Pay Attention!

In the context of a charge given to a young minister, to which he was to pay attention, there are included some things that all genuine Christians need to give their attention. This starts with Paul’s inspired charge to Timothy in I Timothy 4:12. This applies to all believers: “…. be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” We are to be examples in what we say, by our lifestyles, by loving others, in the depth of our Spirit controlled lives, in moral and spiritual purity, and constantly increasing and strengthening trust. Then, in Verse 13, He points out the means of being an example in these various ways: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” Paul wanted Timothy to pay attention to reading, exhortation and doctrine until he could be there with Timothy in person. That’s what God wants us to do until we see Jesus! We should read and study Scripture and sound doctrine. (See II Timothy 2:15). We also should exhort others to be in compliance with Scriptural commands and principles. (See Hebrews 10:24-25). The hymn, “Deeper, Deeper in the Love of Jesus,” by Charles P. Jones offers, for all who intend to be Godly examples, ways to pray: “Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus daily let me go; higher, higher in the school of wisdom, more of grace to know. Deeper, deeper! blessed Holy Spirit, take me deeper still, till my life is wholly lost in Jesus, and His perfect will. Deeper, deeper! tho’ it cost hard trials, deeper let me go!  Rooted in the holy love of Jesus, let me fruitful grow. O deeper yet, I pray, and higher ev’ry day, and wiser, blessed Lord, in Thy precious, holy Word.” Selah! This inspired charge to Timothy was not just for him to agree with. It was for him to do! That is also true for us who know Jesus! Will we pay attention?   Ron

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Has the Infection Spread?

Yesterday, we thought on Laodiceanism. Are we in that age or simply infected with that spirit? Come right down to it, it’s a serious problem either way. Is our lack of soul winning traceable to the lack of a burden for lost people? Has separation faded in proportion to increasing involvement in the ways of this present world? Has an appetite for serious Bible study diminished and been replaced with (sanctified?) entertainment or with seeker friendly, spiritual Pablum? How many who lay claim to salvation have a strong prayer life? How many missionaries give reports without giving a serious challenge to young people to be involved in world missions? Is church just a nice place to enjoy a sermon and some fellowship or is it a disciple training camp? Is technology a tool or simply a fascination? Do we trust so-called science more than the Bible’s straightforward Truth?  How much thought and action have we devoted to being a disciple? What really captures our minds, hearts and time? Think on Mark 12:30 where Jesus commands: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Could we honestly pray what is found in W. H. Lehmann’s hymn, “Take Thou My Life, Dear Lord?” Here are some excerpts: “Take Thou my life, dear Lord, and make it wholly Thine; direct each tho’t and deed and word by wisdom all divine. Take Thou my heart’s desires and bend them to Thine own; quench all my evil passion’s fires and rule my heart alone. Guide ev’ry tho’t and word, and help my speech to frame, that all my lips shall utter, Lord, may glorify Thy name. Take Thou my every deed and mold it to Thy will; help me a holy life to lead, Thy grace in me fulfill.” Selah! How would Jesus confront our churches today if He came to evaluate them?  Ron

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Age or Infection?

Many students of the Bible believe we are in the Laodicean age. In Revelation 3:14-22, this is how Jesus addressed that church and the age it typifies: “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and (that) the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” If our age is not the Laodicean age, certainly the Laodicean spirit has infected much of the church. Let me give you some reasons for this assumption: What do we hear about soul winning and Biblical separation today? What do we hear about surrendering for full-time Christian service? Where are the prayer meetings or, at least, fervent prayer? How does much of our music today compare with the great hymns of the past? How much has our Bible been watered down by faulty translations? How many Christian colleges and Bible schools have weakened on inspiration and 6 Day creation? I could add more, but you get the point. In, “Search Me, O God, think on J. Edwin Orr’s timely words: “Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine; fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine; take all my will, my passion, self and pride;  I now surrender, Lord, in me abide. O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee; send a revival, start the work in me;  Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need; for blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.” Selah! What can we do? Remember, Repent and Return! Perhaps the infection will be stopped or the age delayed! In any event, we’ll be blessed and a blessing.    Ron

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Virtue? Praise?

….if (there be) any virtue, and if (there be) any praise, think on these things.” (From Philippians 4:8) Here are two guidelines as to what we allow our thoughts to dwell on or allow our voices to speak. Is it wholesome? Could people appreciate, value or be helped by things that are suggested to their minds? Could others be helped, encouraged, challenged, comforted, or motivated to live moral lives, to do or say things with moral value? In Psalm 19:14, the Psalmist gives us a wonderful prayer (as well as a reality check): “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” The source of Godly character, conversation, and conduct is found in what we allow and entertain in our thought life. If God’s Word is firmly embedded in our minds and thoughts; if we refuse to dwell on things that are contrary to Scripture; if we read and watch things that have virtue and are praiseworthy, it will show in our lives. This kind of discipline is only possible to those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is, however, to be exercised in God’s enabling strength by all who know Him. Peter admonishes us in I Peter 1:15, in these words: “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” Weigh these thoughts from Mrs. C. H. Morris hymn, “Doing His Will.” May we yearn for and seek this: “Just to trust in the Lord, just to lean on His Word, just to feel I am His ev’ry day; just to walk by His side with His Spirit to guide, just to follow where He leads the way. Just to say what He wants me to say, and be still when He whispers to me; just to go where He wants me to go, just to be what He wants me to be.” Selah! May His wisdom, holiness, love and grace fill our hearts and minds and overflow to the ones whose thirst can be quenched by springs of living water.    Ron
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Consider Things of Good Report

People focus on celebrities, athletes, great actors, mentors and other role models. This can be helpful or detrimental depending on the character of those we desire to emulate. Many a person that is “looked up to” is totally unworthy of admiration. Their lack of value or worth should not be allowed to influence our lives. Those who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior have Him as their supreme life-impacting influence. Those who have had their lives radically transformed by His grace serve as secondary examples. No one has such a “good report” as He does. Those who are sold out to Him are also well spoken of (have a good report or reputation). There are some things here on earth that are well worth seeing and there are things to which we should listen. These are the things of good report that we should think on and we should learn from what we hear. Nevertheless, He is our perfect example and final authority. Proverbs 3:5-6 should, first and foremost, rivet our focus on Him: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” As to others, Paul gives us the basis for benefiting from others: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also (am) of Christ” I Corinthians 11:1). As we think on Charles H. Gabriel’s hymn, ” More Like the Master,” may we share his desires: “More like the Master I would ever be, more of His meekness, more humility; more zeal to labor, more courage to be true, more consecration for work He bids me do. More like the Master is my daily prayer; more strength to carry crosses I must bear; more earnest effort to bring His kingdom in, more of His Spirit, the wanderer to win. More like the Master I would live and grow; more of His love to others I would show; more self-denial, like His in Galilee, more like the Master I long to ever be. Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone; take Thou my heart and make it all Thine own.  Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore, wash me and keep me Thine forevermore.” Selah! Make Jesus your supreme focus and benefit from those who have made Him their supreme focus.  Ron

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Think on the Beautiful!

There is so much corruption that captures our attention, that we often lose sight of the beautiful. This is why Paul admonished us, in these inspired words, to think on: “….whatsoever things (are) lovely….” (From Philippians 4:8). What is lovely or beautiful? One thing that comes to mind is the beauty around us in nature. Even marred by sin, our world still displays a great deal of our Creator’s stunningly lovely created wonders. Another thing to value and give thought to is the beauty of a Godly life and lifestyle. Then, there is the beauty of kindness, compassion and genuine love. Add to this the beauty of self-sacrifice to help others. Most of all is the beauty of Christ, the Living Word, revealed to us in the Bible, the written Word. The written Word is alive with God’s Presence and power. The whole revelation is God-breathed. Every word is living Truth! Finally, absolutely pure beauty awaits the one who knows Jesus as Savior and Lord! The child of God can identify with Albert Orsborn’s hymn, “Let the Beauty of Jesus,” in which he expressed his desires: “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all His wonderful passion and purity; O my Savior divine, all my being refine, till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.” Selah! Gaze on Him, love and worship Him, spend quality time in His Presence, and He will bring beauty into your life!    Ron

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Purifying our Thinking

We quoted this portion of Proverbs 23:7 recently: “….as he thinketh in his heart, so (is) he.”  Let’s take a closer look today. Jesus, in Luke 6:45, taught this Truth: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” How do our hearts come to have good treasure? This treasure is stored in our hearts by thinking on the things found in Philippians 4:8. Let me say again that what we think on, we become. The contents of our thoughts enter our hearts. Today’s emphasis is to think on that which is pure. Our hearts are purified by faith. Faith comes from intense and constant exposure to Scripture. In other words, the Bible acts as a filter for those of us who know Jesus as Lord and Savior. It filters out filth, false doctrine, Satan’s lies and deceit, and our lack of understanding. This isn’t like magic that instantly makes everything right and true. It is a life-long process of constant exposure to God’s Word which implants the “right “and purges the “wrong.” It is otherwise known as sanctification (or “saint”ifying). “Keep thyself pure! Christ’s soldier, hear, through life’s loud strife, the call rings clear. thy Captain speaks: His Word obey; so shall thy strength be as thy day. Keep thyself pure! Thrice blessèd he whose heart from taint of sin is free; his feet shall stand where saints have trod, he with rapt eyes shall see his God. Keep thyself pure! For He who died,  Himself for thy sake sanctified; then hear Him speaking from the skies, and victor o’er temptation rise. O Holy Spirit, keep us pure, grant us Thy strength when sins allure; our bodies are Thy temple, Lord; be Thou in thought and act adored.” (“Keep Thyself Pure, Christ’s Soldier, Hear“-by Adelaide M. Plumptre). SelahLet God’s Word do its work in your life and you will never regret it!      Ron

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