What’s Beautiful about Holiness?

To answer the question in today’s article: Much! Here are some thoughts: First: Moral purity!That’s enough by itself to make holiness beautiful. However, it also gives meaning to and exalts the “sacred.” Then it bestows the wonder and honor of being wholly set apart to God. The ‘flip side” of that is that we are removed from the kingdom of darkness and placed in the kingdom of light! When we are born again, our character and conduct are being purified. Eventually, the process will be completed! Meanwhile, we learn the value of and enjoy the practice of worship. (A great way to get ready for Heaven). So….”GIVE unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness (Psalm 29:1)!  Selah! No creature but man can engage in intelligent worship!  Ron                                                

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

Kavanaugh/Ford

It’s not the purpose of this article to debate who is right and who is wrong. Instead, I want to comment on what brought us here. II Timothy 3:1-4 contains an interesting line of thought. Consider: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be….unholy….without natural affection….false accusers….lovers of  pleasure more than lovers of God.” (There is much more in the passage, of course). What I’m driving at is that the level of moral integrity has dropped sharply. Why? Because God and His Word, church, moral standards and concern for lost people, have been given minimal attention. When times of genuine revival come, spiritual awakening, and an improved moral climate follow. Let us pray for some times of refreshing from the Lord to come now in our day!  Ron

Note: The format of these articles will be like the above for a few days, until I master this new computer. Thank you for your patience!  Ron

Oh, What A Future!

I wonder if much real thought is given to our future after the grave! The lives of those without Christ move through our speck of time here on earth with little, if any thought on the “forever,” after the grave. The problem is compounded for many by denial of, or by ignoring, eternal realities. How shocking it will be to be confronted by their Creator for not heeding His warning: “….it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (From Hebrews 9:27). They will have “forever” to be separated from Jesus and anything good. Someone reading this may foolishly say, “I don’t believe all that stuff!” What if you are wrong?! On the other hand, for those who receive Jesus’ pardon and salvation, Heaven is guaranteed “forever!” It’s a place that is so perfect, that words are unable to adequately describe the wonder(s)! The Bible gives many glimpses, but only Heaven itself will reveal all that God has for us, “forever!” Why will anyone gamble with his soul: Jesus asked one of the most searching questions ever asked: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (From Matthew 16:26).  A. J. Hodge’s hymn title asks, “Have You Counted the Cost?” He warns: “There’s a line that is drawn by rejecting our Lord, where the call of His Spirit is lost, and you hurry along with the pleasure-mad throng — Have you counted, have you counted the cost? You may barter your hope of eternity’s morn, for a moment of joy at the most, for the glitter of sin and the things it will win — Have you counted, have you counted the cost? While the door of His mercy is open to you, ere the depth of His love you exhaust, won’t you come and be healed, won’t you whisper I yield — I have counted, I have counted the cost. Have you counted the cost, if your soul should be lost, tho you gain the whole world for your own? Even now it may be that the line you have crossed, have you counted, have you counted the cost? Selah! Conversely, for those who have come to Jesus, what a day of rejoicing awaits in the “forever” home of His blood-bought children!  By receiving or rejecting Jesus, you choose where you will be “forever!” Choose wisely! Don’t wait too long! Any minute could be your last opportunity to decide.   Ron

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

 

Oh, What A Wonder!

To enter into a personal relationship with Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior is the greatest gift ever given to a human being or ever will be given. Think on these few examples of the wonder of salvation: We are given Spiritual life to restore our broken connection to God. Our eternal destiny has been changed from Hell to Heaven. We are completely forgiven for every wrong thing we’ve ever done and for all we should have done and didn’t do. We are given a new nature that craves God and righteousness. We are at peace with God and we can have His peace within. We are given God’s guidance for an abundant and joy-filled life. We are getting glimpses into God’s plans for the ages. We can have blessed fellowship with other members of God’s family. We have meaning and purpose in our daily lives. We can talk with and listen to God. He reveals Himself to us in the Bible. This list could be extended and detailed far beyond the space afforded in these posts. But this gives you some idea. II Corinthians 5:17 speaks of this: “Therefore if any man (be) in Christ, (he is) a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” These thoughts found in the Gospel song, “Since Jesus Came into My Heart,” – By Rufus H. McDaniel give musical testimony to the wonder of new life in Christ: “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart! I have light in my soul for which long I had sought, since Jesus came into my heart! I’m possessed of a hope that is steadfast and sure, since Jesus came into my heart! And no dark clouds of doubt now my pathway obscure, since Jesus came into my heart! There’s a light in the valley of death now for me, since Jesus came into my heart! And the gates of the city beyond I can see, since Jesus came into my heart! I shall go there to dwell in that city, I know since Jesus came into my heart! And I’m happy, so happy, as onward I go, since Jesus came into my heart! Since Jesus came into my heart, since Jesus came into my heart, floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll, since Jesus came into my heart.” Selah! Reformation and resolve may improve some lives; only the Truth of the Gospel, when received, can effect such a radical transformation of a human being. Oh, what a wonder!   Ron

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

Nip It in the Bud

If temptation is not nipped in the bud, it will produce a toxic weed. For example: When we are tempted to dislike someone, become annoyed or disgusted with them, or get angry or furious at them, it can have serious consequences. We may come to hate them and say hateful things to and/or about them. We may harbor unforgiveness, thoughts of revenge, along with a root of bitterness. Hebrews 12:15 warns against this. Our emotions tug at our minds until we begin to think of ways to hurt, harm or even kill. This, if unrestrained, can move us to engage in sinful acts. Unless nipped in the bud, we are damaged or defiled in our hearts and someone could be badly hurt or killed. How can sin be “nipped in the bud?” In Matthew 4:3-11, Satan tempts Jesus, when He is very weak and vulnerable. Jesus is offered things that appeal to humans, appeal to pride, appeal to the eyes and that try to take over the mind. Jesus “nipped in the bud” each temptation with “It is written!” If Jesus had responded emotionally, or pridefully, or given in to what looked so exciting and/or pleasurable, there would have been only a horrible eternity for the human race and no possibility of salvation for anyone. When Jesus’ mind was filled with Scripture and Jesus willed to go by God’s Word and not by “feelings,” what happened? Verse 11 tells us: “Then the devil leaveth Him.” A Word-disciplined mind is the key to victory over: “….the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (From I John 2:16). “Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide; and run not before Him, whatever betide. In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord, and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul, each thought and each motive beneath His control. Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.” ( We would do well to heed these wise words from the hymn, “Take Time to Be Holy.” By William D. Longstaff). Selah! At each temptation we have to be prepared to go by what is written!    Ron

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

Weed Removal

The importance of the Presence of the Holy Spirit can never be overstated! Only as He works can sin be purged from our hearts and lives. His work is a must for any who know Jesus as Lord and Savior. The weeds are prolific and propagating. Although the work takes time, and progress is often slow, more and more victory is assured for His disciples. It begins with Spiritual life becoming ours at the moment of our rebirth. The Holy Spirit enters our hearts and brings new life. Jesus, in John 6:63, tells us: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life.” As these “living Words, God’s own Words, begin to control our hearts and discipline our talk and behavior, more and more sinful weeds are uprooted and disposed of. This is what Galatians 5:16 promises: “….I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” What this means is that we spend quality time daily in the Word and prayer at home, at church, at Bible classes, in Sunday School, with friends, in dependable Bible aids (books, tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc.). This exposure is what the Holy Spirit can use to teach, guide, correct, and discipline us. He reveals God, exalts Jesus, gives us comfort, grace and strength for the journey. Saving faith that brought salvation is increased, strengthened, and develops holiness in our lives. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, (even) our faith” (I John 5:4). Weigh carefully these two stanzas from Fanny Crosby’s hymn, “Draw Me Nearer,” Let our prayer and purpose be: “I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice, and it told Thy love to me; but I long to rise in the arms of faith and be closer drawn to Thee. Oh, the pure delight of a single hour that before Thy throne I spend, when I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God  I commune as friend with Friend!” Selah! This is the inward working that leads to our predestined conformity to His image.    Ron

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

There’s Only So Much Space!

In our inner beings (our hearts) there is only so much room. It is amazing how much can fill that space! “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). This list could be more detailed. For example: “evil thoughts” could include envy, jealousy, hate, anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, and much more. These kinds of things are the seeds of sin that, if not dealt with, blossom into sinful attitudes and actions. On the other hand: “….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). The lives of God’s children are not intended to allow sin and righteousness to co-exist! That is why Paul was inspired to command: “….be filled (be being filled) with the Spirit.” (From Ephesians 5:18). The more we are being filled with the Holy Spirit, the less breathing space for the weeds of sin. Being filled with the Holy Spirit chokes off the life of the weeds. His purifying Presence cuts off their nourishment. God willing, in tomorrow’s article, we would like to examine the way this works. May this be your heart cry, if you know the Lord: “Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.” (“Spirit of the Living God“-By Daniel Iverson). Selah! We are to be Transformed! Let the weeds be pulled up and disposed of daily.    Ron

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

Seeds of Sin

I’ve heard claims that Satan doesn’t have access to our minds, if we are born again. If that is so, there is a problem: From where do temptations come? In James 2:13 we are told: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man.” Verse 14 goes on to say: “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” What tempts him to satisfy his lust(s)?  Is it his old nature? Yes. But who does the “drawing away?” Who stimulates the lustful desires? The only reasonable conclusion is that the enemy of our souls stimulates our sinful desires. It’s called: temptation. Are we helpless victims? Only if our hearts are not informed and disciplined by God’s Word. The more our minds are renewed (see Romans 12:2) by Scripture, the more they will overrule emotions that would tempt us to give in to sin. Satan plants seeds of sin in our minds. Only the Holy Spirit bringing the Word of God to bear on our hearts can remove the seeds of sin before they blossom. May our hearts’ desires be like the ones expressed in these stanzas from the hymn, “Search Me, O God,” By J. Edwin Orr: “Search me, O God, and know my heart today; try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray. See if there be some wicked way in me; cleanse me from every sin and set me free. 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. Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine; fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.  Take all my will, my passion, self, and pride; I now surrender, Lord – in me abide.” Selah! How does the Holy Spirit deal with these seeds? We hope, God willing, to look at that tomorrow. Hope to see you.   Ron

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

Unable to Tame

There is a rebellious part  of our being that passionately resists taming. It is, at one and the same time, a deadly weapon and a weapon for ministering to others. Which it is depends on what controls it. By now, I suspect that you have decided it is the tongue. That is exactly what it is. However, it’s not the physical tongue that we have in mind here. It is our speech, our talk, what we say, or what we fail to say. It can comfort, heal, encourage, challenge, etc. Or, it can hurt, damage, discourage and even destroy! Scripture must be used to discipline our minds, emotions, and wills. This is the Holy Spirit’s means to restrain and harness the talk that comes out of our mouths. God’s Word gives a lot of teaching on this subject. Therefore, it must be extremely important in order to warrant that much space. Let’s look for now at the deadly nature of our sinful use of talk. In Matthew 12:34, Jesus told His unsaved listeners that: “….out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” What comes out of our mouths is an index of our spiritual condition! James echoes our Lord’s teaching: “And the tongue (is) a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of Hell” (James 3:6). Those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior can and must fill their hearts and minds with what God gives us for combatting mind corruption. The Psalmist wisely prayed: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14). Before we speak, let’s learn to run what we intend to say, through that grid! Philip P. Bliss gave us a hymn written for the young. It, nevertheless, applies to all who claim Jesus as Lord. It’s title is, “God Is Always Near Me.” It reminds us: “God is always near me, hearing what I say, knowing all my thoughts and deeds, all my work and play. God is always near me: in the darkest night, He can see me just the same, as by midday light. God is always near me, though so young and small;  Not a look, or word, or thought, but God knows it all.” Selah! If we truly know God, our talk must be surrendered to Him to control and purify!    Ron

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

The Matter of the Heart – 5

With regard to your heart, what has the upper hand in your life? Is it your mind, your emotions, or your will? For a lot of folk, emotions sway the mind and the mind moves the will to try to experience good (or seemingly good) “feelings.” Actually, not disciplining the mind to critically analyze possible courses of action can cause us bad results. When our minds are in harmony with Scriptural principles, we will see that emotions must be under control and not allowed to be the driving force in our lives. “Feelings,” when they bypass the mind, will usually result in doing our will, not God’s.  If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we need our minds to be guided by God’s principles. As the Holy Spirit brings Scripture to bear on our speech, our behavior, our attitudes, our values, our activities, and our entertainments, our lives mature Spiritually. Wholesome emotions are the overflow of a life lived for the glory of God. Remember the verse we included recently: “….as he thinketh in his heart, so  (is) he.” (From Proverbs 23:7). Jesus told us in Matthew 12:35 that:A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” If we fill our minds with God’s Word until it is firmly planted there; if we “will” to be guided by it; if we “will” to control our emotions, from our lives will issue good things. Are we this serious with God? Georg Neumark‘s hymn, “If Thou but Suffer (Let) God to Guide Thee reminds us of God’s blessings in our lives: “If you but trust in God to guide you and place your confidence in Him, you’ll find Him always there beside you to give you hope and strength within; for those who trust God’s changeless love build on the rock that will not move. Only be still and wait His pleasure in cheerful hope with heart content. He fills your needs to fullest measure with what discerning love has sent; doubt not our inmost wants are known to Him who chose us for His own. Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving, offer your service faithfully, and trust His Word; though undeserving,  you’ll find His promise true to be. God never will forsake in need the soul that trusts in Him indeed.” This is Life indeed! Selah! Ask yourself: What works best; is it an “emotion driven” life or a Spirit directed life? Not a hard question to answer, right?    Ron

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