Friday, March 29, 2013
No Time Limit
As I was sitting at the kitchen table in memaw's(my mother lol) house this week the Lord quietly spoke the title to this message. No time limit.
3 "A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.
Isaiah 42:3 (NASB)
I was in the midst of dealing with 'something' this week and I found myself numbed to the situation. Have you ever found yourself that way? You know..you've dealt with something for so long that you have become numb to it's effect. At first you used to freak out and go nuts looking for a solution; but, now you have dealt with it for so long that you have become numb and without feeling towards whatever you are battling against. As a matter of fact you have begun to accept that this situation is now the norm and you have 'given up'(?) that it might ever change. You have lost your compassion. Ever feel like that or is it just me?(smile) Well, I felt that very way this past week. Yep sure did. I said in my heart "the heck with it, I'm done. It ain't(bad english lol) NEVER gonna change! My anger and frustration were such that I didn't have any words. I didn't WANT to have any words. I just wanted to be through with it. Over, done, KAPUT!! Can I get an Amen??!! That's when the Lord, in His way,(you know how He does things sometimes) put the above scripture in front of my eyes.
As I read the above verse the Lord reminded me of the COUNTLESS times that He had shown me, yours truly, mercy and compassion. You see when other people screw up and miss the mark we sometimes give them a big dose of "I told you so" or worse we give up on them. No, we don't stop loving them,we just give up fighting in the spirit for them. Our spirit wants to give up the fight. We lose our compassion. You gettin'my drift? Our heart becomes numb to the situation. Trust me,I know. The Lord gave me a simple illustration this week. It was of a tree limb that had been half broken off. A'bruised reed' if you will. You know, you've seen them before, a small limb that has been cracked and it's just hanging there. I was reminded of some tree tape that they sell at Home Depot and Loew's. You wrap it around the the broken limb and graft it back into the bigger limb and over time the damaged limb will heal and grow back into the bigger limb. But, if you just leave the broken limb alone it will die. Understand, you don't have to break the limb off to kill it. You just have to NEGLECT it. Instead of binding it up with the tape and feeding it with fertilizer,you just give up on it and let it hang there. Eventually, it dies from neglect and starvation. That's probably very simplistic, but that is the picture I got this week. We don't have to get mad and frustrated with people to hurt them. We don't have to turn our back on them to wound them spiritually.We just have to give up on them. To become numb and indifferent toward their struggle. That's when the Lord spoke those words to me. Ronnie, there's no time limit on compassion and mercy. Thank God for that! If there were, I would have hit the bottom of the barrel long, long ago!!
1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
Gal 6:1 (NASB)
That word "restore" is as Bugs Bunny or was it Elmer Fudd(?) would say"verry inte-resting." It means "to mend, or to furnish completely" I have heard it put this way. It means to help someone"all the way out." " ... in a spirit of gentleness..." You know something? You can tell someone the truth without verbally beating them up. Most, if not all people know when they have missed it. I know that I have always known. Amen? What people need is to be told a way out. A word of encouragement. Is it more important to be right or to be reconciled? And here is our grammar lesson for today. In the verse restore is written in what they call the "continuous present" tense. It means the restoration is ongoing. It doesn't have a set time for conclusion. Amen?
You know it may all get very frustrating at times. No, it DOES get frustrating at times. Even to the point of numbness and discouragement.I can vouch for that.You want to quit fighting and quit believing. Amen? You just don't want to deal with it any longer. That's a good time to get alone with God and remind yourself(or allow Him to remind you) of how many times He has been merciful and compassionate towards you and yours.Allow Him to minister to you and recharge your batteries. The battle is always there. There's no time limit.
1 Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalms 61:1-2 (NASB)
Friday, March 22, 2013
I had a conversation this past week with a friend about moving up in the organization that he works for.They had received an "atta boy" award at work and I mentioned to them that they should ask to move up to management. The response was something to this effect,"they probably wouldn't want me with all I've done." I said "why not?" They kind of hemhawed(good southern word lol) around and said something like "oh i don't know, they just wouldn't." It brought a verse to mind.
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God.
1 Cor 1:26-29 (NASB)
You know God views things a little differently than we do doesn't he? I saw a note in my Bible from I don't know when. It was at the beginning of the 18th Chapter of Acts.
1 After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth.
Acts 18:1 (NASB)
If you read the 17th Chapter of Acts, you will find that Paul was in Athens and he disputed with them over a period of time and ended up on Mars Hill preaching Christ crucified. You will also find out that the Greeks placed a very high value on the attainment of knowledge. You remember all those Greek scholars from school? Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, pretty heady company in the eyes of the world. And indeed they were. Athenians were highly educated but their intellectual arrogance resulted in their missing the message of "Christ crucified."
18 And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.
Acts 17:17-18 (NASB)
In vs.32 the Bible says that they "sneered" at Paul. Jesus became "foolishness" to the Greeks and to Gentiles in general.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
1 Cor 1:22-23 (NASB)
In the end Paul departed Athens, never establishing a church there and he never returned. You see the Athenians were too smart for their own good. Amen? Ronnie, are you saying that you are against having a good education? Absolutely not. Get all the education that you can, especially if you are just starting your journey. It will serve you well in this life.BUT,..BUT and here is my point. God doesn't need your education or lack thereof to make something of you. Hear me! The world may place a high value on a piece of parchment but God doesn't need it!! AMEN??!! As a matter of fact God takes GREAT PLEASURE in showing up the world's systems by taking a nobody and making something out of them. Look again at those verses. One by one.
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
1 Cor 1:26 (NASB)
"...not many wise....not many mighty, not many noble"
but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
1 Cor 1:27 (NASB)
"...chosen foolish things.......chosen weak things..."
, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
1 Cor 1:27-28 (NASB)
"...base things...and the despised God has chosen..."
It's not JUST the average Joe Blow or the Ph.D that God desires to use.(though He does) It is the BASE THINGS, THE DESPISED of this world that really gets Him excited.
That sound like you? Maybe,maybe not. But,listen to me,you may have screwed up in the past... Maybe you're not very well thought of, maybe people think you are crazy, maybe you're in a jail cell or a homeless mission; maybe you don't have the education or maybe you just don't think that people will give you another chance,maybe,maybe, maybe.YOU are EXACTLY who God is looking for, no maybe's about it.
HEAR ME! God is chomping at the bit to pick you up out of the ditch, save you through Jesus shed blood,clean you off,dust you off and SHOW YOU OFF to this world. You feelin me on this? All the world wants to do to you is mock, ridicule and beat you down. But, God wants to raise you up and BLESS you! You just let those "athenians" keep sneering at you for whatever reason. You are just DUMB enough to take God at HIS WORD!AMEN!! He will shame the strong things of this world on YOUR behalf. He will take your weak, uneducated, despised self,.. raise you up and BLESS YOU! All you need do is shout YES LORD! Amen and Amen. As Brother Mushegan used to say "I have preached myself happy!"
4 Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalms 37:4 (NASB)
Friday, March 15, 2013
Come On In The Water's Fine
I was saddened to learn today that an enduring legend(it inspired my title today) has been found to be false! It seems that modern scholarship has proven that a frog, if put into a pan of water that is being gradually made hotter, WILL attempt to escape!! Thus, no more moralizing statements about creeping evil can be attributed to the " boiling frog" hypothesis. Oh well, I am keeping the title anyway. I saw a statement today that said we as people were" walking a knife edge between hope and fear." I read a verse this week that stuck in my mind. It seemed to me to speak to the prevailing attitudes in our country these days.
10 Who say to the seers, "You must not see visions"; And to the prophets, "You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us pleasant words, Prophesy illusions.
Isaiah 30:10-11 (NASB)
You look around today and some strange things are a' brewin'. Billions, not millions but BILLIONS of bullets are being purchased by our government. Enough to fight the Iraq war for 25 that's twenty five YEARS! I heard that 2700 new armored personnel carriers had been ordered in a time supposedly of winding down our military commitments and cutting military spending. I read a report yesterday that hackers can now invade your cell phone through the camera and steal your personal pictures and videos.The premise of the article was that cell phones were nothing more than tracking devices that can now spy on you in your living room. Hold on.. I'm not done. Have you noticed lately the debt counter on some of the news networks? Ha Ha Ha! It's CRRRAAAZZZYY! Hundreds of thousands of dollars being racked up in the space of SECONDS! Not years or months or even days but SECONDS. I mean C'MON MAN!! All the while our leaders are posturing based on membership in a political party or outwardly supporting a political philosophy. I hear the words Republican,Democrat, Liberal, Conservative far more than justice, equity or even COMMON SENSE. All the while that scripture rings in my head.
"Speak to us pleasant words,Prophesy illusions."
It makes me wanna holler, way they do my life
It can get overwhelming and be a real test of your faith can't it? Jesus knew it would come to this.
8 I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:7-8 (NASB)
You know it was much the same way back in King Hezekiah's day. A little background please maestro.
Hezekiah lived in Isaiah's day. Isaiah had prophesied about the coming Assyrian invasion for some time(years); and now that invasion had taken place. Hezekiah had had a lapse of faith and had joined with the Egyptians against the Assyrians, disobeying Isaiah's prophecies. The Assyrians had conquered 46 cities in Judea already and now were assaulting Jerusalem itself. They had a tremendous army and literally called out Hezekiah telling him that he had no hope. There was some truth to that statement because Sennacherib(the king) knew that God was using him to carry out the prophecy against Israel.(Chap.36:10)
So here it is. A disobedient king up against an overwhelming force that is calling him out under God's command. Somehow, someway Hezekiah found his faith and took a letter from the Assyrians and laid it out before the Lord.
14 Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord saying,
Isaiah 37:14-15 (NASB)
You can read the prayer he prayed that isn't germaine to the point BUT GOD'S RESPONSE IS! Look what the Lord said.
21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word that the Lord has spoken against him:
Isaiah 37:21-22 (NASB)
"..'Because you have prayed to ME.."(Caps mine)
Faced with insurmountable odds that were mocking him, Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. Because he had enough faith in his God, he humbled himself even in disobedience and prayed. THAT brothers and sisters was the game changer. Go get your Bible and see what God did. Because of one simple act. "YOU PRAYED TO ME"!! That one simple prayer saved Hezekiah from being enslaved, it saved Jerusalem from being conquered and effectively destroyed Assyrian control in Israel. One prayer.
Brothers and sisters what is it that is mocking and trying your faith these days? Is it an illness? An impossible financial situation? A wayward child? Maybe it's a godless world system that is standing in your face trying to overwhelm you and mocking your faith in God. You fill in the blank. Give it to God.Take it to the Lord in prayer.He wants to show Himself strong on YOUR behalf. He laughs at the kings of the earth and their plans. Let them say "Because YOU prayed!"
7 A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. 8 You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. 9 For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
Psalms 91:7-9 (NASB)
Friday, March 8, 2013
What'd I Say
Allow me to paint a picture for you O.K.? You're rolling along and all of a sudden from nowhere God decides to bless you mightily. No small blessing mind you, but one of import. You tell your friends and loved ones and your heart is full of gratitude towards God; you walk around for a couple of days Praising The Lord. Not sheepishly(for those of you who know me) but BOLDLY! Then, just as that last PTL fills the air you go to work or get a phone call and ZAP the enemy has thrown a monkey wrench in the game. Does that sound or look familiar to you? Yeah, I feel ya. As you ponder the news, the enemy plants himself on your shoulder and poses the age old question...
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"
Gen 3:1 (NASB)
"INDEED HAS GOD SAID....?"
And so it goes. The wheels start turning..."..wait a minute, did God really say that He was going to bless me?" "Maybe that's just me talking to myself"
On and on and on ad nauseam. As I told someone this week THAT is the battle. That was Eve's battle in Eden and it is our battle today. No,that is NOT a statement of fear and doubt it is REALITY. As they say these days, let's keep it real.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:9-10 (NASB)
Steal your gratitude. You know these days that is a rarity. An attitude of thankfulness. I personally believe that God values that very highly. Just a simple, sincere, quietly spoken "Thank You."
At any rate I said all that to say this. That's kinda like what happened to moi this week, and the Lord reminded me of a verse in Jeremiah.
7 " Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord. 8 "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.
Jer 17:7-8 (NASB)
Look at those last two lines. That's what the Lord spoke to my heart. Ronnie,listen to me. Don't let the devil trick you into questioning what I said. Lend ME your ear. You see brothers and sisters that is where the REAL blessings of this life lay.That word anxious means"a care that draws us in a different direction". Careful or full of care. Amen?
Understand that we(you and me) are walking along thanking and praising God for blessing us and the enemy tries to DRAW us in a DIFFERENT DIRECTION! And here is my point. Vs.
7. Blessed...BLESSED is the man that what?.....
Blessed is the man that trusts the Lord.
Why? Vs. 8
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.
Jer 17:8 (NASB)
You see what God is telling us here is this.
Ronnie, trust Me to perform my word in your life and you can be free of anxiety. Even in a year of drought. That's the real key isn't it? Yes, I know that is easier said than done. Yes, it IS a fierce battle that engages us. BUT, that doesn't negate the fact that He WANTS that for us. Amen? Walking through this life SECURE(secure literally means "free from care" Vines Expository Dictionary) that's a good way to live amen? But wait, there's more. Look at those last five words. "NOR CEASE TO YIELD FRUIT!" IN A YEAR OF DROUGHT!! Listen brothers and sisters I don't know what kind of fruit that's talking about. Maybe it's financial fruit, maybe it's spiritual fruit. Maybe it's a fruit of peace and contentment in our own lives. All I know is the Word Of God says that we can bear fruit.That is a promise to all who trust in the God of Heaven. Lord God help us to learn to lean on you. Help our unbelief! Amen! Most assuredly GOD HATH SAID. AMEN AND AMEN!
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalms 1:3 (NASB)
Friday, March 1, 2013
The Good Part
Alright, already. So now we're back to the Mediterranean Diet. Yep. Limit my red meat consumption, more grains, nuts etc., less fat especially the bad kind. Hmm... Not four months ago I was told by a Doctor, a real M.D.Doctor that I could eat lean meat red or any other color as many times as I wished. Also, fat consumption wasn't a real problem, just be reasonable.But, the enemy, the real enemy lurking in the shadows was carbohydrates. You know the good stuff. Pasta, bread, rice, potatoes etc., etc were TABOO! So, I cut my starches. Now, literally as I write this I am looking at the new report on my phone that tells me for a heart healthy diet I can now have pasta, rice blah, blah, just stay away from the enemy RED MEAT AND FAT!!. Bahahaha! I'm done. You hear me? I am done with the diet gurus. I guess I will go to the Mediterranean Diet because it was the diet that Jesus ate.(lol huge grin) I'm going to choose the good part. PTL HeHe.
"....for Mary has chosen the good part..."
41 But the Lord answered and said to her, " Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:40-42 (NASB)The above phrase came up in a conversation I had this week and when I heard it the Lord quickened my spirit and I felt that I would be writing about it this week; and, so I am. You know the story. Here is poor ol' Martha killing herself in the kitchen,making dinner, getting everyone something to drink, last minute cleaning the bathrooms, straightening up the living room; and then there's Mary....what's she doing? Look at vs.39
39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word.
Luke 10:38-39 (NASB)
Think about it. Here is the MAN. This isn't Peter or John or even John the Baptist that is walking up the sidewalk. No,No,No. This is the Big Cheese, Numero Uno, this is JESUS and He just came through the door. I can imagine how Martha must have felt. I can't blame her, I probably would have done the same thing. Amen? You know it's not the fact that what Martha was doing was wrong, it wasn't. It was the fact they she allowed herself to become DISTRACTED.
40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me."
Luke 10:39-40 (NASB)
The house probably WAS dirty. People more than likely WERE ready to eat. It was the responsible thing to do and Martha got more than a little upset with her sister.But, this was God in the flesh, sitting in her living room and Martha was going to miss everything that He had to say. Listen, I wonder if Mary knew that there were "things" that needed doing? I'll bet she did. She lived there too. But, look at Jesus' response to Martha's plight.
for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:42 (NASB)
The good part. Mary chose the good part. She said hang it all, I'm sitting at my Savior's feet and I am going to LISTEN TO HIS WORD. She made it up close and personal. Isn't that much the same as it is today in your life..in my life? You bet your bippy it is. We live in a world chock full of distractions. A sociological system that tolerates every kind of behavior imaginable( except of course Biblical alternatives). A political environment that is rapidly destroying any semblance of freedom in this country and the world in general, under the facade of security and protection. Oh yes, and don't forget an economic monster that is supporting said environment by crushing individuals through manipulation and greed. BUT GOD.
Brothers and Sisters it isn't in spending cuts. It isn't in tax increases. It's not at the ballot box. It isn't about guns. It's not even about serving. It's about the good part. It's about getting alone with YOUR God and listening to His word. Pray, read His Word, listen to Him. Make it up close and personal.
He's not concerned with politics, He is going to establish HisKingdom on this earth. He isn't worried about economies of lack. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, HE OWNS THE WHOLE EARTH AND ALL THAT IS IN IT! And it HIS GOOD PLEASURE to give His kingdom to His children.
He's the Holy One of Israel. He's the God of all the earth and every single creature trodding on it.It's HIM. HE'S THE GOOD PART!
1 The Mighty One, God, the Lord, has spoken, And summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Psalms 50:1 (NASB)
15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me."
Psalms 50:15 (NASB)