The “Field”

If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you don’t go to the mission field; you are on it right now! You don’t become a missionary; you are one! We are “on mission” from the moment of our new birth until we are decommissioned in Heaven. Let’s be sure we are carrying out our mission. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway (even) unto the end of the world. Amen.” The second word in this commission is “ye.” (You, you and me). We are to go. That may be next door,  down the hall, upstairs or downstairs, across town, to a hospital (or hospital bed), to a friend or family member, to a prison or jail, to a business, or it may be to a distant and/or remote part of the field. All of God’s children are to share His message wherever in the field we find ourselves, or in another part, if He calls us to move there. Our message to deliver is Jesus, Himself, and His offer of salvation from sin and its penalty. There are many ways to do this, so look to Him for understanding and guidance. Wherever you are, a word, a tract, a helping hand or sympathetic ear and heart, a book or tape (DVD, CD), phone conversation, invite to church, etc. are ways to carry out your mission. Let’s pray the prayer that Will H. Houghton gave us in his hymn, “Lead Me to Some Soul Today.” May we pray from our hearts: “Lead me to some soul today, O teach me, Lord, just what to say; friends of mine” (and people I meet) “are lost in sin, and cannot find their way. Few there are who seem to care, and few there are who pray; melt my heart and fill my life, give me one soul today.” Selah! Let’s be able to give a good report to the Lord of the harvest!    Ron

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Getting Our Focus Right

Is our Spiritual life a “blur?” What do I mean by this question? In the middle of our daily activities, is Jesus Someone we are aware of in the background of our daily lives? We go about our duties, interests, pleasures, job, chores, etc. In the midst of all this, is He “tucked in” or given a brief time slot for what we call “quiet time?” Shouldn’t each of these things that comprise our daily activities be our mission field? Do we, or could we, let Him use these various activities as a means for Him to touch other lives for Himself? This implies bringing Him into the forefront of our activities; viewing Him in sharp relief. This is seeking His will, His guidance, discerning what He might have for us to do, say, be, in our interactions with those among whom we move as we live our lives. Or, is it our wills, our plans, our interests, that govern us and what we do? This is a line of thinking that could bring new meaning to our Christian journey. If you haven’t thought this way, would you join me in seeking to let Him be in charge of our days and learning to let Him be at the “center” and enable us to redeem the time? “And whatsoever ye do, do (it) heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men, knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” “O softly the Spirit is whisp’ring to me, with tender compassion, with pitying plea; I hear His beseeching, and earnestly pray  that Jesus will make me a blessing to-day. Some heart may be longing for only a word, whose love by the Spirit is quickened and stirred; now grant, blessed Saviour, this service to me, of speaking a comforting message for Thee. Some soul may be plunged in the darkest despair, whose shadows would melt in the sunlight of pray’r; O give me, dear Saviour, I humbly implore, the sweet consolation that soul to restore. Lord, make me a blessing to-day, a blessing to someone, I pray; in all that I do, in all that I say, O make me a blessing to-day.” (From “Make Me a Blessing Today”-By Fanny Crosby). Selah! If you are not already living this way, perhaps you would consider joining me as I try to make Him the One I build my activities around.     Ron

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Trifling with God?

When we consider the anemic state of much that is called Christianity today, we need to ask: “Are we trifling with God.” What might that kind of trifling look like? Some ways to do that may include: Praying when convenient, or just praying as a “Christian duty.” Reading the Bible without a consciousness of God speaking to us and/or not paying much attention to what He says. Letting things and people be our major focus instead of cultivating a richer and deeper experience of His Person. Allowing our hearts to be drawn to the things of this world. Failing to major on loving and pleasing Him. In plain words, not making Him the “center” of our lives instead of His being only on the fringes of our daily activity. Are there to be found some who crave an intimate fellowship with Jesus, a longing desire to please Him, a motivation to bring honor to His name? Do we really want to experience that which Paul experienced when he passionately declared: “For to me to live (is) Christ….” (From Philippians 1:21). If so, let us earnestly pray the prayer found in Fanny Crosby’s hymn, “I Am thine, O Lord.” She prayed: “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. Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, by the power of grace divine; let my soul look up with a steadfast hope and my will be lost in Thine. 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! There are depths of love that I cannot know till I cross the narrow sea; there are heights of joy that I may not reach till I rest In peace with Thee. Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord, to the cross where Thou hast died; draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord, to Thy precious, bleeding side.” Selah! Are we “playing a game” or passionate about our relationship with Jesus?   Ron

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Relinquishing Control

We are in an accident and have to go to “Emergency.” We are carried on a stretcher or  put in a wheelchair. We go blind and have to let somebody lead us. A mate asks to drive and we really want to be at the wheel. Someone tries to persuade us to do something we don’t want to do. We resist giving in. The “bottom line” is that we want to control our lives. We want to make our own decisions. We want to do “our own thing.“ This is bad enough in our daily lives. (It is sometimes justifiable, but many times not). It is sin when we are unwilling to let our Lord and Savior “take over” our lives. He wills only what is best for us. He asks us to: “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). Submitting to His yoke brings a soul-satisfying freedom, not bondage. He is able to guide us through the swamps and snares of a fallen world and lead us safely home, while abundantly blessing us on the way. He gives us strength, guidance and help for all of life’s trials and rewards our trust in Him, while we are suffering. He gives meaning and purpose to our lives and blesses others through us. And, He blesses us through others! When He is in control, He enables us to enjoy: “Living for Jesus, a life that is true, striving to please Him in all that I do, yielding allegiance glad hearted and free; this is the pathway of blessing for me. Living for Jesus, Who died in my place, bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace: such love constrains me to answer His call, follow His leading and give Him my all. Living for Jesus wherever I am, doing each duty in His Holy Name, seeking the lost ones He died to redeem, bringing the weary to find rest in Him. O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to thee, for Thou in Thy atonement didst give Thyself for me. I own no other master, my heart shall be Thy throne; my life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ for Thee alone.”  Selah! As Jim Elliot so adequately expressed it: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose!”   How very true!!    Ron                                                                                                                                   

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If God Went Missing

If we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, let’s consider a question: What if God left us? He won’t do that, of course, but suppose it did happen: how many of us would even notice? Just think along this line for a few moments. Are we so aware of His Presence that, if He were to leave, we would exclaim: “Where did He go?” “Tell me that He’s coming right back!” Would we sense the huge loss, or would we even notice? Is it possible that our lives are so cluttered that without realizing it, we have only allowed Him to dwell in the attic or cellar of our lives? These are places we don’t go to very much. If His Presence isn’t the most important thing in our lives, what can we do to change that? We must allow Him to clean His abode in us. If His Presence is the burning desire of our hearts, He will fill us with Himself. Paul wrote to the Colossians (and to us): “For this cause we also, since the day we heard (it) do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9-10). If He fills our being, His Presence will take over and His will be increasingly done. That old Adamic nature will be unable to function when God rules and reigns! “Would you live for Jesus, and be always pure and good? Would you walk with Him within the narrow road? Would you have Him bear your burden, carry all your load? Let Him have His way with thee. Would you have Him make you free and follow at His call? Would you know the peace that comes by giving all? Would you have Him save you, so that you need never fall? Let Him have His way with thee. Would you in His kingdom find a place of constant rest? Would you prove Him true in providential test? Would you in His service labor always at your best? Let Him have His way with thee. His pow’r can make you what you ought to be; His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free; His love can fill your soul, and you will see ‘twas best for Him to have His way with thee.” (“His Way with Thee”- By Cyrus S. Nusbaum). Selah! How much of our lives is really under His control?  Ron

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Fighting Eviction

Yesterday, we thought on the new nature that craves Godliness. There is, however, a strong opponent to Godliness that still has the ability to fight against Godliness. The bad thing about this opponent is that it exists within the remains of our old nature passed down to us from Adam. Let me “clue you in;” this old life fights eviction! So, where does that leave those who are born again? Are we “stuck” in a struggle between  the old and new natures? The new nature must gain the “upper hand.” How? In Matthew 5:6, Jesus promised: “Blessed (are) they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Spiritual hunger and thirst, just as physical hunger and thirst, moves us to seek food and water. We long for it! We make an effort to get it. Hungering and thirsting for the milk, water, honey, bread and meat of God’s Word moves us to “feast” on His Word. This kind of craving and feasting is the working of the Holy Spirit in our new nature, and is evidence of genuine conversion. If He is your Lord and Savior, you can identify with Clara Teare Williams’ hymn: “Satisfied.” This was her testimony: “All my life long I had panted for a drink from some cool spring, that I hoped would quench the burning of the thirst I felt within. Feeding on the husks around me, till my strength was almost gone, longed my soul for something better, only still to hunger on. Poor I was, and sought for riches, something that would satisfy, but the dust I gathered round me only mocked my soul’s sad cry. Well of water, ever springing, Bread of life so rich and free, untold wealth that never faileth, my Redeemer is to me. Hallelujah! I have found Him Whom my soul so long has craved! Jesus satisfies my longings, through His blood I now am saved.” Selah! Feasting on the Word of God strengthens us; it enables us to overcome the ”pull” of our old nature and moves our opponent closer and closer to final eviction.    Ron

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As far as the east is from the west, (so) far hath He removed our transgressions from us“ (Psalm 103:12).

“(There is) therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

Imagine having been charged with several counts of serious crimes with abundant evidence to convict you. Suddenly you are told all charges have been dropped. You are free! Some experiencing such a pardon would go right back to crime. They feel that they “got away with it.” Now, think of someone who has come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. An incredible amount of sins against God have been totally forgiven and forgotten forever. Wouldn’t some be tempted to sin freely, knowing all charges have been dropped forever? The answer is a resounding “NO!” Why? Because when someone is born again they have a brand new heart and brand new desires. They want to live to please and honor their Heavenly Father! The promise given to ancient Israel is Spiritually applied to all who have been truly converted. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). If you want to go on sinning, you have not been born again. Our redeemed hearts’ desire is well described in Norman J. Clayton’s song: “Every Moment of Every Day.” May we be able to honestly sing: “Only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day; yielded completely to Jesus alone, every step of this pilgrim way. Just to be clay in the Potter’s hands; only to do as His will commands; only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day.” Selah! The Holy Spirit works with the children of God to see these desires nurtured and fulfilled. Let Him have His way with you!   Ron

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