Peter 3:18 we are exhorted to: “….grow in grace, and (in) the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” This calls for an adequate diet and this diet is essential! Spiritual junk-food will not suffice! We can go by our “feelings” and suffer the consequences or we can listen to our “Head” and have robust spiritual health. Obviously, we need milk as we begin our new life with Jesus as our Savior and Lord: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.” This is for our “baby stage.” We need to have adequate and pure milk. However, we need to graduate quite early to adding solid food to our diet. The inspired author of Hebrews 5:13-14 points this out: “For every one that useth milk (is) unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, (even) those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Water is also essential: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). Of course, no healthy diet lacks fruit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Here’s another fruit found in Hebrews 13:15: “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of (our) lips giving thanks to His name.” This is an adequate and essential diet for spiritual maturity, once we have been born again. In the hymn, “Come and Dine, C. B. Widmeyer speaks of the feast Jesus has for His family: “Jesus has a table spread where the saints of God are fed,  He invites His chosen people, “Come and dine;” With His manna He doth feed and supplies our every need:  Oh, ’tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time! Soon the Lamb will take His bride to be ever at His side, all the host of Heaven will assembled be;  Oh, ’twill be a glorious sight, all the saints in spotless white; and with Jesus they will feast eternally. “Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine;” you may feast at Jesus’ table all the time;  He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine, to the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine!” Selah! Are you spiritually healthy? If not, perhaps it’s time to faithfully follow an adequate and essential diet.      Ron

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Use Your Head!


Use Your head! Have you ever heard someone say that to you? It was probably a parent, family member, boss, or friend. They were trying to keep you from doing something stupid and/or harmful. You were going off half-cocked and they wanted you to listen to reason. You thought what you wanted would be nice, fun, helpful, popular or some other enjoyable feeling. There’s a very good possibility that you wish you had listened to, and benefited by, their knowledge and wisdom. In the Spiritual realm, it works the same way. We who know Jesus as Lord and Savior are Jesus’ body (the Church). We have a “Head.” “….Christ is the Head of the church.” (From Ephesians 5:23). “Head” implies authority, knowledge, sound judgment, good thinking, etc. Jesus combines all of this in the perfection of His Person! It will pay us to listen! Instead of going off half-cocked on some emotional roller-coaster and crashing, use your “Head!” This is what He did to help those who listen to Him: “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we (henceforth) be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, (and) cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, (even) Christ.” Think on these thoughts from Philip Doddridge’s “hymn: “Jesus, We Sing Thy Matchless Grace:” “Allied to Thee our vital Head, we act, and grow, and thrive: from Thee divided, each is dead, when most he seems alive. Thy saints on earth, and those above, all join in sweet accord; one body all in mutual love, and Thou, their common Lord. O may our faith each hour receive the Spirit from above, thus death and hell shall ne’er deceive, nor break the bond of love. Thou the whole body wilt present before Thy Father’s face; nor shall a wrinkle, or a spot, its beauteous form disgrace.” Selah! Use your “Head!” For your blessing and that of the whole Body, use your Head!”    Ron


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Church Does!

Yesterday, we thought about what church is. Today, let’s think on what church does. Church is not an organization or a club. It is a spiritual body! All who experience Jesus as Savior and Lord are made a part of this unique body. How does it function? How can it be healthy? A physical body requires nourishment, sunshine, fresh air, rest, exercise and is designed to reproduce. There are spiritual counterparts to each. Christ’s plan and purpose for His church, His body, is expressed in Ephesians 4:11-16. Note, especially, Verses 15 and 16: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, (even) Christ: from Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Do we really grasp much of the wonder of being made a part of His body? Samuel J. Stone’s hymn, “The Church’s One Foundation,” offers valuable insights in these stanzas: “Elect from every nation, yet one o’er all the earth, her charter of salvation, one Lord, one faith, one birth; one holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food, and to one hope she presses, with every grace endued. ‘Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war she waits the consummation of peace for evermore; till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blessed, and the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest. Yet she on earth hath union with God, the Three in one, and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won. O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with Thee.” Over the next few days, God willing, let’s learn our part in maintaining a healthy spiritual body. Selah! No religion, no club, society, organization, union, etc. on earth can even begin to compare with such a wonder as Jesus’ body, the church of the Living God!   Ron

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Church Is!

Church is not a meeting that is scheduled for Sunday morning for an hour or two. That meeting, that assembling, is something that the church does. The church began about two thousand years ago and will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air at the Rapture. This marvelous and mysterious spiritual body is revealed in Ephesians 5:30 as being: “members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.”  A wife becomes one with her husband. We, who know Jesus as Savior and Lord, are one with Him. It will take eternity to experience the wonder of this high and holy privilege. Jesus’ devotion to His church is described in Ephesians 5:25-27. Jesus:….loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” In the hymn, “What If It Were Today,” Mrs. C. H. Morris reminds us: “Jesus is coming to earth again–what if it were today? Coming in power and love to reign–what if it were today? Coming to claim His chosen Bride, all the redeemed and purified, over this whole earth scattered wide–what if it were today? Faithful and true would He find us here if He should come today? Watching in gladness and not in fear, if He should come today? Signs of His coming multiply, morning light breaks in eastern sky; watch, for the time is drawing nigh–what if it were today?” Selah! The church must not be understood as a religious event! It is His Body, a living, breathing, functioning part of Him! It is nothing less!   Ron

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Really Loving Jesus

The title suggests it’s possible to say and to assume that we love Him and, if we were to be completely honest, we might have to ask ourselves if we really do love Him. Having been born to love ourselves and those who are dear to us, experiencing deep and abiding love for Him might not come easily. If we are going to love Him with intensity, there are no shortcuts. We have to get to know Him, really get to know Him. The first and foremost place to spend quality time with Him is in God’s Word and real conversation (prayer) with Him. Hymns that give us insights into His love and sacrifice truly help, but cannot be a substitute for the Word and prayer! Sermons, books, articles, videos and the contagious love for Him that others have are helpful, but not substitutes. Let me offer some verses, which, if we think deeply on them, looking to the Holy Spirit to bring them alive in our thoughts, will inspire love for Him: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “….when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” (From Verse 10). Nothing: “…. shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (From Romans 8:39). Revelation 1:5 tells us that Jesus: “….loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” If the truths in these verses gets beyond our heads and into our hearts, we can honestly sing: “There is a name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth; it sounds like music in my ear, the sweetest name on earth. It tells me of a Savior’s love, who died to set me free; it tells me of His precious blood, the sinner’s perfect plea. O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus, O how I love Jesus, because He first loved me!” (From: “Oh, How I Love Jesus“-by Frederick Whitfield). Selah! Knowing Him as our Lord and Savior is the only way that we can love Him, really love Him!   Ron

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