Friday, August 31, 2012

Ordinary Days

My friend whom I talk with almost daily told me the other day that he was going to quit calling me because my life was so boring! Haha! No turmoil, no excitement just boring!! I don't know whether to say Amen or Oh Me?!?! (BIG SMILE). I started thinking about that. Have you ever felt like life was marching right past your living room window? You read and hear about all the things going on in the world and you are just a spectator. You know it's the routine. How's this sound? Get up, eat(or in my case drink a half pot of coffee) go to, work, lunch,go home, eat,take the kids wherever; or if the kids are gone fill up your time with reading, T.V., walking around the block, go to bed, drag yourself out of bed tomorrow and repeat. Familiar? The word boring in the dictionary has a picture of you know who.

Or maybe the only excitement that invades your life is connected with trouble and bad news. Trouble is knocking on your front door and bad news has pitched a tent on the back porch. Am I painting a picture that you can relate to? The word turmoil in the dictionary has a picture of YOU KNOW WHO. LOL.You're doing what you're supposed to be doing, minding your own business and it's just more of the same. Yeah I feel ya.

7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.
James 5:7 (NASB)

"Patience is the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.It is the OPPOSITE(caps mine)of despondency and is associated with hope." (Vines Dictionary)

You see what this verse is saying is there is a better day coming. There's a future to HOPE for! Really..?? Yes, really. It may not look like it,but it's coming.That verse says that the farmer waits for PRECIOUS produce. It's the fruit of his labors.It's the reward for the work and IT'S COMING AND IT'S VERY GOOD.

35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
Heb 10:34-36 (NASB)

Life is more often than not a grind. As has been said it's a marathon; filled with good days, bad days, and mostly with ordinary days. But, God sees all those ordinary, uneventful days that are spent in you doing the best that you can, unappreciated and unnoticed. He is mindful of your patient endurance day after day, week after week, year after year in the face of opposition. He says there is a reward coming. Look for it HOPEFULLY. Expect it CONFIDENTLY. I don't know how it's going to happen. Maybe all those hours spent playing catch and the little league and batting practice is going to produce a big league multi millionaire that will take care of mommy and daddy.(smile).Maybe that monster in the back seat that you are literally dragging to church is the next Billy Graham.WHO KNOWS!!??

Yes, there will be rain and more rain but, it will produce PRECIOUS fruit.Just give it time.

13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.
Psalms 27:13 (NASB)

God Bless

Friday, August 24, 2012

Murphy's Law

My bmf (that's computereze for best mail friend right?)called me last night and the first words out of his mouth were "you ain't gonna believe this." It seems that his 21 year old grandson was hit with some very high blood pressure and had to be hospitalized. 21 years old. Our prayers go out for Devin that all will be fine. Well, as soon as I hung the phone up, it rang again. This time it was my son.

He's trying to straighten up some crooked paths in his life. While we talked he informed me that since he had been trying to change some things, it seemed that EVERYTHING had been against him. First, the van broke down. Then he had a car door closed on his hand and it broke his hand. Add to that a runaround he has been getting from a government agency. No! Not a government run around. Can't be!! Are you kiddin' me? No way!!! (smile) He then said it's Murphy's Law! That's why everything was against him. You remember Murphy's Law don't you? Well, if you don't here it is, Murphy's Law states that if anything can go wrong it will... I can hear all the "Amens" going up in cyberspace.LOL You are preaching to the choir Ronnie.Yeah, I feel ya. But, you know something, it occurred to me that it wasn't everything that was against him,.. it was ONE thing. It isn't Murphy's Law that's causing all the trouble, it's the devil.The accuser of the brethren. The Word says that he's seeking whom he may devour.He tries to bully us. But, the Bible has something to say about that..

7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 (NASB)

Again, there's also this..

9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NASB)

That word resist means this
Greek NASB Number: 436
Greek Word: ἀνθίστημι
Transliterated Word: anthistêmi
Root: from 473 and 2476;

Definition: to set against, i.e. withstand:--
List of English Words and Number of Times Used
cope (1),
oppose (1),
has opposed (1),
opposed (4),
opposing (1),
resist (5),
resists (2).
—NASB Greek-Hebrew Dictionary

to set against or withstand. Vine's also adds this sense to the meaning. It is in the passive voice.
The picture in my mind is one of the waves at the beach. You remember when you were a kid? We would get out in the ocean and stand against those waves. Wave after wave would roll in and I would just stand there and let them break against me. One might knock me down but I would jump back up, ready for the next one. Man, those were the good ol' days weren't they? Anyway, that's what this word resist is trying to get across.Resist him, FIRM(caps mine) in your faith. See if we will resist the devil like that he will flee. He's not like those ocean waves that roll endlessly in. No, the Bible says he will flee. But, there's another common thread that plays into fighting old Murphy. Look at this.

6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, " GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."
James 4:5-6 (NASB)

This is the verse just before vs.7 about resisting.

Here's another one.

. 5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:4-7 (NASB)

See anything in these verses? Look at that word "humble". You see God's got some advice for us about resisting the devil. Today it is very popular in Christian circles to walk around claiming this and that, BINDING the devil and whatnot;but, as one author that I read recently said" if everyone is binding the devil and he's all bound up,he must have found a way to get loose!" Listen, ain't nobody binding the devil. We don't have that authority. But, that discussion is for another time.However, God tells us to humble ourselves doesn't He?

That word humble means "to be low lying" The verb form of that word means "to bring yourself low" Get the picture? You see God ties in humbling yourself to resisting the devil. He's talking about humbling your spirit before Him. Not walking around speaking powerless words. Understand that we need to realize who God is and who we are and who the devil is.We are no match for the devil in our own power and strength.BUT, if we humble our selves before the God of all creation and let HIM empower us... THAT'S THE TICKET!!

Cars will continue to break down, government agencies and people in general will continue to be insensitive and the devil will be right there trying to make our lives as troublesome and miserable as he can. You hearin me? It's part of the human condition. BUT, and I'm preaching to me as well as you, God promises us that if we will lay ourselves low before Him, if we will HUMBLE ourselves under His mighty hand that He will enable us to resist the devil. Not only that but, if we are allowing God to empower us, the devil will flee.

Brothers and sisters it isn't about Murphy, it's all about God. PTL.

God Bless

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Whole Message

The Whole Message

20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
Acts 5:20 (ESV)

A more literal rendering of this verse reads "....the Whole Message of this life"(caps mine) Hence the title of my message.I was watching a press conference this week at The University of Kentucky. John Calipari, the head basketball coach, called the conference to announce that all five of his starters, plus one more would be entering the NBA draft later this year. The team won the NCAA basketball tournament this year and will send the WHOLE team to the NBA at one time is almost unheard of. Anyway, that being said it wasn't this fact that caught my ear. As Calipari began to speak he spoke of the concept they teach and employ in Kentucky basketball. What he said was this "...we teach servant leadership ..." He went on to say that Anthony Davis, the consensus Player of the Year and the projected number 1 pick in the upcoming draft, took the LEAST number of shots during the season. He then went on to say that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a first team All American and the projected number 2 draft pick, took the 2nd LEAST shots during the season. He then spoke of the humility that all the players exhibited during the season. He spoke of players learning and accepting their roles and the individual players serving each other on and off the court. A group of very talented teenagers bought into this concept of serving and team first and produced what some analysts say was the finest college basketball team ever assembled. As I was listening to Calipari applaud this team I was thinking 'hmmm..I've heard that term servant leadership being used...let's see...where did I see that?.....' Oh yeah, here it is.. well look at this?!? Isn't that odd? It's in the BIBLE!!. Yeah right here..

   24  A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25  And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26  But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
Luke 22:24-26 (ESV)

Here's another one, a little more personal.I know two people who had not spoken to each other in YEARS.There was a rift there and the divide was growing greater as each year passed. These two are close to me personally and I have thought about them and their anger at each other often. This New Years Eve past I was touched upon to include the reconciliation of this pair in my prayer for 2012. Pastor Doug encouraged me to do this many years ago and I do it yearly now. To my shame I had not done this in my previous prayers. Anyway, a couple days ago I was reading an e-mail sent to me by one of the above. During the course of the e-mail and most nonchalantly I was informed that the two had SPOKEN to each other a couple of weeks earlier.No more mention was made but I knew God was moving. Don't get me wrong there's a long way to go, BUT, it was a start. It not only put a smile on my face and in my heart, but, it boosted my faith that God really does hear our prayers!

What am I saying here? Is it about the virtue of being a servant or the possibilities of prayer? That's a part of it but it's more than just that. It's that God has the WHOLE message for this life. Your life.. THIS LIFE. He's got all the answers! The whole enchilada. Doesn't matter whether you are a 61 year old man looking at eternity get a little bigger in the window; or an 18 year old basketball player learning servanthood. No matter where you are in life, God has it. All He's trying to get us to do is to let Him steer the car! Take a look at this.

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV)

That word "guarded" is likened to a military guard. All you old war horses out you remember pulling guard duty in basic? Do you remember being threatened with punishments unmentionable in this column if you fell asleep or let an unauthorized individual in the barracks?
Well, that is the intent of this word in this passage and the intent of this message.You have an inheritance being kept for you in heaven while all the time being relentlessly guarded by Almighty God down here. He will not let you be destroyed. Listen, God is with you and I ALL the time. He's there guarding us when we are close to Him. He's there guarding us when we're not so close.Amen?

The world and it's leaders offer no direction,no inspiration, no hope. Forget about it, it just ain't there.
The God of all the Universe and His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ are the words of this Life. They are the WHOLE MESSAGE!

God Bless