Affections: Vertical or Horizontal?

Where is our affection centered? This is a very important question for us to seriously consider. Colossians 3:1-2  charges the child of God: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” John adds this warning: “Love not the world, neither the things (that are) in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” James, in James 4:4, “draws a line in the sand” in these words: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” The Holy Spirit adds some more for us to think on: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). It would be hard to make this issue any clearer than these verses. So, is our love and affection directed upward to our Blessed Lord and the things of God, or are they on an even keel with the things of this fallen world? Has worldliness so invaded the average church today that true believers have had their gaze misdirected outward rather than upward? If so, it’s time for a sharp correction of focus! In Robert Lowe Fletcher’s hymn, “Take the World But Give Me Jesus,” we have a prayer to love Him, not this fallen world system: “Take the world but give me Jesus,  He who died, He lov’d me so; gladly now I yield earth’s treasures,  Jesus only would I know. Now I hail my gracious Savior, Living Head and glorious King; and for His redemptive favor, all my gifts and pow’rs I bring. Take the world but give me Jesus, and my heart shall be His throne; King of kings, and Lord forever, He shall rule, and He alone. Take the world but give me Jesus, that dear Friend who loves me so; all the world I leave, to follow Jesus thro’ this vale below.” Selah! What do we mean by worldliness? I hope to address this tomorrow, God willing.   Ron

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

Don’t be Caught Unprepared!

If we are called on for an assignment or opportunity, we want to be prepared. We want to do well. We want to seize opportunities. Why, then, do we seldom think about the most important thing for which we need to be prepared? If we have not surrendered our hearts and lives to Jesus, receiving Him as Savior and Lord, heed this ominous warning: “….it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (From Hebrews 9:27). In one very brief moment of judgment our eternal destiny is fixed forever! Banished to Hell eternally with no opportunity for change. The True Christian, however, has had his or her judgment laid onto Jesus! He bore it! Because of that he or she will be forever with the Lord. We will meet Him some day! Every genuine Christian will be at that meeting. Be it death or the Rapture, we will meet Him face to face! Are we ready for that? Will He  be able to say, “Well done?” In Matthew 25:23, Jesus taught about a faithful servant: ” His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” In the hymn, “Will Jesus Find Us Watching,” Fanny Crosby offers these soul-searching questions: “When Jesus comes to reward His servants, whether it be noon or night, faithful to Him will He find us watching, with our lamps all trimmed and bright? If, at the dawn of the early morning, He shall call us one by one, when to the Lord we restore our talents, will He answer thee–“Well done”? Have we been true to the trust He left us? Do we seek to do our best? If in our hearts there is naught condemns us, we shall have a glorious rest.” Selah! Now is the only time that we can make preparation. If we have never received Jesus, now could be the only opportunity we’ll ever have. If we know Him in a personal saving relationship, now is our only guaranteed opportunity to render loving and grateful service. Prepare now, tomorrow might be too late!    Ron

 

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

   

Out of Balance: Health-wise

 Christians, of all people, shouldn’t place the highest value on what God gives a lower value. Physical exercise helps many people be healthier. That’s good! But God says there is an exercise vastly more important! I Timothy 4:8 gives us what God says matters most: “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” Bodily exercise profits (a) little but Godliness is eternally profitable. Why, then, do we often give more attention to exercising our bodies than to the Godly exercising of our souls? In I Timothy 4:7, God commands: “….exercise thyself (rather) unto godliness.” How do we do that? By disciplined determination to study God’s Word, apply it to our lives and become proficient in understanding it and using it. We must also pray in the Spirit (letting Him bring rest to our hearts) and have a healthy Spiritual diet of milk and meat. We also need to avoid spiritual junk food. Godly counsel can “coach” us  toward maximum results. Carefully think on these thoughts in a hymn by J. Newton: “Come my soul, thy suit prepare; Jesus loves to answer prayer; He Himself invites thee near, bids thee ask Him, waits to hear. Lord, I come to Thee for rest; take possession of my breast; there Thy blood-bought right maintain, and without a rival reign. While I am a pilgrim here, let Thy love my spirit cheer; as my guide, my guard, my friend, lead me to my journey’s end. Show me what I have to do; every hour my strength renew; Let me live a life of faith, let me die Thy people’s death.” Selah! Not a few spend much time, money and energy to be physically fit. What are we going to give to Godly exercise?     Ron

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

 

The Voice of God!

Some people ask why God spoke to people in “Old Testament” times but not today. What they don’t always grasp is that: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by (His) Son.” What is meant by speaking to us by His Son? Jesus is the Living Word; the Bible is the written Word. The written Word reveals the Living Word; the Living Word speaks to us as we are engaged by the written Word. Unsaved people respond to the Bible as they would to an ordinary book. People who are being drawn to Jesus find their hearts being spoken to by hearing or reading the Living Word. When one comes to Jesus, receiving Him as Savior and Lord, the more he or she gets into the Word and the Word gets into them, the more they become conscious of His voice! Once we realize we are being talked with, we need to share with others what we are told. While public preaching does this, we need to share with others (not preach to them) on a personal level what God has shown us. Let us pray as did Frances R. Havergal in her hymn, “Lord, Speak to Me.” In her own words: “Lord, speak to me that I may speak in living echoes of Your tone. As you have sought, so let me seek Your erring children, lost and lone. O lead me, Lord, that I may lead the wandering and the wavering feet. O feed me, Lord, that I may feed Your hungering ones with manna sweet. O teach me, Lord, that I may teach the precious truths which You impart and wing my words that they may reach the hidden depths of many a heart. O fill me with Your fullness, Lord, until my very heart o’erflow in kindling thought and glowing word, Your love to tell, Your praise to show. O use me, Lord, use even me,  just as You will, and when, and where until Your blessed face I see, Your rest, Your joy, Your glory share.” Selah! Share wisely what God has revealed. It’s His Word, not our display of knowledge, that He voices to others!   Ron

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

Power

There are several different words in the Bible that are translated as “power.” Sometimes it is talking about strength, sometimes, energy, sometimes, authority, etc. In some instances, it may combine two of these or all three. Acts 1:8 may be a case in point: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Going over the record given, these empowered disciples appear to have been strong and energetic. They certainly spoke with authority and it made an impact! However, that was then; this is “now!” What about power in our lives? They had power to witness and used it. We have that power and it doesn’t seem to be drawn on very much. It is available when we bring God’s Word to bear on people and their situations, while we rely on the Holy Spirit to use it. If we only quote it like we might quote any other book, it probably won’t accomplish much. If, on the other hand, we let God use His Word through us, it will not return void. In John 6:63, Jesus explains why: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life.” When we cite facts, people may agree or disagree; when God speaks through us, it goes beyond the brain and touches the inner lives of listeners. Regardless of response, their hearts have been impacted. The chorus in “Teach Me to Pray,” a hymn by  Albert S. Reitz, conveys the way that we can rely on God to use His Word: “Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me — constant abiding, this is my plea; grant me Thy power, boundless and free — power with men and power with Thee.” Selah! Let’s make sure we are “connected.” God will channel the power!    Ron

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

Only Leaves?

There  is no such thing as a fruitless Christian! A Christian may bear only a little fruit or may bear poor fruit. However, he or she will bear some fruit. In and of ourselves, there will be no fruit! We cannot decide to bear fruit, we cannot work to bear fruit. Fruit is the outworking of the Holy Spirit’s life-giving Presence in us who know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Paul, in Romans 8:9, declared: “….if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Jesus pointed out the difference between living branches and dead branches:Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every (branch) that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2). The dead branches were attached to the tree but no life flowed into or out from them. Eventually, they will be removed! Those who draw life from the Holy Spirit are worked on to bear good fruit and much fruit. The process may be painful; the fruit will bless! Many, maybe all, churches have “dead branches.” They hang on to the tree but are without fruit. Only as our roots are in Jesus will life flow and fruit grow. Let your roots go down deep! Robert C. Marquis’ hymn, “Leaves, Only Leaves, was the Fig Tree’s Crown,” offers us much to think on. Let the lyrics search our hearts.Leaves, only leaves, was the fig-tree’s crown, tho’ it promised ripe fruitage as well; leaves, withered leaves, ah! so parched and brown, a sad story of life they tell. Useless and wasted its years have all been, why should it longer be spared?  Leaves, only leaves, leaves, only leaves,  Jesus has passed, and found leaves, only leaves. Leaves, only leaves, will the Master find if perchance He may pass me today; leaves, only leaves, and no fruit entwined, will my Lord be compelled to say. Hungry and weary He comes to my door, will He find fruit, and abide?  Leaves, only leaves, leaves, only leaves, gath’ring time’s past, and I’ve leaves, only leaves. Leaves, only leaves, after years of care, has God’s goodness been wasted on me? L eaves only leaves, shall this be my share from God’s hand thro’ eternity?  Vainly He sendeth me blessings each day, vainly He cometh, to find leaves, only leaves, leaves, only leaves, gath’ring time’s past, and I’ve leaves, only leaves. Sheaves, golden sheaves, by the Spirit’s pow’r, will I lay at the Master’s feet; sheaves, golden sheaves, in the heav’nly bow’r shall be waiting my soul to greet.  Humbly and fervently, Lord, I beseech, give me great power to win souls, ruined souls, souls, precious souls, gath’ring time’s passing, give souls, oh, give souls.” Selah! Only God can make living branches. Dead ones are removed. Drawing on His Life, we will bear fruit. Make sure you are rooted!   Ron

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

Spiritual Worship

Much goes on today under the heading: “Worship.” A recent article I saw spoke of worship services, worship music, worship leaders, worship seminars, worship forms, etc.  How much of that is truly worship? What is worship? It is something or someone to which or to whom we ascribe worth. When it comes to worshiping God, the meaning is raised to a whole new level! No one or nothing even remotely approaches His worth! I doubt that He is impressed with much that we think is worship. What kind of worship might be valued by God? He tells us: “God (is) a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship (Him) in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). What does that mean? It means that the Holy Spirit so reveals the Father and Jesus through the Word that we are filled with love, admiration, and gratitude for Him. We revere, respect and honor Him with lips and lives. We long to know Him better and better and look forward to being in His Presence forever. The more we understand about Him, the more we are caught up in wonder, love and praise! We are thrilled and fascinated with His Person, power and purity; His perfection! I believe that worship will swell and rise all through eternity! Reginald Heber offers his attempt at expressing worship in that moving hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!” Let our hearts rise in worship: “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee. Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty! Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee, casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;  cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee, which wert and art and evermore shalt be. God in three persons, blessed Trinity! Holy, Holy, Holy! though the darkness hide Thee, though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see, only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee, perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity. Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea. Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and mighty! God in three persons, blessed Trinity.” Selah! God, the Holy Spirit, breathing God’s life into Scripture, inspires us, moves us and enables us to worship. This is a prelude to pure worship!    Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowngtheway1@gmail.com

Increased Understanding=Added Responsibility

Spiritual understanding isn’t something to simply “know!” People who build houses don’t study how to build them so they can sit around and enjoy what they know. They learn how from books, teachers, carpenters and helpers. Then, they build! Therefore, why do many Christians seem to enjoy what they learn but fail to use it? The Holy Spirit gives us understanding and responsibility to use what we learn. We are to become Spiritually strong. Our faith is to become strong; we are to be strong in obedience; we are to be strong to resist temptation; we are to be strong in defense of the Truth; we are to be strong in applying God’s Word, etc. Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians: “….to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man….” (From Ephesians 3:16). That is still God’s intention for all who know Him! It is as Scripture is understood, believed, trusted, applied and obeyed that we become Spiritually strong. In his hymn, “Be Ye Strong in the Lord, D. W. Whittle exhorts us: “Be ye strong in the Lord and the power of His might!” Firmly standing for the truth of His Word; He shall lead you safely through the thickest of the fight, you shall conquer in the name of the Lord! “Be ye strong in the Lord and the power of His might!” Never turning from the face of the foe; He will surely by you stand, as you battle for the right: in the power of His might onward go! “Be ye strong in the Lord and the power of His might!” For His promises shall never, never fail; He will hold thy right hand, while battling for the right, trusting Him thou shalt for evermore prevail. Firmly stand for the right!  On to vict’ry at the King’s command! For the honour of the Lord, and the triumph of His Word, in the strength of the Lord firmly stand.” “Workout” in the Word! Selah! God expects warriors; not weaklings!      Ron

 

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

 

Private Explanation

A few people tell you about a very good book that you should read. Because more than one has recommended it, you decide to read it. You find it somewhat interesting, but long. There is much that you don’t understand. Some of it is good advice on how to be a decent person. A lot of it seems to be tedious history. You wonder why you were encouraged to read it, Later on, you meet the author. You invite him to your home. He gives you a private explanation of his book. As he explains, the book that didn’t mean that much to you becomes interesting and exciting. Now you begin to see why those who told you about it wanted you to read it. It’s like that with the Bible, but on a much higher level! When someone invites Jesus to take charge of his life as Lord and Savior, the Author of the Book comes to take up residence in his innermost being (his actual self) for the rest of His life. “….when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, (that) shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew (it) unto you.” (From John 16:13-14). The Bible comes alive: understanding increases and increases; the life is transformed day by day; hope (anticipated certainty) is ignited; joy and blessings flow into and out through our lives, etc.  Eliza E. Hewitt’s hymn, “More About Jesus,” is the kind of prayer that brings this private explanation to His people: “More about Jesus would I know, more of His grace to others show; more of His saving fullness see, more of His love Who died for me. More about Jesus let me learn, more of His holy will discern;  Spirit of God, my teacher be, showing the things of Christ to me. More about Jesus in His Word, holding communion with my Lord; hearing His voice in ev’ry line, making each faithful saying mine. More about Jesus on His throne, riches in glory all His own; more of His kingdom’s sure increase; more of His coming, Prince of peace. More, more about Jesus, more, more about Jesus; more of His saving fullness see, more of His love Who died for me.” Selah! As more and more is explained, God’s own have heard His voice and are learning to really pay attention!       Ron

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

   

How A Philadelphian Letter Might Read Today

Here and there, there might be a “Philadelphian type” of church today. If they were to receive a letter from Jesus today, how might it read? The following is a very loose paraphrase of the original Philadelphian letter: To the Philadelphian pastor in 2018 from the Holy and True God Who challenges you with “missions.” You have ministry opportunities and obligations. I commend you for having some Spiritual strength, holding firm to my Word and you have not denied Me and have unashamedly identified with My name. I will expose the false ones and “bring them down” in front of you. They will see you loved by Me and honored because you have held to My Word. I will spare you the coming great outpouring of My wrath that will try men on earth. I’m coming for you soon! Hang in there! Great rewards and honor await your unceasing faithfulness. You will bear My new name! Listen carefully to what the Spirit is saying to you!…………… If a letter like this was written today, how many churches might expect such a letter? Perhaps only the “wheat” among the “tares!” Fanny Crosby’s hymn, “Will Jesus Find Us Watching,” asks some searching questions: “When Jesus comes to reward His servants, whether it be noon or night, faithful to Him will He find us watching, with our lamps all trimmed and bright? If, at the dawn of the early morning,  He shall call us one by one, when to the Lord we restore our talents, will He answer thee–“Well done”? Have we been true to the trust He left us? Do we seek to do our best? If in our hearts there is naught condemns us, we shall have a glorious rest. Blessed are those whom the Lord finds watching, in His glory they shall share; if He shall come at the dawn or midnight, will He find us watching there? Oh, can we say we are ready, brother?  Ready for the soul’s bright home?  Say, will He find you and me still watching, waiting, waiting when the Lord shall come?” Selah! Let us have “Philadelphian hearts” in whatever part of church history we find ourselves living!  “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).                      Ron

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