Wednesday, February 19, 2014

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The Journey Is Important

          Growing up spiritually is not something that just happens over night, or the minute that you are born again through faith in Christ.  It is a process that takes place as we spend time listening to the voice of the Lord in His Word, yielding ourselves to be taught by Him. As we learn to apply His thoughts, words and deeds in our own life, He is molding us step by step, more and more into His image by the power of His Holy Spirit.   Each individual believer begins this journey as a “spiritual” baby in the Lord.  Sad to say, some stay infants and never really start to take the baby steps that would at least help us become spiritual toddlers. We will never reach full maturity – completion (sinlessness in love in our glorified bodies in the new world when we see Him face to face) while we are on this Earth, but if we truly want to taste and see the goodness of the Lord, we must first be willing to draw near to Him that we may be taught by Him.  He has promised to continue the perfecting of us, molding us into new creations, as we yield ourselves to Him. 

          You know Jesus, our Savior and Lord, is also our true example of what God had originally designed us to be.  When He was but a child of perhaps about 12 years old, His parents took Him into the city. During their trip back home, they discovered that He was not with them.  They eventually found Him discussing the scriptures with the elders in the synagogue.  When His parents conveyed the anxiety He had caused them because they did not know where He was, He said He thought that surely they would have known that He would be about doing the will of His Father.  What had He been doing?  The Word tells us that He was discussing the Scriptures with such wisdom and knowledge, in spite of His tender young age, that He amazed even the elders as they listened to Him.  This incident demonstrated that He was already well versed in the scriptures; however it wasn’t that He knew the words alone, but that His knowledge of them was filled with power from above.  He was the Word made manifest to us in the flesh.  By example, He showed us the importance of being equipped properly for our journey of growing in faith, for faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  If He, the Son of God, studied and stored the Word of God within Him, how much more important is it that we ourselves should follow His example in so doing?  Who of us, when going on a journey, would choose to embark on that journey without first being properly equipped?

          My own spiritual growth has not always been an uninterrupted journey.  Neither have I always purposely made sure that I was well equipped for the journey.  I was very blessed in that my parents made sure that I was in church where I could receive the nurture and admonition of the Lord by hearing and feeding upon God’s Word as a little child.  I know messages about Hell these days are not considered to be very popular; however, I remember hearing about the reality of both Heaven and Hell even at the tender age of four years old.  Jesus was real, Heaven was real, and Satan and Hell were real.  I knew, even in my young heart, that Heaven was where I wanted to go because it was a wonderful place to be. I knew that I would actually get to be with Jesus when I did go to Heaven.  I knew that the Devil was an awful being, one that I didn’t want to have anything to do with. 

          Just going to church was not my only access to knowledge about Jesus.  Someone, I believe it was my parents, gave me a book of Bible stories that became my favorite book even before I could read.  The pictures in it spoke volumes to me.  Two of those pictures became embedded in my memory like a slide show that would be run and rerun throughout the coming years of my life.  One of the pictures illustrated the loving tenderness that Jesus showed when He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”  I could just imagine myself on His lap and how wonderful it would be to be so near to Him and hear His gentle voice.  Another picture was the one illustrating “I stand at the door and knock.”  I didn’t understand, until years later, that He was standing at the door of my heart waiting for me to open it up and ask Him to come in to be my personal Savior and Lord.  When I did ask Him to come into my heart, that picture would loom into my memory and I would realize, more than once, the true significance of Him waiting patiently for me to invite Him to come in.  Later too, it would help to make even more real how the Holy Spirit came into my heart and thus the Lord would never leave me or forsake me, and would be in me and with me to help, teach, and guide me throughout my life. Without knowing it, I was learning Scriptures through the pictures and stories that went with them. 

          As a little girl, going to vacation Bible School also played an important part in helping me to grow in faith.  Memorizing scriptures and hearing the stories of the Bible played a valuable part in planting the seeds of faith and trust not only in Jesus, but also in the Bible as the true Word of God.  The songs we learned filled my heart with the joy and love of the Lord.  In later years, I would learn just why those songs were so different from other music; God inhabits the praises of His people.  Praising the Lord in song is another way of drawing nearer to God.  He has promised us as we draw near to Him, He will draw nearer to us.  By our thoughts, words, and deeds we are choosing to draw nearer to Him or go further away from Him.  He is always with me, but sometimes I walk away from Him or ignore Him entirely.  He is not the one that leaves me; I’m the one that leaves Him.  Thank the Lord; He never gives up on me.  His mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love are without limits or boundaries.

          Our Daddy worked long hard hours.  But one of the sweetest memories I have of him was how he would often come in to wrap me in my covers and say prayers at night.  It was usually the child’s prayer that went like this:


“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

God bless..(Mama, Daddy and continuing on with all the names

of family and other loved ones). Amen.”


At times, I remember thinking about the part-“if I should die before I wake.”  I don’t recall being afraid of the dying part because it would mean that I would go to be with Jesus.  Oh, if only we could always have the faith of a little child to take Him at His Word and not doubt!  We also said prayers at the dinner time.  During those years, we still had the blessing of praying the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day.  At some of the schools that I attended, I even had Bible time to learn lessons and scriptures.  Of course, we further learned to pray in church.  Seeds were being planted, and I was being taught the value of talking with God in prayer.  It was another “tool” that I was given to be properly equipped for my journey of growing spiritually.


          As I have continued on in my journey, I have learned and experienced for myself why the Scriptures are such an invaluable tool to equip myself as a believer for my personal journey of faith in the Lord.  There is a part in the Bible that speaks about the importance of making sure that the storehouse is always kept full to guard against times of famine.  At first glance, this seems to speak of earthly food and other necessary goods.  But then upon reflection, it could just as easily refer to spiritual “food”.  You know Jesus said that man does not live by bread alone but by every word from the mouth of the Lord.  The scriptures, inspired by the Holy Spirit from the beginning of time, are meant to lead and guide us into all truth.  The Lord tells us that His Word is given for our instruction, correction that we should be made fit and equipped for all good works.  If we are not rooted and grounded in His Word, we will be easily tossed around and will believe any lie instead of the truth.

          Continuing the journey of life is meant to be our preparation for the best part of our life in eternity, when we will truly be made complete and whole as we were originally designed by God to be.  It is that process of learning to grow up in the Lord, being transformed by the word by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is as He says ‘renewing our mind by the washing of the water of the word’ that we might be made more and more into His image.  He gives us a new heart that would hunger and thirst after Him and long to become all that is pleasing in His sight.  This is what the Bible calls The Great Salvation Plan in Chapter 2 verse 3 from Hebrews, which prepares us for our eternal life with the Lord when we are restored to a glorified body in the new world on the new Earth.  As He, Jesus is, so shall we be.    Choose this day to walk with the Lord through the gift of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter and guide.  O taste and see that the Lord is good as you journey through the word of God becoming properly equipped for each new day.  “Jesus loves me (and you), this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”      



                                                                             Virginia Rahn


                                                                             Nov. 1, 2010

                                                                             (Revised Feb. 13, 2014)

Monday, February 17, 2014

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The Heart Of It All

          It is my contention that the seat of intellect is the mind and the seat of emotion is the heart. When you feel great joy, you can actually feel it in your heart. When you are feeling great hurt, you feel it in your gut. Paul mentions that some things effect feeling in the bowels. Doubtless, trying circumstances can cause a headache.

          When some one is 'truly' born again, they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior; the Holy Spirit then comes to live in their heart. These people are thus marked by God, that they belong to Jesus, and cannot be taken out of His hand.  Those that the Father has given to Jesus, cannot be taken away.

          Paul tells us that we, (the church) are all one body; each being different parts. The ear is useless without the eye; 1st. Corinthians tells us:  For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? .... And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  We are all a part of the body of Christ.  Jesus said: "The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shall 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." As we can see, no part of the body of Christ can function without the others.

          The mind can play tricks on us.  Satan and his followers have a piece of God but they don't have the peace of God. They know, better than most of us, who and what God is, but fail to yield to Him.  Knowledge of God (in the mind) is only a part of salvation and true salvation has only begun when you humble yourself before the Lord (in your heart).

          The knowledge of the Gospel is in the mind, but the love of the Gospel is in the heart.

HEART - 1,223 Occurrences in the concordance - some examples follow -

Exodus 10:1  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them ...
Ezekiel 11:19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. ...
1 Kings 11:4  As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had
Ecclesiastes 10:2  The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.
Proverbs 23:15  My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed;
Song of Solomon 4:9  You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes,
Obadiah 1:3  The pride of your heart has deceived you
Proverbs 15:13  A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. ... A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.
Psalm 28:7  The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 57:7  My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. ... My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident.
Jeremiah 4:19  I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. ... My heart, my heart--I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me!
Psalm 73:26  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength
of my heart and my portion forever.

Matthew 3:8 Therefore let your lives prove your change of heart;

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Matthew 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 12:34 You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Matthew 13:19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn't understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside.

Matthew 15:8 These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Matthew 15:18 But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile the man.

Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies.

Matthew 18:3 And said, Truly, I say to you, If you do not have a change of heart and become like little children, you will not go into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Mark 6:12 And they went out, preaching the need for a change of heart in men.

Mark 6:34 So when Jesus landed, He saw a vast multitude; and His heart was moved with pity for them, because they were like sheep which have no shepherd, and He proceeded to teach them many things.

Luke 3:8 Live lives which shall prove your change of heart

Luke 8:12 Those along the road are those who hear, then the devil comes, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.

Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

John 12:40 "He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and would turn, and I would heal them."

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don't let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.  

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Acts 5:4 While you kept it, didn't it remain your own? After it was sold, wasn't it in your power? How is it that you have conceived this thing in your heart? You haven't lied to men, but to God.

Acts 7:51 You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so you do.

 Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believe with all your heart, thou may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Acts 13:22 I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.

Romans 5:5 tells us: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Romans 8 tells us: And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (ESV)

MIND - 615 Occurrences in the concordance - some examples follow -
1 Corinthians 2:16 for,   Who has known the mind of the Lord so as for, "Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct
him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Romans 8:6  The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind ...
Revelation 17:9  This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven... "This calls for a mind with wisdom. ... "This calls for a mind with understanding:
Romans 8:27  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the... And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit
intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and..
Romans 8:7  The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does
not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.
BOWELS - 39 Occurrences in the concordance - some examples follow -
Acts 1:18  Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
2 Corinthians 6:12  Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
Philippians 1:8  For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
Philemon 1:7  For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
Philemon 1:20  Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.
1 John 3:17  But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

            And to sum it up - Philippians 4:7 says:  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

            Now, we all know that the physical heart pump is just a pump and doesn't have thought functions.  The Bible refers, time and again, to the heart as being the seat of emotion.  It is my conclusion that the heart referred to in this manner is our spirit. This is verified by the Bible telling us that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our heart.

          We can see from the above, that the heart must control the thoughts of the mind, by the Holy Spirit which dwells in the heart; for those who will yield to him.