Harmed By Hatred?

We are severely harmed if we harbor hatred! The object(s) of our hatred is/are harmed and God is offended. Let me explain: As mentioned yesterday, anger and hatred are closely related. We are harmed because as I John 3:15 points out: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” That is strong language! A Christian may have hatred enter his heart. However, if He is truly a Christian, God will deal with him. God’s love for him, with all of his sinfulness evokes a grateful love for God. If God can love him, surely he can love others! Love and hate cannot co-exist! Furthermore when we hate someone whom God made, we are offending his Creator. Hatred has led to murder and can still lead to murder! Love is placing very high value on another person. Hatred, anger and bitterness rot the soul. Even when love is rejected, we are to keep on loving. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” As the fruit of the Spirit blossoms in our lives, hatred will be evicted! E. A. Barnes gives us a Godly challenge in his hymn, “O Let Us Love Our Brothers.” It is our responsibility and privilege: “Whene’er a brother wrongs us we must love him just the same, and in love forgive and bless him in the Saviour’s loving name.” Selah! What if God hated us for how we offended Him? His love had no room for hatred. Let us be filled with His love! That will leave no room for hating anyone!     Ron

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

 

Addicted to Anger?

Irritation, annoyance, aggravation, frustration, lead to anger. Anger breeds hatred. Sometimes hatred fuels anger. Over time, anger intensifies and often takes over lives. Those given to anger are apt to become addicted. Anger’s tentacles wrap around hearts, and the soil of bitterness nourishes anger. We might understand those outside of Christ being like that, but we expect more of those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord. How can anger get a stranglehold on our hearts? The violation of our “supposed” rights are seeds planted in our hearts that grow and blossom into anger. Dealing with this is one of the most important disciplines that a Christian is to exercise. Drawing on God’s strength, we must control our response and attitudes, or sin will get the upper hand. There is a righteous anger that is directed against sin and wrong. It is, however, never to be used to excuse sinful anger. “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). True Scriptural love can overcome anger’s addictive power! John speaks of this love in I John 4:11-12. Think deeply on his inspired words: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.” When we are offended, instead of giving way to anger, that offender has just become our mission field. We are to love them and pray for them. How wise God is! We can’t pray for someone and be angry at them at the same time. A. K. Miller’s hymn, “I Want to be Like Jesus,” describes what should be our hearts’ desire: “I want to be like Jesus, so lowly and so meek; for no one marked an angry word that ever heard Him speak. I want to be like Jesus, engaged in doing good, so that of me it may be said, he hath done what he could. Alas! I’m not like Jesus, as anyone may see; Thy gentle Spirit, Savior, send, and make me like to Thee.” Selah! The expulsive power of love can evict the cancer of anger and bring healing to a sin-damaged heart!      Ron

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

 

Damaged by Discouragement?

Discouragement and its “partner in crime” depression comprise some of Satan’s most effective weaponry. The tragedy is that we are far too often victims. In fact, in extreme cases it can lead to being paralyzed emotionally and even suicide. We lock on the problem and brood over how impossible our problem is to deal with and how useless it is to try to deal with it. In other words, we focus on the problem and do not look up to the Problem Solver. Do we honestly think that this problem “sneaked by” God and we have to bear it without His help? This problem, any problem, is caused or allowed for a reason. We do not have to know the reason. The real problem is not the problem itself but how we respond to it! If we give in to it, Satan has won. Have you forgotten Joseph M. Scriven’s questions in his well loved hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus?” Think through the questions and the answer: “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer! Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer! Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer! Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge–take it to the Lord in prayer! Do your friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.” “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22), Selah! Jesus’ hand is reaching for you; grab it in prayer and trust, and He will lift you out of “the pit of discouragement!”     Ron

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

 

Sinking in Sorrow?

Jesus wept (John 11:35). Sorrow is natural and inevitable in a fallen world. Even while hard to bear, it is an emotional outlet. Unless we fall to pieces and are overcome by grief, we can draw on His strength and trust Him for relief. He experienced more sorrow than any human being ever has or will experience! Relying on His Father, he bore it and conquered death, the cause of great sorrow. Paul in I Thessalonians 4:13 admonishes the believers to: “….sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” In Romans 8:18, he testified: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy (to be compared with) the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Even the worst sorrow is temporary! It may seem a long time to those going through it, and in terms of one’s human perspective, it is. However, when thought of in the context of eternity, it is but a moment. In Heaven, looking back,  we might reflect: “That went quickly!” In Heaven, no more sorrow, tears or death, forever! Meanwhile, James Rowe, in his hymn, “Jesus Is All I Need, explains: “When I am burdened, or weary and sad, Jesus is all I need. He never fails to uplift and make glad. Jesus is all I need. When through the valley He calls me to go, Jesus is all I need. He will be with me to cheer me, I know. Jesus is all I’ll need. All that I need He will always be, all that I need till His face I see. All that I need thro’ eternity, Jesus is all I need.” Selah! For the unsaved, sorrow is intense and forever! Separated from God and righteousness forever in Hell, there is no hope of escape. Only here and now can we be saved; no further opportunity beyond this moment is guaranteed!   Ron

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

Worn Out By Worry?

At the heart of worry is a fear of not being able to cope with or control our lives and circumstances. We become weighed down by cares, burdens and worries. We fail to consider that God is in control of His own. We want to do God’s “job.” We want to make things “right.” As it has been so aptly put, “Worry is assuming responsibility that God never intended us to have.” So, we become anxious, stressed, frustrated and our health is undermined. it’s also implying that God is not there for us. (Simply put: Why is He not doing what we want Him to do? (By the way, He often does do what we want). In other words: Why doesn’t He trust my judgment? He might well ask: “Why don’t you trust My judgment?” Whose judgment is most reliable?! What a release and relief it is when we finally put it in the hands of the One Who “doeth all things well!” Our shoulders are not big enough to carry the weight of the world on them!  Let’s be found doing what I Peter 5:7 tells us we should be doing: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” A. E. Smith has given us a simple gospel song, “Surely, He will Care for You,” in which he shares a challenge and assurance: “Why do you let the troubles of tomorrow bring sorrow to your heart and burdens, too? For, if the Father’s eye is on the sparrow, then surely He will care for you! He knoweth, He careth, each burden He beareth. For, if the Father’s eye is on the sparrow, then surely He will care for you!” (Quoted from memory). Selah! Are we more capable than God? Of course not! Then, let Him carry your burden and trust His Word!    Ron

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

 

Life in the “Fear-free Zone”

As mentioned before, there is a legitimate fear. Fearing a hot stove keeps you from putting your hand on it. Although it is a different kind of fear, we are to fear God. We are to respect and revere Him. If we are unsaved, we better fear the wrath to come; we need to fear it enough to receive salvation. For those who know Jesus as Savior and Lord, crippling fear reveals a definite lack of faith. Fear is natural, but God is supernatural! He is in control! Nothing can touch His own, unless He causes it or allows it. If He does, He has a purpose! Psalm 56:3 gives us sound counsel: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” If we make the Psalmist’s wise decision our decision, we can also live in a fear-free zone. Regarding the child of God, Paul’s inspired reminder to Timothy, in II Timothy 1:7, is also a reminder to us: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” It is not sin to start to fear; it is a time of decision: Will I let it overwhelm me or will I place it in His hands and relax in His love and control? Edward Hopper’s hymn, “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, offers a trusting response to fear: “Jesus, Saviour, pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea; unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treach’rous shoal. Chart and compass come from Thee. Jesus, Saviour, pilot me. As a mother stills her child, Thou canst hush the ocean wild; boist’rous waves obey Thy will when Thou sayest to them, “Be still!” Wondrous Sovereign of the sea,  Jesus, Saviour, pilot me. When at last I near the shore, and the fearful breakers roar  ‘twixt me and the peaceful rest, then, while leaning on Thy breast, may I hear Thee say to me, “Fear not, I will pilot thee.” Selah! When a father puts his child on something high and then tells him or her to jump, overcoming fear, they trust him to catch them and they jump and are caught and safe. While a father may, sometime, not catch them, Jesus never fails!  Real trust banishes fear!    Ron

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

Examining Emotions

First, there are both negative and positive emotions. Even negative emotions can be positive at times. For example: Fear of fire prompts us to be careful (and, sometimes, drives us to try to escape). However, negative emotions can cripple us and even undermine our health. Fear, worry, sorrow, discouragement, anger, hatred, bitterness are some powerful negative emotions. Isn’t it interesting to consider that negative emotions will be absent in Heaven. Why do we have negative emotions? The short answer is because of sin. Sin is the root problem. Two strong factors are what enable negative emotions: First, is the matter of control. We want control in our lives. When negative emotions surface in our lives, we often have trouble controlling them; they seem to take over. When we are upset by what someone does or says, we have lost control. Behind the scenes, nevertheless, God is in control. At times, we may even, unwittingly, want to control God. That is, we want Him to make the “bad” go away. We fail to stop and think that God always has a purpose in what we are going through. Nothing enters His children’s lives accidentally. Here is an opportunity to trust even when we don’t understand. God uses problems to give us a chance to respond the right way. One such way is to trust and rest in His love and control. A. L. Skoog & Carolina Sandell have combined to give us the hymn, “Day by Day,” in which we are reminded: “Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here; trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.  He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure gives unto each day what He deems best–lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest. Ev’ry day the Lord Himself is near me with a special mercy for each hour; all my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me, He Whose name is Counselor and Pow’r. The protection of His child and treasure is a charge that on Himself He laid; ‘As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,’ this the pledge to me He made. Help me then in eve’ry tribulation so to trust Thy promises, O Lord, that I lose not faith’s sweet consolation offered me within Thy Holy Word.  Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, e’er to take, as from a father’s hand, one by one, the days, the moments fleeting, ’till I reach the promised land.” “Thou wilt keep (him) in perfect peace, (whose) mind (is stayed on Thee): because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3). Selah! One of the most  important lessons that God has for us is to learn is to trust Him and rest in His love. Tomorrow, God willing, we want to consider living in a “Fear-free Zone.”  Ron

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