Friday, October 26, 2012

God Didn't Do It

It's been happening ever since Adam and Eve. What's that Ronnie? Well, we like to blame others
(especially God) for problems and suffering that we bring on ourselves. Look at ol' Adam way back there in Genesis:

11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"
12 The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."

Gen 3:11-12 (NASB)

When Adam got caught he first pointed a finger at God by telling Him that HE(God) had given Eve to him in the first place. Then he was quick to add that it was Eve who gave him the fruit. He blamed everyone except himself. Sound familiar? (smile) It sure rang a bell in my ears. I can recall many times (too many) when I sat around and tried to justify something that I had done and there simply was no justification for it. I would blame everybody and everything for causing my discomfort. I read this week that life was hard enough why make it harder by wagging a finger in God's face? Yes, life is hard and bad things happen to good people through no fault of their own on a daily basis. That isn't the focus of this message. Here.. look at this verse:

3 The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the Lord.

Prov 19:3 (NASB):

Here's how it oftentimes works. We will do something we shouldn't. You fill in the blank. Or we will jump into something without garnering God's counsel and it will go haywire. You know what I mean. It can go on and on. Then, the Bible says our ways are ruined. That word "ruins" means to overthrow or pervert.What it boils down to is this. When all the smoke is cleared we are dazed and confused, feeling like we have been hit by a train.

Amen? It's at this point that I want to talk. You see all of the above is common to man. We all struggle. We all make wrong choices and decisions. That is the human condition. But, look at the back part of that verse.

And his heart rages against the Lord.

Prov 19:3 (NASB)

Hebrew NASB Number: 2196

Hebrew Word: ‏זָעַף‎

Transliterated Word: zaaph (277a)
Root: a prim. root;

Definition: to be vexed, be enraged:--

List of English Words and Number of Times Used
dejected (1),
enraged (2),
looking...haggard (1),
rages (1).

—NASB Greek-Hebrew Dictionary

You see our inclinations are to rage against God. That word also means to be resentful. We transgress against the Lord's ways and when it goes badly for us we blame, resent, rage against Him.

That is a snare that the enemy lays before us. He will whisper in our hearts that it is God's doing. It's His fault or He's punishing us for our sins and we buy into it. Before long we are seething on the inside and it's only a matter of time before it spills to the outside. All of a sudden we take our resentment and bitterness out on someone or something. The whole third chapter of James speaks about our tongue and the poison it can produce. Jesus himself spoke to this condition of our hearts.

34 " You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Matt 12:34 (NASB)

As I listened this week at work to someone rage against God, His Church, His people and so on I realized how easy it is to fall into that trap. No one is exempt. It can happen to ANYONE! When you and I are in trouble we need to run to God, not away from Him. Ever heard that before? I've heard it so many times it's a cliche. But, for some reason it doesn't sink in too well does it? We RAGE against the ONLY one that can soothe and comfort us.If we are not very careful, bitterness can take hold in our hearts

15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

Heb 12:15 (NASB)

As a wise man said to me many years ago. There comes a time when you have to grab yourself by the SCRUFF OF THE NECK and DRAG YOURSELF down to the altar and ask God for His forgiveness and mercy. Contrary to what the devil might be telling you, God loves you and He isn't punishing you. That's why Jesus went to the cross. AMEN??

28 " Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Matt 11:28 (NASB)

Listen brothers and sisters His eyes are on the sparrows. His arms reach to every nook and cranny of this world to touch a hurting soul. His mercy endures forever and there is forgiveness with Him. He has never turned His back to anyone including you and me, even though we might believe that He has. His Word is sure and will never fail. It's been good enough for billions before us and it's good enough for us.It's good for what ails ya. How do they put it today? Don't rage against the machine!

10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.

Psalms 103:10-11 (NASB)

God Bless

Friday, October 19, 2012

It Ain't Over Till It's Over !

Do you remember or know who said the above? Watch out! You could be dating yourself by correctly answering! lol. For all you 'pups' and non baseball fans out there I'll tell you. It was a great baseball player named Yogi Berra. Berra was a Hall of Fame catcher with the New York Yankees and went on to manage their cross town rivals the New York Mets after his playing days were over. If I am not mistaken(and I could be) Berra said that in response to a sportswriter's question after a Mets loss, about their (the Mets) fading hopes in the 1973 pennant chase. At any rate that quotation floated across my mind last night while I was wondering about what to write on this week. That and the story of a guy named Caleb. You remember don't you? He was Joshua's pal when Israel was getting ready to conquer the Promised Land. Anyhoo, let me turn the clock back a couple of days and get you up to speed.

This week happens to be my birthday week. Now that's no earthshaker but this particular birthday carries with it an added milestone. I will officially become eligible for Social Security this year. Can you say Senior Citizen? Sounds better than "old".(smile) I mean c'mon. Social Security?? It conjures up pictures I had in my youth of old folks sitting in their rockers waiting on the mailman to bring them their checks so they could catch the early bird special at the local eatery. Amen? Well, guess what? Now I IS one of those old folks!! HAHA!

This week was another reminder that I am on the downhill slope of this thing called life. I certainly don't bemoan that as we all face that reality eventually. But, my question to God this week was whether there was any adventure left in life. No, Mt. Everest is out and so is the Indy 500 or even running a marathon(although walking one isn't out of the question) What was left out there? Ya feel me? I mused on that a little this week before God reminded me of Caleb and his request..

6 Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully. 9 So Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.' 10 Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12 Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and Iwill drive them out as the Lord has spoken." 13 So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14 Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully

Josh 14:6-14 (NASB)

Now you remember don't you? Caleb was 85 years old when he asked to be allowed to DRIVE OUT the inhabitants of the fortified cities in the hill country of his inheritance. Not only that he served the Lord for 45 years before his dream became real. He spent what...forty years or so walking around in the wilderness then fought many battles when they entered the Promised Land. And at the ripe old age of 85 he went and CONQUERED his inheritance.

You ever feel like you're in a wilderness? Circumstances may have shackled and bound you to a routine that appears void of hope for any change. It sucks all the life out of your bones. Maybe your at a time in your life when you get all dressed up for the party, but, there isn't any party to go to. I don't care whether you are 22,62, or 92 we all need a little adventure, a little spice. It makes life worth living. If you are dealing with impossible circumstances or just don't have a real purpose TAKE HEART. God isn't through with you just yet. If he was, you wouldn't be here would you! Let that story about Caleb sink in. After 45,.. FORTY FIVE years of difficult and grueling service to the Lord, God sent him on the adventure of a lifetime!! All Caleb did was ask. IT AIN'T OVER TILL IT'S OVER!!

20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Eph 3:20-21 (NASB)

God Bless

Friday, October 12, 2012

Count The Cost

Count The Cost

Well, I am afraid that Fall has made it's arrival and I have mixed feelings. I enjoy Fall O.K.(though summer is my favorite) but I also know that with Fall's coming, old man Winter is right around the door and I DESPISE the cold weather. At any rate, I watched the HBO mini series"John Adams" this past week and I thought it was very good.It was a vivid account of the struggle for independence our forefathers endured through the eyes of Adams and his wife Abigail. At the very end of the movie a quote from one of Adams' personal letters to his wife was offered. Adams said " Posterity, you will never know how much it cost us to preserve your freedom.I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent from heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it." Early on Adams was a revolutionary firebrand but as the struggle went from days to years to decades his perspective changed. He never flinched from his duty but the toil of maintaining our freedom took a heavy toll. His close friend Thomas Jefferson and he parted ways over political views. He lost a daughter to illness, a son to alcoholism, alienated another son(although they were later reconciled) and his family and personal life were constantly battered with assaults on his motives and character. It COST him a great deal. As I listened to that quote, it reminded me of another quote that Jesus uttered way back when.

26 " If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?

Luke 14:26-28 (NASB)

You know it was told me many,many years ago that salvation was free BUT, discipleship is costly. That seems to me a true statement.As we attempt to follow more closely to the Lord, many times a cost is involved. Can I get an Amen? I'm preachin' to the choir here.(smile) Much of contemporary Christian thinking today focuses on visions of glory. One hears all the time about how life is supposed to be in the Kingdom. We are sons and daughters of the King. We muse out loud about all the power that Jesus and the Apostles had. How we as King's Kids should march from victory to victory and establish His Kingdom here on earth. What we don't hear too much about is the price that was exacted. Jesus was nailed to a cross and every disciple save John died a martyr's death. ALL OF THEM! THE ORIGINAL KING'S KIDS!! Jesus himself was stripped of his royal garments on the cross and long before Calvary REFUSED an offer of the Kingdom. It COST each and every one of them.

15 So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.

John 6:15 (NASB)

He would later again offer His kingdom to the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem. When they rejected that offer he withdrew the kingdom and it became a kingdom that was "not of this world."

The Apostle Paul in 2nd Corinthians speaks of what his discipleship cost him.

23 Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

2 Cor 11:23-27 (NASB)

I have said all the above to make one simple point. Maybe your life at present isn't one of victory upon victory. Maybe that "Kingdom" hasn't found it's way to your doorstep quite yet. Quite possibly you are under attack and struggling to weather the storm. The enemy might even be attacking you through your children or a loved one who doesn't quite understand your devotion to the Lord Jesus. What? Your finances have fallen off the cliff? Imagine that!!??(smile) Brother and sister I feel you! May I just offer you this simple word of encouragement. God sees it and He WILL see you through it ALL THE WAY TO THE OTHER SIDE.

3 But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. 4 I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about.

Psalms 3:3-6 (NASB)

18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

2 Tim 4:17-18 (NASB)

God Bless

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Greatest Show On Earth

We live in one great big spin zone. Amen? I mean really..come on know it's true don't you?

As I followed the events of the week what came to mind was Barnum and Bailey and The Ringling Brothers Circus. I haven't been to a circus since I was a kid but that's what I was reminded of. Listen, it's not the greatest show on earth, the greatest show IS earth. I mean C'MON MAN. We are under the big top and the three ring circus is in full swing.We have the trapeze acts here, we have the lion tamers there and right smack dab in the middle are the clowns doing there thing. One gigantic spin zone. I'm telling you, I don't know who to believe! Can you feel me? Everybody's right and nobody's wrong. I think that's an old song lyric. However, God's Word speaks to our present day.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

Prov 3:7 (NASB)

I got caught up in the spin around the debate this week listening to a number of different perspectives on why this happened and why that happened. I watched two or three different networks wanting to hear both sides of the story.Also, catching my eye was the escalating violence in the middle east as the Syrian civil war threatens to become a real war with their neighbor Turkey. Manipulation, accusations of biased reporting on both sides by the different media outlets and both sides calling the others outright liars!! WHERE DOES IT ALL END??

I mean even my doctor is in the great conspiracy. Yep. He told me that I would lose weight if I started eating in a certain way and it hasn't happened yet!!(smile) So what's up doc? as my pal Bugs used to say.Anyway as the great old soul group theTemptations sang, we are living on a "Ball Of Confusion" Can I get an Amen?

In the midst of all this, this morning as I was checking out the headlines on my phone, I heard some sounds coming from my mother's bedroom so I walked in to investigate. She lay there on her bed very quietly crying. I asked her what was the matter and she said that she was sad today. When I asked her why she said she was worried. Iasked her about what and guess what? It wasn't the fact that our country is on the precipice. Neither was Syria, Turkey or a nuclear Iran of great concern to her. No, she was worried that her children and grandchildren were having a hard time and weren't very happy;and, she didn't know what to do about it.

This verse came very quietly into my heart:

8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

James 4:7-8 (NASB)

Now there is more to that verse but it was those few words that came into my heart. Those few words struck a chord in me.Let me try and explain

myself. I don't know about you and maybe this is just me but I gotta confess something to you. I can't make sense of much that goes on in our world today. I mean it just doesn't make ANY sense to me. I can't trust what I hear on T.V. as it may be biased and slanted to one point of view. Ditto for the information being printed in the news media.If you can, shoot me an email and get me up to speed. lol As I listened to my mother lament and those words just gently floated in my mind it was the only thing that made any sense.Maybe that's very simplistic but' it's the truth for me right now. Maybe you, like me, are having a hard time figuring all this out. Maybe a family situation has you in turmoil. Or maybe you are struggling with something in your personal life.I can assure you that I don't have the answer and neither do the Republicans or the Democrats. But, GOD does. That verse talks about pulling up close. Pull yourself up close to God and He will pull up close to you. It's the only thing that makes any sense don't you think?

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Prov 3:5-6 (NASB)

God Bless