Darkness to Darkness

Imagine being born in only darkness, living your whole life in darkness, living eternally in darkness. That is the fate of all outside of Jesus! Physical darkness is awful; spiritual darkness is horrible beyond words. The children of God, those who trust in and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, are rescued from spiritual darkness and experience increasing light (Spiritual light, understanding) and will live eternally free of darkness. This light is present even in the most intense physical darkness and in physical blindness. God “….hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated (us) into the kingdom of His dear Son.” (From Colossians 1:13). We experience more and more light (understanding, revealing) until we reach Heaven’s perfect light and the glorious radiance of our Savior. “….the path of the just (is) as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (From Proverbs 4:18). “Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior, trying to follow our Savior and King; shaping our lives by His blessed example, happy, how happy, the songs that we bring. Pressing more closely to Him who is leading, when we are tempted to turn from the way; trusting the arm that is strong to defend us, happy, how happy, our praises each day. Walking in footsteps of gentle forbearance, footsteps of faithfulness, mercy and love, looking to Him for the grace freely promised, happy, how happy, our journey above. Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior, upward, still upward, we’ll follow our Guide; when we shall see Him, “the King in His beauty,” happy, how happy, our place at His side. How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior, stepping in the light, stepping in the light; how beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior, led in paths of light.” (“Stepping in the Light”-By E. E. Hewitt). Selah! Receiving Jesus’ offer of salvation is the dividing line between eternal darkness and eternal light.   Ron

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

Outage

Although they seem less frequent these days, power outages are a nuisance. In some cases, outages are  very serious, such as at a hospital. If you are in danger and can’t get a phone signal, it might result in death or injury. Nevertheless, there is an even far more serious “outage.” It is when there is no contact with God! We are born into a world without a connection to God. On His end, God provided a means for us to be connected to Him. It was infinitely costly; it was the death of His Son to make atonement for our sin(s)! Whenever someone trusts Him as Savior and Lord of his or her life, the connection is restored. In our walk (our daily lives) unconfessed sins can break the connection, until we confess and turn from them. There is another very serious “outage.” When we try to serve God in our own strength or using our own reasoning, His power is blocked. When we look to Him and His Word, relying on the Holy Spirit to use and guide us and are walking in the light of His Word, power comes flowing into us and out through us. In his hymn, “Teach Me to Pray,” Albert S. Reitz  gives us these important stanzas: “Power in prayer, Lord, power in prayer, here ‘mid earth’s sin and sorrow and care; men lost and dying, souls in despair, O give me power, power in prayer! My weakened will, Lord, Thou canst renew, my sinful nature Thou canst subdue; fill me just now with power anew, power to pray and power to do! 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.” “….ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me….” (From Acts 1:8). Selah! When there is no “outage” and the Word is working in us and out through us, the power and authority of God’s Word impacts people, sometimes negatively and sometimes positively.  Ron

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

What Level of Devotion?

I’m sure that you have noticed in these blog posts my concern for reality and intensity in the lives of those who claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I am concerned for this in my own life as well. Can we pray for each other to truly involve ourselves in being fully committed to strong devotion to our Savior? Having mentioned the above, let me ask us a question. Take time to think it through and then answer the question to yourself: On a scale of 1-10, 1 being “very little” and 10 being “very much,” ask yourself: How devoted to Jesus am I? Answer honestly! If it is very little, what will I seriously determine to do to see my devotion to Him increase? If it is very much, what am I doing/and what can I do to keep the flame of devotion burning brightly? A mostly emotional resolve will not take us very far; a firm and fierce determination will intensify our devotion. Only time in His Presence, His Word, in prayer, in thoughtful reflection, and fellowship with serious Christians will set our hearts on fire! Are we ready for revival? “….Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” (From Luke 10:27). Wonderful devotion is expressed in the hymn, “Full Surrender.” Rebecca S. Pollard expresses the kind of devotion that should be ours: “Savior, ‘tis a full surrender, all I leave to follow Thee; Thou my Leader and Defender from this hour shalt ever be. As I come in deep contrition, at this consecrated hour, hear, O Christ, my heart’s petition, let me feel the Spirit’s power! No withholding—full confession; pleasures, riches, all must flee; Holy Spirit, take possession! I no more, but Thou in me. Oh, the joy of full salvation! Oh, the peace of love divine! Oh, the bliss of consecration! I am His, and He is mine. I surrender all! I surrender all! All I have I bring to Jesus, I surrender all.Selah! Are you and I ready for this kind of devotion?   Ron

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

A Story or a Savior?

A car falls into a ditch. Do we get it out or do we sit there and just spin our wheels? The answer seems obvious. Get it out, fix it and move out. But what about Christians whose lives have slipped into a ditch of habit without any effort to get out and get their spiritual lives back down to business? We urgently need disciples who will get their Spiritual momentum going on all eight cylinders. Filled with the excitement and reality of Apostolic fellowship and fervor, their joy, their genuine experience, their determination and application starts to become contagious! Walking in step with a living Savior, they know abundant lives. These are the real “advertisements” for the thrill of personal involvement with Jesus! “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Dear reader, being completely honest, can you say that knowing Him is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you? Too many only know Jesus as a story in the Bible. We need to and can know Him in person, in a dynamic experience of walking with Him daily! Let God’s Word tell you all about Him and then know Him yourself as the most important Person and Presence in your life 24/7. Let him set your heart on fire with love and joy. You can experience what Avis B. Christiansen wrote in her hymn, “It is Glory Just to Walk with Him.” Consider her musical testimony: “It is glory just to walk with Him Whose blood has ransomed me; it is rapture for my soul each day. It is joy divine to feel Him near where’er my path may be. Bless the Lord, it’s glory all the way! It is glory when the shadows fall, to know that He is near. Oh, what joy to simply trust and pray! It is glory to abide in Him when skies above are clear. Yes, with Him, it’s glory all the way! Twill be glory when I walk with Him on Heaven’s golden shore, never from His side again to stray. Twill be glory, wondrous glory with the Saviour evermore, everlasting glory all the way! It is glory just to walk with Him. It is glory just to walk with Him. He will guide my steps aright, thro’ the vale and o’er the height. It is glory just to walk with Him.” Selah! In case you haven’t noticed, Jesus is no longer in the tomb; He’s in the inner being of all who know and trust Him as Lord and Savior. Have you gotten really acquainted with Him?  Ron

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

The Great Exchange

When someone places his or her trust (faith) in Jesus as his or her personal Lord and Savior, an amazing and great (huge) exchange is made. First, As Jesus reminded us: “spiritual death is exchanged for Spiritual life. Immediately, being under God’s wrath is exchanged for His forgiveness. Sin’s defilement is exchanged for His complete cleansing. The road to Hell is exchanged for the road to Heaven. The world’s fleshly pleasures are exchanged for joy unspeakable. Trying to “go it” alone is exchanged for His guidance and direction. Spiritual blindness is exchanged for His exciting revealing of Himself and His program for the ages. These exchanges are just a sampling; much more is exchanged. As Jim Elliot is quoted as saying: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose!” Jesus, in Matthew 16:26, asks this challenging question: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Robert Lowe Fletcher spoke of this exchange in his hymn, “Take the World but Give Me Jesus.” In his words: “Take the world but give me Jesus, He who died, He lov’d me so; gladly now I yield earth’s treasures, Jesus only would I know. Now I hail my gracious Savior, Living head and glorious King; and for His redemptive favor, all my gifts and pow’rs I bring. Take the world but give me Jesus, and my heart shall be His throne; King of kings, and Lord forever, He shall rule, and He alone. Take the world but give me Jesus, that dear Friend who loves me so; all the world I leave, to follow Jesus thro’ this vale below.” Selah! If you have made this exchange, rejoice; if you haven’t, the opportunity could be lost forever! Tomorrow may be too late! Ron

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

Decontamination

Most of us are well aware of the corruption in human hearts. Many unsaved know or are pretty sure just how evil the human heart is. Jesus, when He moved among us, spoke of it: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are (the things) which defile a man….” (Matthew 15:19-20a). So, when a person trusts Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior, there is required a major heart cleansing. Because one speck of sin cannot enter Heaven, something has to be done immediately. God did it! He took all of our defilement and charged it to Jesus on the Cross and through His atoning death we were pronounced righteous. From the moment of our new birth, God is committed to cleaning us up. If this is not happening, something is very wrong! NO TRUE CHILD OF GOD IS EXEMPT FROM THE CLEANSING OF OUR LIVES! It may be slow, it may be difficult, there may be setbacks, excuses, resisting, but there will be progress! God is committed to sanctifying us wholly. Christians are to be pure in thoughts, words and deeds. Their lives, conduct, values, interests, purpose, speech, activities are to be purified. This is the working of the Holy Spirit, using the Word of God. Our part is to study, apply and obey. When we are faithful in the Word and prayer, as well as using other means of grace, we will see progress and our lives will begin to reflect our wonderful Lord. Let our prayer be: “Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love the way you love, and do what you would do. Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure, until my will is one with yours, to do and to endure. Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die, but live with you the perfect life for all eternity.” (“Breathe on Me, Breath of God”- By Edwin Hatch). Selah! Jesus is Lord! If we trusted Him as Lord and not only as Savior, we will submit to His working in our lives. Without progress in holiness, serious heart-searching is urgently needed! Ron

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

Religions

It has been said that religion never saved anyone. Religion can even be idolatry. Some religions require forcing conversions or threatening people if they don’t adhere. Some are so full of false teaching that it blinds people to the gospel. Some religions give a false security to their followers, blinding them to their urgent need of Jesus. True Biblical Christianity is not a religion; it is a personal relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord. We may join and assemble with a local portion of the church, but when we come to Christ, we are placed “IN” Him and He comes to be “IN” us. Religion is a group with shared interests or/and an attempt to reach some kind of god, to win its favor or appease its disfavor. Christianity is the one and only true and Living God reaching down to us, offering forgiveness, cleansing, new Spiritual Life and a personal fellowship with Himself. Many sincere people embrace a religion, but it can never give them eternal life and a guarantee of Heaven; only Jesus can do that! The writer of Proverbs gives us inspired warning: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof (are) the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Conversely, Jesus said: “….I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (From John 14:6). The hymn, “Just One Way,” underscores this reality: “There is just one way for us all to come, there is just one road that will lead us home, there is just one gate to the realms of day; the blessed Jesus is the only way. There is just one smile that can cheer our path, there is just one name that can save from wrath, there is just one life that could e’er atone; O blessed Jesus, it is Thine alone. There is just one fount, there is just one cross, there is just one help for the sinner’s loss, there is just one hope, all in all to me; O blessed Jesus, it is not but Thee. Jesus is the way, the only way, lovingly He calleth—so the Scriptures say—whosoever will, let Him come today; the blessed Jesus is the only way.” (By Arthur J Hodge). Selah! Religion will fail you in the end; Jesus can and will bring all who know Him to be with Him forever In Heaven!  Ron

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

Who’s Running Things?

Often, we assume that we are responsible for taking care of things, that we are in charge of conducting our daily lives. Often, we are unaware that we are being “played.” We are being influenced, misdirected, distracted and manipulated. Our emotions and desires determine our choices. Friends, books, movies, entertainment, peer pressure, and unGodly counsel combine to shape our daily lives. They move us in a particular direction. If we do not realize what is happening, we will move away from God and His will. We, who know Jesus as Savior and Lord, are meant to walk toward God. This reality demands that we must stop letting ourselves be led along like a bull with a ring in his nose. We must not be like puppets, whose strings are controlled by Satan! We must exercise ourselves to daily determine that God will run our lives. We will develop a cast iron will to do His will! The Holy Spirit, using and applying God’s Word to our lives, will dictate our choices and activities. We will experience stiff resistance. But, as I John 4:4 tells us: “….greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world!” Mrs. C. H. Morris’ hymn, “Sweet Will of God” captures the reality of God “running things.” “My stubborn will at last hath yielded; I would be Thine, and Thine alone; and this the prayer my lips are bringing, Lord, let in me Thy will be done. I’m tired of sin, footsore and weary, the darksome path hath dreary grown; but now a light has ris’n to cheer me; I find in Thee my Star, my Sun. Thy precious will, O conqu’ring Savior, doth now embrace and compass me; all discords hushed, my peace a river, my soul, a prisoned bird set free. Shut in with Thee, O Lord, forever, my wayward feet no more to roam;  what pow’r from Thee my soul can sever? The center of God’s will my home. Sweet will of God, still fold me closer, till I am wholly lost in Thee.” Selah! Those who are truly born again will become more and more disciplined to submit to God’s loving will and ways; anything less may indicate that there has been no true conversion!   Ron

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

Joy-When We Hurt?

We don’t have joy for hurting; we can know joy while we hurt! HOW? Let me mention some things that prompt joy: Love, family, friends, beauty, wholesome pleasures, food, etc. Many find joy in these things. Thank God when these things bring joy. However, for all who know Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives, there is a deeper, fuller, abounding joy that runs like a strong current through our inner being, in all of life’s circumstances. This joy is prompted by having experienced total forgiveness for all sin(s), being made alive spiritually, having Jesus for our constant companion, help and Guide, receiving His love, His working in and through our lives, gaining understanding of how greatly He suffered for us, His promise of a glorious future that will be free of all problems and all that is wrong, fellowship with Him forever, and much, much more! Why do we have to suffer? The short answer is because of sin’s impact on our world. There is another extremely important reason: suffering and our response to it is how God tests, purifies, strengthens, and rewards our unconditional trust. We experience joy in the knowledge that He is in control, even in the worst of life’s trials and is shaping us into the image of Himself. Wow! “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy  (I Peter 4:12-13). “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though 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” (I Peter 1:6-7). “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.” (From “How Firm a Foundation”-Authorship uncertain). Selah! What seems like “forever” to us when we suffer will appear like only a moment when we look back from Heaven’s blessings! Ron

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

A Vital Resource

As long as we live on this planet in its present form, we are going to suffer. It’s inescapable this side of “Glory.” All mankind shares this fate which is caused by sin in human hearts and its outworking in lives. Those who do not know Jesus as their Savior and Lord face these things in their own strength. That may, or may not, be of much help to them and for all outside of Christ, it will fail them in the end! On the other hand, those who have been born again have a vital resource that will strengthen them to weather the storms of this life and those storms will be exchanged for freedom from anything bad in the life to come. Some who might happen to read this may choose to write this off. That’s their choice and so are the consequences. This vital resource is “joy!” It is not optimism or positive thinking; it is a deep seated awareness of all that the redeemed in Jesus can draw upon. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that “….the joy of the LORD is your strength.” How we draw upon this vital resource will be tomorrow’s subject, God willing. For now, let’s look at the hymn-writer’s “take” on this joy: “Count it all joy to bear the cross of Jesus! Just a little burden for the Master’s sake; soon there will be exceeding weight of glory for His tried and faithful servants to partake. Count it all joy when sorely tried and tempted! He has promised grace to help in time of need; trusting in God, press ever on to conquer, He will always prove to be a friend indeed. Count it all joy when walking thro’ the valley! Even in the night the Lord will give a song; Jesus can turn thy sorrow into gladness; praise and honor unto Him for aye belong. Count it all joy, count it all joy, count it joy to serve the Lord from day to day; count it all joy to bear the cross of Jesus, all things work for good to those who love the Lord.” (“Count It All Joy”-By William Edie Marks). Selah! Jesus’ Presence, love and help can fill us with joy and strength as He walks us through the refining process on the way to that “Place” that has no sorrow, pain or tears.   Ron

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