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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Don’t be Caught Unprepared!

If we are called on for an assignment or opportunity, we want to be prepared. We want to do well. We want to seize opportunities. Why, then, do we seldom think about the most important thing for which we need to be prepared? If we have not surrendered our hearts and lives to Jesus, receiving Him as Savior and Lord, heed this ominous warning: “….it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (From Hebrews 9:27). In one very brief moment of judgment our eternal destiny is fixed forever! Banished to Hell eternally with no opportunity for change. The True Christian, however, has had his or her judgment laid onto Jesus! He bore it! Because of that he or she will be forever with the Lord. We will meet Him some day! Every genuine Christian will be at that meeting. Be it death or the Rapture, we will meet Him face to face! Are we ready for that? Will He  be able to say, “Well done?” In Matthew 25:23, Jesus taught about a faithful servant: ” His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” In the hymn, “Will Jesus Find Us Watching,” Fanny Crosby offers these soul-searching questions: “When Jesus comes to reward His servants, whether it be noon or night, faithful to Him will He find us watching, with our lamps all trimmed and bright? If, at the dawn of the early morning, He shall call us one by one, when to the Lord we restore our talents, will He answer thee–“Well done”? Have we been true to the trust He left us? Do we seek to do our best? If in our hearts there is naught condemns us, we shall have a glorious rest.” Selah! Now is the only time that we can make preparation. If we have never received Jesus, now could be the only opportunity we’ll ever have. If we know Him in a personal saving relationship, now is our only guaranteed opportunity to render loving and grateful service. Prepare now, tomorrow might be too late!    Ron

 

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

   

Power

There are several different words in the Bible that are translated as “power.” Sometimes it is talking about strength, sometimes, energy, sometimes, authority, etc. In some instances, it may combine two of these or all three. Acts 1:8 may be a case in point: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Going over the record given, these empowered disciples appear to have been strong and energetic. They certainly spoke with authority and it made an impact! However, that was then; this is “now!” What about power in our lives? They had power to witness and used it. We have that power and it doesn’t seem to be drawn on very much. It is available when we bring God’s Word to bear on people and their situations, while we rely on the Holy Spirit to use it. If we only quote it like we might quote any other book, it probably won’t accomplish much. If, on the other hand, we let God use His Word through us, it will not return void. In John 6:63, Jesus explains why: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life.” When we cite facts, people may agree or disagree; when God speaks through us, it goes beyond the brain and touches the inner lives of listeners. Regardless of response, their hearts have been impacted. The chorus in “Teach Me to Pray,” a hymn by  Albert S. Reitz, conveys the way that we can rely on God to use His Word: “Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me — constant abiding, this is my plea; grant me Thy power, boundless and free — power with men and power with Thee.” Selah! Let’s make sure we are “connected.” God will channel the power!    Ron

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

Daily Death

When a person experiences genuine conversion a life-long work of God is begun in his or her heart. At the moment of Spiritual rebirth, one begins growing Spiritually. Then come baby steps! Next, the early stages of maturing. Finally, all who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior are conformed to the image of Christ. (See Romans 8:29). Let’s think on that time between conversion and conformity: God’s life was given to us! What did God receive? He received a new child, raised from death, but filled with the remains of his or her spiritual death. In God’s reckoning, this person is identified with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. (See Romans 6). In actual experience, these “remains” must be purged from our hearts. This purging is a major part of what Galatians 2:20 is addressing: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” “I am crucified” in the original language describes something that happened in the past but goes on happening in the present. All who come to Jesus were crucified with Jesus. This is a legal (Spiritually speaking) “standing” credited to us. From then on, we are being crucified. The old nature that was ours before we were saved is being put to death. Our actual “state” (our self-life) is being crucified. It is becoming: “not I, but Christ” in our daily lives! In the hymn, “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” by Henry Francis Lyte,  we are given the heart’s desire of those who are born again: “Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee; destitute, despised, forsaken,  Thou, from hence, my all shall be. Perish ev’ry fond ambition, all I’ve sought or hoped or known; yet how rich is my condition; God and heav’n are still my own! Let the world despise and leave me, they have left my Savior, too; human hearts and looks deceive me, Thou art not, like man, untrue. and while Thou shalt smile upon me,  God of wisdom, love, and might, foes may hate, and friends may shun me: show Thy face, and all is bright. Haste thee on from grace to glory, armed by faith and winged by prayer; Heav’n’s eternal days before thee, God’s own hand shall guide thee there. Soon shall close thy earthly mission, swift shall pass thy pilgrim days; hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.” Selah! The Holy Spirit brings the Word of God to bear on our hearts each day. As we hear and heed, sin is being purged from our hearts. It is becoming less and less “I” and more and more Jesus!     Ron

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

Time to Drop Anchor

Perhaps you have recently received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Maybe you have been born again for awhile now. In either case, have you become “grounded?” If not, you are adrift; you are floating along. You may be enjoying a surface calm or beginning to feel turbulence. Rest assured that you will meet contrary winds! Someone is out to sink your “ship” (your voyage of life). Your only hope of safety is to drop anchor. The sooner, the better! How do we “spiritually” drop anchor? Truth from two verses in God’s Word come to mind: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth;” and “That we (henceforth) be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (II Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 4:14). Fail to drop anchor and you will be shipwrecked. Or, it might mean that you never have really received Jesus. What I’m “driving at” is that a true Christian must make the Bible an indispensable part of his or her life! Scripture must be trusted, studied, applied and obeyed. As we make this a life-long process, we will find ourselves anchored. The Holy Spirit will secure us to the Rock of Ages! Let me ask you in the words of the hymn, “Will Your Anchor Hold?” “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, when the clouds unfold their wings of strife? When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain, will your anchor drift, or firm remain?Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear, when the breakers roar and the reef is near? While the surges rave, and the wild winds blow, shall the angry waves then your bark (ship) o’erflow? Will your anchor hold in the floods of death, when the waters cold chill your latest breath? On the rising tide you can never fail, while your anchor holds within the veil. Will your eyes behold through the morning light the city of gold and the harbour bright? Will you anchor safe by the heavenly shore, when life’s storms are past for evermore? We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll; fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!” (Author: Priscilla J. Owens). Selah! Our perfect Anchor is Jesus and the Word of God!   Ron

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

 

Wise, Knowledgeable and Ignorant

There are wise, knowledgeable, intelligent, brilliant, but ignorant people in this world of ours. There are also people who know only enough to get by. However, many of these people are far wiser than most who are well educated and successful. They have understanding of the purpose of life. To lack this basic understanding is to leave one’s mind bereft of what matters most. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? Only God  can enable us to understand the answers to these questions! God offers knowledge, wisdom and understanding that most are not interested in. Paul was inspired to point this out in Romans 1:28. He wrote: “And even as they did not like to retain God in (their) knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” “They did not like to retain God in (their) knowledge….” The majority of human beings know little or nothing of God’s Truth and, for the most part, are really not interested in knowing it. This is a consequence of being born with a sinful nature. Their lives may be great in their own eyes or in the eyes of those who observe them. Nevertheless, the wisdom and knowledge of this world is worthless when we die. The wisdom and knowledge that counts for eternity is spoken of in Proverbs 1:7. Consider carefully:The fear of the LORD (is) the beginning of knowledge….” When Jesus is received as Savior and Lord, God the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to impart eternal knowledge and wisdom and to prepare us for Heaven. This is the only wisdom and knowledge that can do that! Give serious thought to these wise truths in John Burton’s, “Holy Bible, Book Divine.” This is what he wrote: “Holy Bible, Book divine, precious treasure, thou art mine: mine to tell me whence I came; mine to teach me what I am. Mine to chide me when I rove, mine to show a Savior’s love; mine thou art to guide and guard; mine to punish or reward. Mine to comfort in distress, suffering in this wilderness; mine to show by living faith, we can triumph over death. Mine to tell of joys to come, and the rebel sinner’s doom:  O thou holy book divine, precious treasure thou art mine.” Selah! Lack of the wisdom and knowledge of God leaves a gaping hole that nothing on earth can fill.     Ron

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

 

   

The Problem of Church Music

Note: I’m having some computer issues. (It might be me, rather than the computer). At any rate, it is 8:30 P. M. So, I’m posting one of Dr. Tozer’s articles. I hope it is not a duplicate and that it will be profitable. His best to each of you!  R.

 

Guest Article by Dr. A. W. Tozer

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The Problem of Church Music

It is ironic that the modernistic churches which deny the theology of the great hymns nevertheless sing them, and regenerated Christians who believe them are yet not singing them; in their stead are songs without theological content set to music without beauty.

Not our religious literature only and our hymnody have suffered from the notion that love to be true to itself must be silent in the presence of any and every abomination, but almost every phase of our church life has suffered also. Once a Bible and a hymnbook were enough to allow gospel Christians to express their joy in the public assembly, but now it requires tons of gadgets to satisfy the pagan appetites of persons who call themselves Christians.

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