The Wonder of the Walk

There is a verse that contains some very vital Truths. That verse has two Truths that are too often overlooked. The part that is most noticed reads like this: “….the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” This is a glorious Truth for all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior, but it is conditional. Here is the condition: “…. if we walk in the light, as He is in the light.” In order to walk in the Light, we have to spend much time in God’s Word and our “steps” need to be ordered by God’s principles and commands. When this is increasingly experienced: “….we have fellowship one with another.” This bonding of hearts; this deep, rich love for and appreciation of the Lord Jesus Christ gives us wondrous interaction with Him. This is what I John 1:7 is all about! Lelia N. Morris in her hymn, “‘Tis Marvelous and Wonderful, grasped the wonder of the walk: “If fellowship here with my Lord can be so inexpressibly sweet, oh, what will it be when His face we see, when ’round the bright throne we meet? When ’round the bright throne we meet?” Selah! The Psalmist prayed: “Order my steps in Thy Word.” (See Psalm 119:133a). We would do well to blend our prayer with His and line up our walk through life with the teachings of Scripture. Ron

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

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Choosing Which Blueprint to Use

We don’t just exist like robots. There isn’t some electrical power that makes us function without thought or choice on our part. We start life with only one blueprint or plan operative. There is, however, another blueprint or plan different from the one with which we begin life. It is infinitely superior to the one active at our birth. We may come to understand these blueprints or plans as worldviews. The one in place at birth is a secular, humanistic worldview. This view is that we are in charge of our lives and we will live them as we want to live them. Satan is behind this one deceiving us into believing that we have every right to do this. There is another plan, blueprint, worldview, that God offers. It is found in the Bible! The secular worldview has no real answers to basic life questions; Where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going? The Bible has satisfactory, true answers to all three questions! God offers us His plan. We can embrace or reject it. Our choice has eternal consequences! Man was created in the image of God, but gave in to sin. All have sinned (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Christ came here, lived, died on the cross to atone for our sin(s); to bear the punishment due our sin(s) (John 3:16). God offers forgiveness, cleansing, restoration, guidance and help, abundant life and eternal blessing for all who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). Consider these words from an early Billy Graham Gospel Movie: “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! In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus points out where the worldview we embrace leads: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide (is) the gate, and broad (is) the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait (is) the gate, and narrow (is) the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” What is your worldview?    Ron

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

 

How to Overcome

As we explained yesterday, those who enter into a saving relationship with Jesus have a new nature. There is also the pull of the old nature. It can be very strong, but it can be overcome. This is a daily process. The way we overcome is by walking after (in step with) the Holy Spirit. He leads us to the Word: “….when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth….” (From John 16:13). As He takes us deeply into the Word, He works the Word deeply into us. Here, He gradually reveals vast amounts of Truth about Jesus. He gives us understanding of right and wrong. He helps us grasp something of the love of Jesus. He convicts us of that which is wrong. He corrects us. He gives us wisdom and guidance for our lives. And He shows us how to overcome! He provides warning, motivation and strength. Here’s how it comes down in each test: The Word enables us to understand when things are wrong. We are troubled and not completely comfortable with something tempting us, but we want to go ahead. We make excuses; we try to justify. All the while, we are emotionally wanting to go ahead; The lusts (strong desires) of the eyes, the “flesh” and pride combine to urge us to “give in.” Here is the critical juncture! We can “give in,” and if we truly know Jesus, we will regret failing, or we can seize on a command or principle and with God-strengthened “wills” refuse to respond to wrong emotions or strong, sinful desires. The more Scripture takes root in our hearts, the more we resist sin and know the joy of overcoming. Filled with the Word, strengthened by Holy Spirit, let us heed Horatio R. Palmer’s exhortation in his hymn, “Yield Not to Temptation.” Here is wise counsel: “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin; each vict’ry will help you, some other to win; fight valiantly onward, evil passions subdue; look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through. Shun evil companions, bad language disdain; God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain; be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true; look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through. To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown; through faith we will conquer, though often cast down; He Who is our Savior, our strength will renew; look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through. Ask the Savior to help you, comfort, strengthen and keep you; He is willing to aid you, He will carry you through.” Selah! Heed God’s Word; pray for His strength; refuse to “give in” to wrong emotions and desires; will to obey His Word regardless of “feelings” and enjoy the victory of overcoming.  Ron

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

 

Conflicting Laws

There are two laws affecting those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior. In Romans 7:21-23, Paul’s inspired explanation is recorded: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Paul contrasts the law of God with the law of sin. Before one is born again, the operating law is the law of sin. Only after genuine conversion does the law of God enter the picture. The problem is that the law of sin, using our fallen nature, resists eviction. At first glance it appears to be a deadlock. However, Paul goes on to reveal more. In Verse 24, he asks: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” In other words, he is asking how he can get rid of this old legacy from Adam’s body of sin. He’s been transferred from Adam’s body to Christ’s body, but vestiges of Adam’s sinful nature still cling to his heart (and ours). In Chapter 8, Verses 2-4, he answers his own question: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” We must walk after the Spirit! How do we walk after the Spirit? Lord willing we’ll try to answer that question tomorrow. Weigh carefully the thoughts from, “Is Your All on the Altar?” by E. A. Hoffman: “You have longed for sweet peace, and for faith to increase, and have earnestly, fervently prayed. But you cannot have rest, or be perfectly blest, until all on the altar is laid. Would you walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word, and have peace and contentment alway? You must do His sweet will to be free from all ill – on the altar your all you must lay. O we never can know what the Lord will bestow of the blessings for which we have prayed, till our body and soul He doth fully control, and our all on the altar is laid. Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid? Your heart does the Spirit control? You can only be blest, and have peace and sweet rest, as you yield Him your body and soul.” Selah! Overcoming is God’s plan and provision for His children!  Ron
Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Taking Control of Our Minds

As we pointed out yesterday, most people let external stimuli control and/or influence their decisions. I say “decisions” because any decision is an act of the will. Think of the heart, our inner being, as a combination and interaction of mind, emotions and will. The problem is that we let desires and emotions influence our decisions. Our minds rationalize, justify and excuse what we want to do. Instead, we should exercise ourselves: “….to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” (See Acts 24:16). Our minds should be trained to embrace what is right and reject (an act of our wills) what is wrong, regardless of “feelings” and desires. This renewing and purifying of our minds comes from Scripture. It is imperative for everyone who has received Jesus as Lord and Savior. We are to study, learn, be guided by, apply and obey God’s Word. We determine in our minds to will to do this, in spite of desires and emotions to the contrary. This is what Paul spoke of in II Corinthians 10:5). He wrote: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Prayerfully seeking God’s strength, we “will” to discipline our minds to obey Christ and “will” to resist emotions and desires that try to move us to doing and/or being wrong. As the hymn, “Trust and Obey,” by John H. Sammis puts it: “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still,  and with all who will trust and obey. But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; for the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey.” Selah! The core of discipleship is Scripture disciplining our minds to reject evil, evil influences and desires, and “will” to trust and obey.   Ron

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

Is Your Mind Under Control?

Many would answer that question with confidence that they are in control of their minds. Many people would have some control of their thinking. Probably most, if not all, would be surprised  to find that much of their thinking is not under their control. Advertising often controls our minds until we realize it, resist it, learn to be discerning, and take back control. People often talk us into things. To that extent they exercise some influence. The influence controls our decisions. What we read, listen to and watch, influences our thoughts and behavior. Emotions, cravings, desires very often control us. We far too easily give into desires and emotions that can and mostly will wreak damage and hurt in our lives. Proverbs 23:7a speaks of this: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so (is) he.” For all who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, their minds are spiritually blinded. (See II Corinthians 4:4). What about those who do know Him? Satan still has influence through our fallen nature inherited from Adam. This can only be countered by our minds being renewed. “…. be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…. (From Romans 12:2). Now, who and what is going to control our thinking? Will it be God’s Word or sin, emotions, desires? We are responsible to decide! Will we cave in to emotions and desires? Or, will we bring our wills down on the side of being directed by Scripture? In Kate B. Wilkinson’s hymn, “May the Mind of Christ, My Savior,” may her first stanza be our prayer and, being guided by God’s Word and drawing on His power, may it be our unyielding determination: “May the mind of Christ, my Savior, live in me from day to day, by His love and pow’r controlling all I do and say.” Selah!  Disciplining undisciplined minds will engage our attention tomorrow, God willing!  Ron

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

Who Is Missing?

Someone is expected to be at a gathering of some sort. People look around, sensing that some are not there yet. Someone asks, “Who is missing?” When it’s found out who is missing, questions are asked? Are they coming? Are they delayed or ill? Has there been an accident? In short, we want to know what to think and/or do. Isn’t it strange then that at Christmas there is one Person that is supposed to be accounted for and the majority are only vaguely aware and many  are not aware at all? Isn’t this the way it is with Jesus at Christmas? How many would celebrate a birthday without the one whose birthday it is? How can such a situation be? Let me digress for a moment. The carols, the decorations, the nice traditions, families and friends, cards, letters and gifts, phone calls, travel, maybe even some snow, these make Christmas a special time. If we are deprived of this for some reason, we’ll likely miss it a lot. Nevertheless, has it been cleverly used to divert our attention away from Jesus? Just as a talented magician uses sleight of hand to steer our eyes away from what he’s doing, Satan may use all the good things of Christmas to keep our focus off of Jesus. Should we scrap all the things that are good about Christmas? Not necessarily! However, it’s well past time to get down to business and discipline ourselves to focus on Jesus and why He was born into this world. John 3:16 tells us why: “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the words of the hymn:, “O Come, Let Us Adore Him,” let us do just that! “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem! Come, and behold Him, born the King of angels! Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n! Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing! O come, let us adore Him; O come, let us adore Him; O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord!” (From “O Come, All Ye Faithful” by John Francis Wade). Selah! Adoration comes from knowing Him, trusting Him for salvation and with the control of our lives. Don’t settle for less! “Thanks (be) unto God for His unspeakable gift” (II Corinthians 9:15).         Ron

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