Saturday, April 27, 2013
1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Prov 27:1 (KJV)
Hello again from sunny and not as cold as last week Iowa. My boss called me on Wednesday and asked if I could go back to Iowa this weekend so here I am. We left early Friday morning and arrived here late last night. But, it was during the drive up here that this message took it's form. Let me explain. We were somewhere on the Iowa side of St. Louis and I had just begun to drive. We stopped for gas and just as we had gotten back up to speed on the highway my buddy got a call on his cellphone. Now, people had been calling him all day about this and that, so I didn't pay it much attention. So, I continued on. But, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation. My friend was asking questions about good cholesterol and bad cholesterol; how do you lower it and all sorts of stuff. Well, it didn't take a rocket scientist to ascertain that this was a conversation with a doctor. Now, I have high cholesterol and take a med for it's control, so,I didn't think too much about it and rolled on down the highway. But, then something happened and herein lies the message. All of a sudden he let out a big??!&$# and started banging his phone against his leg. I asked him what was the matter and he didn't reply while furiously redialing a number. After a number of futile attempts he threw his phone down in disgust and explained to me that he had"dropped out." Well, anybody living in America knows what that means. He had lost his connection. In this rural part of the country, phone service is spotty at best unless you are talking local. After allowing him a couple of minutes to vent I asked him what that was all about. He told me that he had gotten some bad cholesterol numbers and whatnot and we spent a few minutes talking about my limited knowledge of how to lower cholesterol.Then he dropped the bomb. He told me that he would be worrying all weekend because at just the time the doctor was about to give him the results of another test that they had done, his phone dropped out. I asked what the test was for and listened in shock as he told me it was a test for prostate cancer. I did a double take and said "what?!" He then informed me that there was a better than 50% chance that he had prostate cancer and now he would have to wait all weekend to hear the results of this report. Well, I was dumbfounded and really couldn't say anything. I then tried to put myself in his shoes but couldn't relate. This is a 34 year old man who just got a good promotion at his job. He has a wife and two children and they just bought a new home with "acreage" as he likes to put it. But, here the story takes another twist. He has NO health insurance. None, nada. While he is paid well for his services, the company does not offer health insurance or life insurance. You know the" benefits package" that people of my generation took for granted. That is a vanishing animal in this economy. Well, we drove on the reat of the night and I didn't bring the subject up again and neither did he; but, it was in the back of my mind until I laid my exhausted head on the pillow last night. When, I woke up this morning this verse was on my mind Proverbs 27:1. Here it is again.
1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Prov 27:1 (KJV)
If ever there was a relevant verse for my boss/friend indeed ALL of us it is this one. I tried to think what was going through this young man's mind last night as he bravely tried to brush it aside. There wasn't any great word of wisdom coming forth. Only that this man and his family need God. Then I thought about how frail we really are. We live on the edge of a razor blade all our days on earth don't we? A simple dropped phone call and your life is changed.
A bad report, an accident, the list goes on and on and all of a sudden you're freefallin'. That was the song that my friend had on the car radio when he was talking on the phone. FREEFALLING. It can be out of control in a heartbeat.Amen?
Brothers and sisters if ever there was a time that we need Jesus, it is NOW. It is TODAY. It doesn't take a news headline about some nut going crazy to change your life. North Korea or Iran or whoever the ---- else doesn't have to fire a nuclear missile to send you and me into freefall. All it takes is a report, a dropped phone call. AMEN?! If you don't know Jesus ask Him to come into your life. If He's been off the radar screen for a while focus back in on Him. Believe me, HE is the ONLY answer to the insanity of this world. He is there day in and day out. ALL THE TIME.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Heb 13:8 (KJV)
He's got all the answers. He's the ONLY one that DOES have the answers. It matters not how much money, jobs,power,fame,prestige you or I have. There is nothing wrong with those things kept in perspective. BUT, if you, I or anyone else is without Jesus, we are in freefall.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
Psalms 20:7 (KJV)
Friday, April 19, 2013
The First Casualty
Well, I am still here in Iowa where today, Friday April 19, 2013 they are anticipating SNOW for the Des Moines and surrounding areas. I mean GOOD GRIEF! as Charlie Brown used to say. In all honesty, I don't believe it will snow today but the official forecast was for possible snow showers. It's April for crying out loud! Oh well,when I woke up today I felt kind of like old Charlie Brown. Remember Charlie? Lucy forever baiting him to kick the football. HaHa! You ever had one of those days? A Charlie Brown kind of day? Everything is kind of blah. In my case today, I certainly didn't feel very spiritual when I thought about writing this message. Ever have that kind of day,week,month...etc.,? Yeah I feel you. At any rate I had NOTHING to write about today and all of a sudden an obscure book that I had read at least 30 years ago floated across my mind. It was called "The First Casualty." I don't even remember the author's name. It was a book about the media reporting around the Viet Nam war. I tried to remember the many facts that the author used to support his argument, which was this: the first casualty in any reporting of the news and especially during times of conflict is this...THE TRUTH. As I fast forwarded in my mind to this present hour, I realized that this guy may be on to something. It seems today there are many who accuse the media on both sides of the political spectrum of skewing the truth or worse..not telling the truth at all. The objectivity is objective as long as it agrees with your political worldview. As I was considering this, a scripture came to mind.
6 Jesus *said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
John 14:5-6 (NASB)
It occurred to me that in our daily conflict with the devil and all that life throws at us, that indeed the first casualty is the truth of God's Word. Amen? Oh no,....not in reality,... but in OUR hearts and minds.
A financial difficulty will arise and IMMEDIATELY the enemy will perch himself on your shoulder and begin LYING to you. Or a sickness will hit you and all of a sudden he will shout at you that God isn't going to heal you. Or maybe it's a serious case of the blues and all of a sudden God doesn't care any more. Or possibly it's that God won't forgive you for that one or this oft used falsehood ".. how can you call yourself a Christian and do that?" Sound familiar? Yes, it is a struggle ofttimes to take God at His Word. To believe the TRUTH about the situation.The circumstances and obstacles that confront us all are too numerous to mention; BUT, they all have one purpose and are designed to accomplish one solitary goal.... to get your eyes and heart OFF the TRUTH of God and His Word. Read the first three verses of that chapter.
1 " Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
John 14:1-3 (NASB)
You see Jesus understood that this life would be troublesome. Heck, more than troublesome, it can be downright HARD! Amen?
Jesus Comforts His DisciplesJohn 14:1 (NASB)
Read it again and again. Brothers and sisters God owns it all. All the Earth is His. There isn't a financial difficulty that He can't pay in full. There isn't a sickness that He can't heal. THERE ISN'T A SIN THAT HE WON'T FORGIVE. And, the Lord Jesus will NEVER leave you alone. No matter how you feel He has never and will never leave you. All the arrows of the enemy and of PEOPLE will miss their mark, if we can just trust the Lord. Amen? I once heard it put this way. You have to learn to duck!! Amen! Yes, it can be VERY trying at times to trust in Him. Believe me I, more than anyone know that. But, He IS in control. He is sovereign and the Lord Jesus Christ holds this world and all of it's challenges in the palm of His hand. He's got our back. Yours, mine and ALL who call on HIM. That is the TRUTH of the matter, because HE IS THE TRUTH! Amen and Amen.
160 The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.
Psalms 119:160 (NASB)
43 And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Your ordinances.
Psalms 119:43 (NASB)
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Change Your World
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Acts 1:7-8 (NASB)
Ooops! Sorry about that. It seems that I am a day late with my blog and I do apologize for being tardy. I got called out of town with my job and got tied up yesterday blah, blah, blah. Anyway better late than never but I do apologize. However, I was able to mix business with pleasure because I was sent to Des Moines, Iowa by my company and my son and NEW granddaughter live in Ames, which is about 45 miles away. So, I have been able to see my new sweetie pie grandbaby and get paid for it!
At any rate while driving through Iowa, I saw a church billboard which caught my attention. It said something like come out to the church and change the world. That kind of stuck with me but I forgot about it the next day. So, I got to my son's home and saw Elizabeth Amelia for the first time. If you have any grand kids you know how I felt as I saw my granddaughter for the first time. After a while she warmed up to me and started smiling and all that. Anyway as I held her, something a man of God said many years ago came to mind. He said that although he had preached to full auditoriums in front of hundreds of people; and, he had seen the Holy Spirit move powerfully on untold occasions; the most spiritual moment that he had ever had in his life was in his living room with his grandchildren crawling all over him. He went on to explain that at that moment there were no hidden agendas, no programs or power plays. No visions of grandeur trying to build large ministries. No mega this or that, no mega anything. It was a simple one on one with a grandfather enjoying his grandchildren. As I thought about that and the billboard that I had seen, the Lord put that verse in my heart. These words came to my mind. Instead of changing THE world, how about changing YOUR world. Let me try and explain. Look at the back half of that verse again.
and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Acts 1:8 (NASB)
You see this is what happens to us sometimes. We get so caught up in saving the world that we forget about Jerusalem. What do you mean by that Ronnie? Just this. We get caught up in visions and programs and whatnot and don't have any time for those closest to us. We save the world but lose our children. You see God HAS called some people to change THE world, but, most of us have been burdened with changing OUR world. The place and the people we call dear is our primary mission field. Our Jerusalem if you will. For most of us, it's not about ministering to thousands. It's about ministering to your child, or your brothers and sisters, your parents. You gettin my drift here? I have heard it put this way many times before and I will share it here. Heaven won't be quite the same if you don't share it with those that were yours in this life. YOUR flesh and blood. Jesus said as much. Although in a different context it applies here.
25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?
Luke 9:25 (NASB)
What profit is there if you save the world and lose your family? I was told one time that ministry is one on one. It's personal. I believe that. Yes, feeding the hungry IS a noble work. Building a church IS ordained by God. But, if I want to change THE world, I have to change MY world first. Amen? Preaching to your kids isn't as glamorous as preaching to a full house. BUT, in the end it will pay greater dividends for you. Praying for your family probably won't land you a television spot. BUT, it might be the difference in one of them making heaven their home. Brothers and sisters feeding the world both physically and spiritually is great as long as my own flesh and blood don't starve in the process. Remember this.The most spiritual moments are those spent loving and ministering to those around you. The ones that are closest to you. Those are the true world changers.
3 Behold, children are a gift of the Lord
Psalms 127:3 (NASB
Friday, April 5, 2013
1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no delight in them"; 2 before the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain;
Eccl 12:1-2 (NASB)
Let me tell you something. I BE GETTIN OLD!!!
BAHAHAHAHA!! Notice that I didn't say YOU be gettin old. No, no,no.. I didn't want to bring the wrath of God down on my head.(big smile).That fact was brought to my attention today. I read that some friends of mine from way back(20 or 30 years) were now living in an assisted living home. I haven't had any contact with them in years, but, they were good friends back in the day. It was further magnified to me when my sister told me that she had seen a woman that she knew, actually had gone to school with; at any rate, my sister's church fed some people today that were in difficult circumstances and in the crowd my sister saw this lady that she had gone to school with some -- years ago. Didn't give up any secrets sis.lol Then my mama woke up and she had had a difficult night.She was tired and didn't feel good. It was then, that this verse popped into my head.
You know I still can conjure up visions of my youth in my head. They are as real as yesterday. I can still see that girl dancing in the rain in the Woodstock movie. I vividly remember the 60's. Elvis,Kennedy, Viet Nam,Woodstock,man on the moon, and of course the greatest band ever conceived, THE BEATLES! I remembered the rhetoric of change of those years only to be sobered by the fact that it was a pseudo idealism in reality; the "evil" generation of our parents with all the greed and avarice became our generation as the hippies "sold out" to Wall Street. What is it that God's Word says? "There's nothing new under the sun." The more things change, the more they stay the same. Life marches on and now my generation begins to hand over the reins of leadership to those who follow us.
It is the cycle of life.Running to and fro to do this and that. That to and fro being done only leads to more to and fro..yada,yada,yada. Like a treadmill, amen? The hopes and dreams of youth most often turn into the reponsibilities of adulthood. Changing the world usually translates into raising a family, pursuing a career etc.,etc.And that isn't a bad thing, it's the way it should be. Kids become grandkids, careers evolve into social security(if there's any left lol). And eventually we reach the end of our days. But, and this is the kicker, it's on us IN A FLASH!! Amen?! And if you are not careful, you find that God has been left on the sidelines during the business of living.
14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
James 4:14 (NASB)
Ahh listen folks, Solomon knew what he was talking about when he wrote that verse. When your days become difficult and dim, it is God and God alone that will give you strength and hope. When clouds return after the rain, it will be your trust and faith in Jesus that will cause the sun to shine down on you.
It's the Lord Jesus that sustains us and promises us life.Not a social security check. AMEN!!
54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, " DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?"
1 Cor 15:53-55 (NASB)
There may be some dark days on the horizon BUT GOD!....AMEN? Listen, whether you are young, old or somewhere in between FIND GOD. He is the end all, be all of our very lives. This is the conclusion of all our life.
13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
Eccl 12:13 (NASB)
When the world and all that is in it has lost it's luster and grown very faint, it is God that will keep us, encourage us,give us hope and ultimately bring us into His eternal presence.Amen and Amen.
25 I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread.
Psalms 37:25 (NASB)