This is the Work of an Enemy!

Wheat and tares look very much alike until harvest time is near. There is a big difference, however. Wheat is a beneficial plant while tares are weeds. In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus spoke of this: “….saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Let’s look at this in terms of a local church. What does Satan gain by sowing spiritual “weeds?” Much! They look like the real thing, but act otherwise. It gives outsiders a chance to cry, “Hypocrites! The tares can cause damage to those who are truly God’s people (wheat). As to the tares themselves, some may assume they are actually wheat, providing a false assurance. Here’s an amazing thing: Some of those tares can be turned into wheat! If they aren’t changed into wheat, the “bottom line” is tragic beyond words! They will be separated at harvest time and burned! Margaret F. Sangster wrote of this in her hymn, “Growing Together, Wheat and Tares.” Consider these thoughts: “Growing together, wheat and tares, all clustering fair and green, fanned by the gentle summer airs beneath one sky serene; over them both the sunlight falls, and over them both the rain, till the angels come when the Master calls to gather the golden grain. Growing together side by side, and both shall the reapers meet—the tares aloft in their scornful pride, and bowing heads of wheat. Swift and sure o’er the waving plain the sickle sharp will fly, and the precious wheat, the abundant grain, be harvested in the sky. But O the tares,—for them the word of a terrible doom is cast; “Bind and burn,” is the Lord’s command, they shall leave the wheat at last; never again the summer rain, and never the sunshine sweet, that were lavished freely, all in vain on the tares among the wheat. Where shall the reapers look for us when that day of days shall come?  O solemn the thought with grandeur fraught, of that wondrous harvest-home!  O Saviour grant when Thine angels come to reap the fields for Thee, that we may be found with the golden grain that garnered in Heaven shall be.” Selah! Those who have surrendered control of their lives to Jesus, as Savior and Lord, are “wheat!” “Tares” haven’t done that!   Ron

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

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“Forever” is a Very Long Time!

Strictly speaking, “forever” simply contains “time” within its existence. “Time is just a little “speck” in the limitless expanse of eternity. Our brief life span, compared with eternity, would defy being found within the “dot” on our letter “i.” Why, then, do we major on our time on earth and give only a little, if any, thought to “forever?” For the mind-blinded person, Satan keeps him or her focused on the concerns and allurements of this fallen and passing world. Blindness indeed! Perhaps they hear or read a few things from the Bible, but “….the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Then, there are those who yield their lives to Jesus as their Savior and Lord. They desire their lives to count for God. So, they get right “down to business” and go all out, right?  Wrong! With some notable exceptions, Satan manages to distract and divert them from focusing on what really matters. They bear little fruit. The tragedy is that they don’t even realize that they have been manipulated by a master strategist. What to do? Recognize the problem! Intensely determine to make Jesus and the things of God our major focus. Keep in mind that we have only a brief “window of opportunity” to prepare for “forever.” Let God and His Word keep you spiritually clean. Check yourself daily (hourly?) to be sure you are truly set apart to Him. Spend much quality time in fellowship with God. Keep your focus on eternity. Pray with Albert B. Smith, the prayer that he prayed in his hymn, “With Eternity’s Values in View.” May we live: “With eternity’s values in view, Lord. With eternity’s values in view, may I do each day’s work for Jesus with eternity’s values in view!” Selah! “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord (is)” (Ephesians 5:15-17).       Ron

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

Escaping the Undertow

​​Feeling “pulled under?” I’m not talking about the water when I ask this question today. There is a far worse current operative in our world today. That current is generated by the enemy of our souls and it’s no mild force! Satan would drag us down into sin, discouragement, distractions, wrong friendships, etc. He suggests excuses for our failing to “get down to business” with God. The world, the flesh and the devil combine to suck us under. Now, here’s an amazing thing: if we were talking about water’s undertow, we would struggle to escape with every ounce of strength we have in our bodies. Why, then, do we not resist the undertow that is designed to destroy us spiritually? Our neglect of being serious about the things of God has lulled us into a state of spiritual paralysis. We have been tranquilized into numbness! We may not even feel the downward pull. Paul and James unite to sound the inspired alarm: “….(it is) high time to awake out of sleep.” (From Romans 13:11). “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse (your) hands, (ye) sinners; and purify (your) hearts, (ye) double minded” (James 4:8). God is reaching out to us; draw nigh to Him and take His hand and be rescued. If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, draw on His strength and fiercely resist the undertow. These stanzas from, “Trust and Obey“-by John H. Sammis challenge us to resist the devil’s pull: “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. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way; what He says we will do, where He sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey.” Selah! One response to this will be: I need to do something about this undertow. The other response: “Looking to God, I’m going to fight this undertow with determined effort until I escape!” Your response?  Ron

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

 

Are We Ready for Revival?

When thinking about, talking about and praying for revival, I believe Revelation 3:18 is seldom given a close look. This is what it says: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” “Gold tried in the fire:”  fire burns away dross. The fire of God’s Word, when we are really sensitive to it, burns away sin, and consumes “wood, hay and stubble” in our lives. This includes things like cheap amusements, carnal desires and actions, false idols like money, fame, popularity, even ungodly education, taking harmful substances into our bodies, listening to or sharing questionable talk, etc. “White raiment:” clothed in His promised righteousness, let Him purify our lives with daily application of Scripture. “The shame of our nakedness.” We don’t want to have Spiritual “bankruptcy” exposed in our lives. Be filled with His riches and become holy! (If we don’t want to experience this, we are likely not His yet)! “Eyesalve” heals and relieves eye problems, helping us to see better. Instead of skimming over God’s Truth and missing much of what He wants us to see, we take a hard look; we focus on understanding, applying and obeying what He enables us to see. The “bottom line?” A walk through life with Jesus as our Lord and Savior is serious business! Are we taking our relationship with Him seriously? “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart,” a hymn by George Croly, Includes petitions that are to be mirrored in our hearts: “Spirit of God, Who dwells within my heart, wean it from sin, through all its pulses move. Stoop to my weakness, mighty as You are, and make me love You as I ought to love. Did You not bid us love You, God and King, love You with all our heart and strength and mind? I see the cross there teach my heart to cling. O let me seek You and O let me find! Teach me to feel that You are always nigh; teach me the struggles of the soul to bear, to check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh; teach me the patience of unceasing prayer. Teach me to love You as Your angels love, one holy passion filling all my frame: the fullness of the heaven-descended Dove; my heart an altar, and Your love the flame.” Selah! If we are ready to heed the counsel in this verse we have been considering, we are ready for revival.   Ron

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

Overcoming Tepid Living

There is something wrong with just drifting through life without aim or purpose. It is without excuse in the life of a person who has received Jesus as Lord and Savior. We, who know Him, have more to live for than anyone else on earth has. We have been pardoned for all sin(s); we have a personal relationship with God; we are in His Presence 24/7; we are guaranteed Heaven; we are loved, blessed,  guided, taught, encouraged and much more. We have meaning, purpose, peace, joy, help, fulfillment and more. What’s not to get excited about? But too many have lapsed into a numbing lethargy, a tasteless lukewarmness, a bored attitude toward the most dynamic existence possible to a human being. Why? What could restore the zeal to a life like that? Here are some things that would “fire up” Godly passion: 1. Investing time in deepening fellowship with Jesus in the Word and prayer. 2. Truly repenting of any known sin in our lives. 3. An increasing burden for the lost. 4. Separation from the world’s ways and values. 5. Time spent with God’s people and special times with those who take their walk with Jesus seriously. II Corinthians7:1 gives us this inspired charge: Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” It’s time to get intense with God! “There was pow’r, O Lord, in the days of old, to kindle a fire in hearts grown cold; that we on Thy Word may now lay hold,  Lord, send that pow’r again. There was pow’r by which every tongue could speak, new life-giving pow’r unto the weak, that sent them the wand’ring ones to seek—Lord, send that pow’r again. There was pow’r to set ev’ry captive free and give to Thy servants liberty to speak and to pray and work for  Thee—Lord, send that pow’r again. There was pow’r, O Lord, in the old-time pray’r, it thrilled every heart and lingered there, till we in Thy glory seemed to share—Lord, send that pow’r again. Lord, send the pow’r again,  O send the pow’r again!  We believe on Thy name, and Thy promise we claim,  Lord, send the pow’r again. (“Send the Power Again“- by William C. Poole). Selah! Take hold on God; let Him set your heart on fire with the flame of revival!   Ron

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

Taking Our Spiritual Temperature

If there were a thermometer for taking one’s Spiritual temperature, what would it read? If 10 were the high and 0 the low, where would the red line be for each of us? What guidelines could we use to estimate? Here are some: 1. Do I have a deepening love for, and gratitude to, Jesus? 2. Am I excited and/or enthusiastic about the things of God? 3. Do I seek to be holy? 4. Have I lost interest in the ways of this world? 5. Do I have a true burden for lost people? 6. Do I love and crave the Word and prayer? 7. Is my entertainment and are my activities clean and wholesome? 8. Do I pray for and seek to be an example to, with God’s help, my local church? 9. Do I have a meaningful and pleasurable “quiet time alone with God,” daily? These are a few questions (not necessarily in order) to help us assess how Spiritually high or low we are; how Spiritually hot or cold we are. May these considerations move us to “….love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength….” (From Mark 12:30). May our desires and determination be like Johnson Oatman Jr. as expressed in his hymn, “Higher Ground.” He exclaimed, “I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day; still praying as I’m onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay; though some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim, is higher ground. I want to live above the world, though Satan’s darts at me are hurled; for faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground. I want to scale the utmost height and catch a gleam of glory bright; but still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” Lord, lift me up and let me stand, by faith, on Heaven’s tableland, a higher plane than I have found;  Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” Selah! Taking our Spiritual temperature is not so we can see how bad it is. It is to identify the need and apply the needed cure!   Ron

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

At Room Temperature

Water at room temperature, at least for most of us, is really “blah!” Cold water on a hot day is refreshing; hot water can yield a nice cup of coffee and/or tea. It’s one thing when we are talking about something to drink; it’s quite another thing when we are thinking about our spiritual lives. How tragic for one who was once “on fire” in the things of God to settle down to the “room temperature” in far too many churches today! How many people today get a “taste” of what we profess and decide that it’s “blah?” Revelation 3:14-19 records Jesus’ rebuke and appeal. Verses 14-17 contain the rebuke. (It’s worth the time to think deeply on Jesus’ rebuke; it seriously applies to many today). For example: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (From Verses 15-16). After further rebuke in Verse 17, Jesus appeals to this Laodicean church and, by inspiration, to us: “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and (that) the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Verses 18-19).  Many need to be re-ignited in zeal. To be “zealous” means to be brought back to the boiling point. Are we “on fire?” Or, do we need to be revived to a “burning” intensity? Can we identify with the prayer in the second stanza of J. Edwin Orr’s hymn, “Search Me, O God?” His prayer (and ours?): “I praise thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin; fulfill Thy Word and make me pure within.  Fill me with fire where once I burned with shame; grant my desire to magnify Thy name.” Selah! We may or may not be in the Laodicean period of church history, but we have, in large measure, a Laodicean spirit to overcome. Are we ready to overcome lethargy?    Ron

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