What Love Is Not!

Hollywood and Broadway have done a lot to muddy the waters of understanding what love is really like. It is portrayed as exciting, strong emotion, fun, warm and fuzzy. While love may excite nice “feelings,” this is exactly what real love isn’t. Love goes way beyond ”feelings.” It endures even when “feelings” are sad, frustrated, discouraged, disappointed and angry. It endures through good times and bad times. It is wonderful to be loved; it is even more wonderful to love. This is esteeming others as being important and special, even our enemies! Some people are unlovely! So were we before we turned to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Paul gave us a very inspired description of how love works. I Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us that “charity (love) suffereth long, (and) is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Some helpful thoughts are offered in Susan H. Peterson’s, “Love Must Be True and Honest.” This is how she expressed it: “Love must be sincere and honest; hate what’s evil, keep the good. Be devoted to each other, honor them as Jesus would. Never lack in zeal or fervor; serve the Lord with all your heart. Patient, joyful, always faithful, in affliction, hope and prayer. Share with those who need assistance, always ready your home to share. Bless all those who persecute you; bless and do not curse their names. Joy with those who are rejoicing; weep with those who mourn their fate. Live in peace; be not conceited; mingle with those of low estate. Never pay back wrong with evil, do what’s right in all men’s eyes. Live at peace with every person; avenge not—God metes out wrath; give your enemy food and water: he may change his wicked path; Don’t let evil triumph o’er you; overcome each wrong with good.” Selah! Without letting ourselves being taken advantage of, there are ways of expressing love and respect. We do it sometimes with words and/or actions and by crediting others with having value.    Ron

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

Living By Faith?

Living by faith”-what does that really mean? Is it a false confidence that expects God to make my path through life smooth, free of difficulties, dangers and suffering? That’s the message that often comes through in books, CDs/DVDs, preaching and hymns. True faith goes way beyond that. Genuine trust in God begins with yielding my life to Him, surrendering control of my will to Him. From then on, we look to Him for His will for our lives. We learn to trust Him day by day, hour by hour, no matter the blessings and trials. We receive Him, trusting Him to be our Savior and Lord. The problem is that we want, what we want. Faith (trust), on the other hand, is letting God give and withhold as He chooses. We do not have to understand or even like what develops but we can rest in confidence that He knows best, even when it looks like He is not “coming through” for us. Remember, He makes the worst suffering work out for good in His timing. He is shaping, sanding, smoothing and perfecting us. This kind of faith will comfort us in trials, lead us through trials and bring us out on the other side of trials as victors: “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). “In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet, God leads His dear children along; where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet, God leads His dear children along. Sometimes on the mount  where the sun shines so bright, God leads His dear children along, sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night, God leads His dear children along.Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose, God leads His dear children along; through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes, God leads His dear children along. Away from the mire, and away from the clay, God leads His dear children along; away up in glory, eternity’s day, God leads His dear children along. Some through the waters, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood; some through great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.” (“God Leads Us Along”-By G. A. Young). Selah! The “fire” of trials is to purify God’s children’s trust (faith). “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward” (Hebrews 10:35).               Ron

 

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

Centering Our Focus

Busy, busy, busy! How much does that define us? Are we legitimately busy or are we greatly distracted by much activity? Have we critically examined our activity? Some, of course, is necessary; how much isn’t? How much is distraction, keeping us from really getting to know our Lord? I want to share again what my Pastor wisely advised us years ago: “Beware of the barrenness of a busy life!” We fool ourselves into thinking the demands on our time excuses us from a quality time commitment to fellowship with Jesus, getting to really know Him deeply and closely. The hymnwriter wrote: “Take time to be holy; speak oft’ with Thy Lord.” Try going through Scripture and look at Jesus and what the Word reveals about the wonder of His Person. Remember this Person dwells with all who know Him as Lord and Savior. He isn’t confined to about 2000 years ago; He’s here-NOW! Once we grasp this Truth, get our priorities right, we can identify with Paul’s yearning heart, expressed in Philippians 3:10: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection….” and with these lyrics: “I’ve found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me, He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul; the Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see all I need to cleanse and make me fully whole. In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay; He tells me every care on Him to roll. He all my griefs has taken and all my sorrows borne. In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tow’r; I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn from my heart, and now He keeps me by His pow’r. Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore, through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal. He’ll never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here, while I live by faith and do His blessed will; a wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear, with His manna He my hungry soul shall fill. Then sweeping up to glory, I’ll see His blessed face, where rivers of delight shall ever roll; He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul” (“The Lily of the Valley”- By Charles W. Fry). Selah! It’s not easy to weed out the unnecessary. However, determining to do so will bring huge blessings!   Ron

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

Power in the Gospel!

Without God’s power, the Gospel is confined to information and facts. Information and facts are only to let us know the Gospel power works. Then, that power is ready to work! How? Look with me at what has been called: “The Great Commission.” (It could also be called: “The Great 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.” (From Matthew 28: 19-20). In John 6:63, Jesus explains: “….the words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life.” There are two words in the original language for our word: “power.” One, I understand to mean power as great energy or force; the other has the idea of great authority. When we share Gospel Truth from Scripture, it is Jesus speaking to hearts  with Spiritual and living words. And, as He promised, He is right here with His own, channeling His Words through us to others. May our prayer be that of Frances R. Havergal as given in her hymn, “Lord, Speak to Me That I May Speak.” This was her prayer: “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! Pray that He will channel those Living Words through us without obstruction.   Ron

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

In!

Noah and his family were safe in the ark, because of true faith (trust in God). That doesn’t mean that Noah didn’t have trials and problems; he did, but he was saved from God’s judgment because God honored his trust. The word translated “pitch” that kept the water out carries the idea of atonement. Those that didn’t trust suffered an awful death and a horrible eternal fate! Noah and his family were “in” the ark. They weren’t hanging on to wooden handles secured to the outside of the ark, trying to ride out the storm by their efforts. What a picture of salvation (rescue, deliverance) today! We,  who have bowed in faith to Jesus as Lord and Savior, are “in” Him. He is our ark of salvation! Judgment will strike all who are not “in” Him. II Corinthians 5:17 speaks of being “in” Christ; Galatians 2:20 speaks of Christ being “in” us. All who have come to Him are enveloped by Him and He, in the Person of the Holy Spirit dwells within our inner beings (hearts). He is our refuge! “I will hide in Christ my Saviour when the storms about me roll; I will seek the blessed harbor where no harm can reach my soul. When my heart is crush’d with sorrow, burdened down with care and grief,  in His loving arms I’ll hide me, there He gives a sweet relief. There I find a holy refuge, there the troubled waves are still’d, there He speaks sweet words of comfort till my heart is warm’d and filled. I will hide in Him forever, precious Jesus, what a friend! He alone can keep me safely till I reach my journey’s end. I will hide me, I will hide me, I will hide me evermore; safe within the Rock of Ages, I will hide me evermore.” (“My Refuge”-By Frank L. Parshley). Selah! No one could get out of the ark, once in; no one could get in the ark after the door was closed. The only guaranteed time to enter is now; later may be too late!    Ron

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

Faith and Fear at the Fork

Those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior do not escape suffering and trials. If they did, most everybody would “sign up,” but  it would be for the wrong reason. For the child of God, suffering and trials are used to test our faith so we’ll know if it’s true faith or is only conditional. It’s natural to fear danger and worry about problems. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try to avoid or escape trials. Sometimes we can; many times we can’t. Take fear, for example: something troubling (pain, loss, hurt, lack of basic needs, injury, etc.). We have come to a “fork” in the road of life. Questions arise: Why? What can I do? I can’t handle this! This situation is hopeless! Faith sees God in control, ready to walk us through the trial. Fear consumes us: God doesn’t seem to be doing anything to deal with our urgent need. I Peter 1:6-7 speaks to this: “….now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” So, here we are at the “fork.” If we cave in to fear, our lack of true faith is exposed. We can give up on God or we can determine to trust, no matter what! We can go the way of faith and rejoice in our Father’s love, Presence, strength, wisdom and help. No matter what happens to us, if we truly trust, He will bring us through to eternal freedom from all suffering, pain and fear. Trust inspiring truth is found in these verses from, “How Firm a Foundation” (Uncertain Authorship): “Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed; for I am your God, and will still give you aid; I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand. When through the deep waters I call you to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow; for I will be with you, your troubles to bless, and sanctify to you your deepest distress. When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, my grace, all-sufficient, shall be your supply; the flame shall not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.” Selah! Paul understood suffering. His response to suffering? “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding (and) eternal weight of glory.” (II Corinthians 4:17).             Ron

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

What Power?

Paul’s inspired testimony to the church at Rome is found in Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The key idea in this verse is that the gospel impact is powerful! I wonder how many lives have been impacted by the gospel message. Whenever and wherever this message has been shared it has led to the transformation of a huge number of lives. However, it has also brought powerful conviction to those who resist. Even today when the message goes forth, and when the whole Word of God is expounded and taught, it impresses its authority and truth on all, even when resisted. Matthew 7:29 tells us that people were impressed with Jesus’ teaching because: “….He taught them as (one) having authority.” When the Holy Spirit uses God’s Word, Jesus is speaking today! In Hebrews 1:2, we are told that God: “hath in these last days spoken unto us by (His) Son.” Whenever the Word of God enters our hearing, even when resisted or rejected, Jesus is speaking today! P. P. Bliss’ hymn, “Wonderful Words of Life” musically underscores this power of Jesus’ speaking: “Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life; let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life. Words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty. Christ, the blessed One, gives to all wonderful words of life; sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life; all so freely given, wooing us to heaven. Sweetly echo the gospel call, wonderful words of life; offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life; Jesus, only Savior, sanctify forever! Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life; beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.” Selah! As we share the Word of God, we are His channels through which He speaks to people today. Ron

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