Guest Article-“Life or Death Choices”- By Dr. A. W. Tozer

To keep the whole Christian witness in balance we must teach what the Bible teaches about the future of the impenitent. But we should watch over our own hearts lest, unbeknown to us, we unconsciously welcome the idea of hell as the revenge we take against those who do not believe as we do. Just as the fear of excommunication or purgatory serves to keep the faithful Romanist in line, so it is entirely possible to use the fear of hell to make people knuckle under to the dictatorial pastor or the evangelist trying to fill his quota of converts for the evening.

The idea of hell found in the Scriptures is so fearful that the first impulse of a loving heart is to wish it were not so. But human pity is both a beautiful and a dangerous emotion. Unless it is subjected to the sharp critique of moral judgment it may, and often does, put our sympathies on the side of the murderer instead of on the side of the dead man and the widow and children he has left behind him. Unholy sympathy moves starry-eyed women to send flowers to the criminal awaiting execution while the innocent child he may have raped and mutilated scarcely rates a fugitive impulse of pity.

In the same way uninformed and unreasoning sympathy tends to take sides with the fallen and rebellious race of men against the Most High God whose name is Holy. That He gave men life and intelligence, that He has been patient with them while they defied His laws, killed His only begotten Son and scorned His dying love, is overlooked completely. That men use their gift of free will to reject God, choose iniquity and with wide open eyes persistently work to prepare themselves for hell, seems not to matter to some people. In a welter of uncontrollable emotion they throw themselves on the side of God’s enemies. This is unbelief masquerading as compassion.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

 

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

 

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Ransomed!

Satan tempted Eve and the result was that he gained control of both Adam and Eve. They were his captives! He did not intend for them to be released. It was almost like they were kidnapped with their own willing cooperation. Satan didn’t send a ransom note! However, God knew the ransom amount and it was beyond astronomical! Suppose you received a ransom note for someone you dearly love. It demands an amount beyond all possibility of paying. Someone steps forward and pays the full price and your loved one is released. On an infinite scale, the ransom price for “kidnapped” sinners is the suffering and death of Jesus. Only because Jesus is God and is infinite was He able to ransom Adam’s fallen race. I Timothy 2:6 tells us that Jesus: “gave Himself a ransom for all.” The price is paid-in-full for all! Tragically, the majority refuse release! But for those who do, they can relate to Julia H. Johnston’s wonderful hymn, “He Ransomed Me.” These are the words she set to music: “There’s a sweet and blessed story of the Christ Who came from glory just to rescue me from sin and misery; He in loving-kindness sought me and from sin and shame hath brought me – Hallelujah! Jesus ransomed me. From the depth of sin and sadness to the heights of joy and gladness, Jesus lifted me in mercy full and free; with His precious blood He bought me, when I knew Him not, He sought me, and in love divine He ransomed me. By and by with joy increasing and with gratitude unceasing, lifted up to be with Christ eternally, I will join the hosts there singing, in the anthem ever ringing, to the King of Love Who ransomed me. Hallelujah! What a Savior, Who can take a poor, lost sinner, lift him from the miry clay and set him free! I will ever tell the story, shouting, “Glory, glory, glory!” Hallelujah! Jesus lifted me.” Selah! Pause and think on the limitless immensity of the price and then think on the love that moved Him to pay it!     Ron

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

Discipleship-Part 4-A Disciple Have “Fun?”

Should a disciple have “fun?” Perhaps the question should be: Should a disciple have enjoyment and pleasure? Why not? Unless….it is not a wholesome type of pleasure and enjoyment. A word of caution: Satan is often able to engineer a subtle and gradual move from “wholesome” to “sinful.” If we are not “on guard” we can be snared. Also, enjoyment and pleasure can become our focus, crowding out God from our thoughts and devotion. Keeping our priorities straight, pleasurable experiences can be refreshing and relaxing. Unless we are alert and sensitive to God’s Word and His Spirit, having “fun” can become idolatry. Paul’s inspired standard is found in his first letter to the church at Corinth: “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any(I Corinthians 6:12). Just because something is within the boundaries of what is lawful doesn’t mean it should take over our lives. The right of  control belongs to our Lord Jesus. He is the center of our lives; He is the object of our love and devotion. In his hymn, “Joy in Serving Jesus,” Oswald J. Smith reminds us of the greatest joy of all: ” There is joy in serving Jesus, as I journey on my way, joy that fills the heart with praises, ev’ry hour and ev’ry day. There is joy in serving Jesus, joy that triumphs over pain; fills my soul with Heaven’s music, ’til I join the glad refrain. There is joy in serving Jesus, as I walk alone with God; ’tis the joy of Christ, my Savior, Who the path of suff’ring trod. There is joy in serving Jesus, joy amid the darkest night, for I’ve learned the wondrous secret, and I’m walking in the light. There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus, joy that throbs within my heart; ev’ry moment, ev’ry hour, as I draw upon His pow’r, there is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart.” Selah! While we enjoy some special pleasures and experiences, let us never lose sight of the greatest of all joys, our wonderful Lord!   Ron

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

Discipleship-Part 3-Wealth and Possessions

There’s nothing wrong with wealth and possessions in and of themselves. There is, however, a real problem when these are “owned” by us. (I’m not speaking of owning them in trust for Another). What we own, owns us! Many times a disciple is entrusted with assets, over which he or she is to exercise stewardship, not ownership. True, our gracious Master allows a certain amount of personal use of His bounty. When we use this, we should be careful to use it within Biblical guidelines. Jesus expressed a warning in Luke 16:11 regarding how we handle wealth: “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true (riches)?” He also reminds us in Luke 12:15 that we are to: “….Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” The “bottom line” is this: Is your heart given to “things,” or given to Jesus? Is wealth your treasure, or is He your greatest Treasure? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). Hattie E. Buell was driven from her home because she wouldn’t renounce her trust in Jesus. He was her greatest treasure! She tells us about it in her hymn, “A Child of the King,” What a testimony! “My Father is rich in houses and lands, He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands! Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold, His coffers are full, He has riches untold. My Father’s own Son the Savior of men, once wandered on earth as the poorest of them; but now He is pleading our pardon on high, that we may be His when He comes by and by. I once was an outcast stranger on earth, a sinner by choice, and an alien by birth, but I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down, an heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown. I’m a child of the King, a child of the King; with Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King. A tent or a cottage, why should I care? He’s building a mansion for me over there. ‘Tho exiled from home, yet still I may sing: all glory to God, I’m the child of a King.” Selah! Earthly treasures are only temporary; He is the only true treasure and He abides forever!   Ron

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

Discipleship-Part 2-Popularity?

It’s nice to be liked, nicer still to be loved. What if you are disliked, tolerated, despised, even hated? I’m not talking about when we have an abrasive and/or arrogant way toward people. I’m thinking of someone who knows Jesus as Lord and Savior and leads a Godly life. That person is usually not popular with those who do not know Jesus. Their responses to serious disciples range from indifference, disagreement and rejection, to hatred and hostility. Why? Because consecrated lives are a rebuke to their worldview and their lives. Jesus spoke of this: “I have given them Thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14). With those who are not open to God’s Truth, we are not going to be truly popular. Let us identify with Rhea F. Miller’s poem,” I’d Rather Have Jesus,” especially the second verse: “I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;  I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause; I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame. I’d rather be true to His holy name.” Selah! A disciple who determines to walk closely with Jesus must not expect the world’s approval. Do our lives reveal Jesus’ work in and through us? Or, are they so similar to the world that they don’t disturb the unsaved around us?    Ron

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

Discipleship-Part 1: What Matters Most?

Discipleship is a very serious matter! To be a disciple implies that the one called a disciple will become more and more disciplined. So, in the next few days, prepare to ascertain just how serious you are about being a disciple of Jesus. The challenges are not offered to discourage you but to motivate you to reach a new level of commitment. What follows is predicated on one knowing Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior. If that is the case, Jesus has something, in Matthew 6:33, to say to us: ….seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness….” Jesus has the supreme claim on our lives! Today’s challenge has to do with family. This is a strong test. Husbands, wives, parents, children are included. In Matthew 10:37, Jesus said: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Note that three words are mentioned twice in the verse: “More than Me.” Elsewhere, we are admonished to love family, but not more than Jesus. Where do we stand in this matter? Do we love Him more than anyone or anything? Consider these excepts from, “I Must Be True to Him,” by T. O. Chisholm: “I have a Friend, a faithful Friend, He died, from destruction to save me, my hopeless cause He did defend, and life everlasting He gave me. I live thro’ Him, He dwells in me, and I can do nothing without Him, tho’ other friends may faithless be, I never, no, never, could doubt Him. He died, yes, He died on the cross for me, I look’d on Him there and my soul was free, He’s more than a brother (or sister), than father or mother, and I must be true to Him.” Selah! We are to love others (and especially family)! Do we love Him even more; much more? Ron

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

Joy is Strength?

In Nehemiah 8:10, the Israelites were told to celebrate because: “….the joy of the LORD is your strength.” How can the joy of the Lord impart strength? Notice that it doesn’t say joy “in” the LORD, although that would also provide strength. How? Think with me. God does have limitless joy in all who are His and in the process of His redemptive working. As we know Him and walk with Him, basking in His Presence, wonderful realities emerge. He foresaw all who would (or will) open their lives to Him. Each of these are forgiven, cleansed, restored and become His sons and daughters. We are at peace with God. We enjoy His loving Presence. He walks beside us all through life and will lead us safely Home. He protects, provides, guides, teaches, corrects, disciplines and otherwise prepares us for a perfect eternity with Him. He comforts, encourages, gives understanding, walks us through life’s trials. He shapes and molds us into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ! He loves us! He is 100% faithful and reliable. He reveals Himself to us, in His Word. He is an explosion of wonders; He is wonderful! Looking back on His working in us and for us, we can only marvel! To see it unfold in response to our unconditional trust in and love for Him strengthens our hearts and minds for the remainder of our pilgrimage through life. Indeed, we can render a joyous “Amen!” to Barney Elliott Warren’s hymn, “Joy Unspeakable,” which testifies to this joy: I have found His grace in all complete, He supplieth every need; while I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,  I am free, yes, free indeed. I have found the pleasure I once craved, it is joy and peace within; what a wondrous blessing, I am saved from the awful gulf of sin. I have found that hope so bright and clear, living in the realm of grace; Oh, the Savior’s presence is so near, I can see His smiling face. I have found the joy no tongue can tell, how its waves of glory roll; it is like a great o’erflowing well, springing up within my soul. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, full of glory, full of glory; it is joy unspeakable and full of glory, Oh, the half has never yet been told.” Selah! Seeing God’s working and ways rewards faith with strength to joyfully face trials and tests, with joy, even in suffering! Peter, in I Peter 1:8, sums it up in a few words: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see (Him) not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory….”     Ron

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