Friday, May 31, 2013

Gentle Answer

1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Prov 15:1 (NASB)

Have you heard of that syndrome that we humans suffer from  time to time? It's called foot and mouth
disease. You mouth and insert foot. Yeah..O.K. now you remember don't you? Well, I had a bout with that malady this week. Oh no.. not my first... just the latest in a long line of similar 'bouts.' I was in a circumstance and I lost my temper and showed my backside. That's about as delicate as I can say it. Not only that, I went to work and performed an instant replay. Ever have one of those moments, days, weeks....? (smile) You know how it goes... the immediate tension, then the calming down and the feelings of regret. Some time passes, you apologize and hopefully all is forgiven.

 The only problem with the above is that while all may be forgiven, it is seldom, if ever, FORGOTTEN.

I have discovered that I have an amazingly selective memory. I rarely can recall my harsh words, false accusations etc., etc., BUT, I can remember that indiscretion that you hurled my way some...20 years ago!! Amen or Oh Me?!

I understand that we can't get along all the time. Yes, there are even some people that we are at odds with MOST of the time..know what I mean? Even the Apostle Paul recognized this.

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Romans 12:17-18 (NASB)

"If possible..." Unfortunately while we are here on terra firma there are going to disagreements, arguments, bickerings. You know I have found that most arguments stem from wanting to force our will on someone else. I'm right, your wrong and that's that. It's my way or the highway. That's called pride.
 10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
Prov 13:10 (KJV)

If we can learn to check our mouth at the door we will be way ahead in the game. How's that old saying go? Something like this " It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt." The Bible seconds that thought(or is it the other way around lol)

27 He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.

Prov 17:26-28 (NASB)

Be Cool Bro, Be Cool.

Thank God He treats us with more civility than we sometimes treat others. Keep a guard on MY mouth Lord. Amen.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Psalms 19:14 (NASB)

God Bless

Saturday, May 25, 2013

If Just One                                                                                    8-23-13

Matthew 7:7 (NASB) 7  "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7 (HCSB) 7  “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Have you seen the Gatorade(I think?) commercial where the athletes are in training and they are pushing themselves to the limit? It has a football player doing conditioning drills during practice, then it switches to the same player in the weight room doing bench press reps. At the end of each exercise when he has pushed himself to the limit, a coach or a fellow athlete yells out "Just one more!" Then he pushes himself for just one more. It's a good commercial(at least I think so.) That commercial came to mind today. But, let me back up a bit.

I was walking this week and I often pray when I walk. At any rate one day while I was praying, I all of a sudden became weary of praying the same prayer. Let me explain. It occurred to me that I had been praying this same prayer, almost verbatim, for a particular person for a long, long time. Over and over, day after day and all of a sudden I was tired of praying this prayer. It was like it had become a drudgery to pray that same old prayer. It literally took a discipline to mouth those words to God one more time. As I walked on and forced those words out, I began to think what was the point? It seemed to me that my prayers weren't making a difference and even if God wasn't tired of hearing the same old prayer, I was certainly tired of praying it. I walked on and prayed without further mental interruption,but,when I finished my walk and was headed home these words were spoken to my spirit. "If just one..." God didn't have to say another word. I understood what He was saying to me.

Unlike entering into His gates with praise and thanksgiving, accompanied by beautiful music and worship, prayer can be work. Prayer can be downright hard. It can require a discipline that tries even the most steadfast soul. Now, don't misunderstand, it can also be wonderful and flowing at times. BUT, at least in my experience it can be tough. Much like that commercial, I have to be exhorted by the Holy Spirit daily with a "Just one more." I'm wandering a bit. My point.

When God spoke those three words to me, I got it. "Ronnie, it's like this. For all the prayers, for all the inconvenience, for all the material resources used, IF JUST ONE LIFE IS CHANGED IT WILL HAVE BEEN WORTH IT!" If one person is delivered from bondage, if one person's destructive course is altered, if one soul comes to know Jesus as Savior and Lord....IF JUST ONE..then it will all have been well spent.

Brother or sister, you, like me may have been praying that same ol',same ol' for a long time with no visible results. You may have become tired mouthing those same words over and over and over again. What is it that has been eluding you all this loooonnngg time? A much needed healing? A financial breakthrough? A lost and hurting child or loved one? Does it seem that the enemy has a lock on it? Maybe YOU are tired and YOUR spirit is impoverished. I feel ya. But, take heart child of God. Consider this verse.

 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NASB) 17  pray without ceasing;

That is a word for me as well as for you. Keep at it. Keep working. Keep gnawin on it. Look back at Matthew 7

Matthew 7:7 (HCSB) 7  “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

"Keep asking, AND... Keep searching, AND...Keep knocking,AND..."


Psalm 55:1-2 (NASB) 

 Give ear to my prayer, O God; And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
2  Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted,

God Bless

Friday, May 17, 2013

I Once Could See But Now I'm Blind

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Cor 4:2-4 (NASB)

Wait a minute Ronnie! That's not how the song goes! Yeah I know. You read it right, it's not a typo or a misprint. That was on purpose!(smile) Ever felt like that? Well, maybe not, but I certainly have! I can remember times in my life when all was seemingly well on the outside. I was at church every time the doors opened. Teaching a class, working the nursery, paying my tithes, you know, doing my part. Looked good on the outside but MESSED UP AND FILTHY on the inside.You ever been through that? Well, if you haven't you need to shout a big PTL right now! Amen! At any rate that verse laid on my heart this week as I talked to some folk that were in difficult times.

That verse(2 Cor.4:4) is talking about salvation. The context is speaking about unbelievers. People who don't know Jesus as Savior. That's not my thrust here. I believe this verse has an application from a different perspective. I was talking to some folk this week that have lost sight of God in their lives.Due to differing circumstances they have been "blinded" to the hope of the Gospel. I believe they are saved they just aren't SAVED. Does that make sense? They know Jesus as Savior but He isn't operating in their lives. More accurately, He isn't being ALLOWED to operate in their lives. They have been blinded. You see that word"blinded" means "to burn, smoke". A similar use is "to harden" It is used of one being blinded or hardened by a smoke screen to the point of intellectual or spiritual dullness. Ever been there? Well, if not I have spent enough time there for the both of us.(smiling) You see the ol' devil has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. He's been attacking God's Children for a long time and is good at what he does. If we aren't careful, it is easy to fall into one of his snares.

The arrows of the enemy come from many directions and over time don't they? An "event" will happen in your life. Loss of a loved one, divorce etc., etc., A Blindside and all of a sudden you are bitter and walking a spiritual tightrope. Possibly life has been hard and unfair and you have lost hope that God can help you. Know what I mean?BUT, more often than not, we are GRADUALLY blinded or dulled. Get up, go to work, eat, go to bed. Repeat tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow...... The ordinariness(is that a word?) of life wears on you. In this day just surviving can sap all your physical AND spiritual strength. You exert every ounce of energy just to make it and have no time for God. The smokescreen becomes thicker and thicker. You don't or can't see anyway out. Oh, you maintain appearances on the outside but inside you are becoming duller and duller. After a while God is nowhere in the picture and before long what's on the inside starts showing on the outside. I know,..I've been there. All of a sudden you look around and you have become dull, insensitive,dreary, WOUNDED. Thanks for all the encouragement today Ronnie. Well, it isn't pretty but it's the truth. I remember what a great man of God used to say. Brother Harry Mushegan used to say " sometimes you have to grab yourself by the SCRUFF (I like that word) of the neck and DRAG YOURSELF down to the altar." AMEN? It isn't pretty but it's the truth.

Brothers and sisters sometimes we have to take a deep breath, get away from it all and get ALONE with God Almighty. We have to spend time in His Word. We have to spend time talking, praying to Him. We have to spend time listening to Him. We have to spend time letting Him heal and refresh us. It's the ONLY way. If you and I can somehow, someway drag ourselves into His presence. Have you ever had to pray this prayer? "God, help me want to want....." Maybe you are in that place today. You are not alone. I have been there many,many times. As I said last week. He is there. He has never left. Just crawl into the nearest cubby hole and start talking to Him. Let Him show you what He has in mind for your life. You(or for that matter me!) won't be disappointed! Amen?!! He's there.

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
Eph 1:17-19 (NASB)

This world with all the deceit,all the pain, the burden just to survive can dull even the sharpest spiritual sword. Look at the first two words of the above verse. I PRAY. Now look at the rest.

2 It is useless to work hard for the food you eat by getting up early and going to bed late. The Lord gives {food} to those he loves
Psalms 127:1-2 (GW)

God Bless

Friday, May 10, 2013

For This Reason

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
Eph 3:14 (NASB)

Well, it appears that I am on my way to Iowa again. I was notified last night about 3:30 A.M. ( that's this morning isn't it!) well anyway at some GOD AWFUL hour they told me to pack my bags amd be ready to fly out today. However, it is only for one day so I'll be back in time for Mother's Day. If I am not back in time, I probably need to just keep on going as Memaw(my mother) will have my head!!(smile) Thinking about Memaw gave rise to my message today. A couple of days ago I heard a man remark on television about not forgetting God in the small details of our lives. His premise was that we get discouraged and depressed because we focus on the "headlines" of our lives and many times those headlines are negative. Upon hearing that, I was reminded of a recent incident in my own life that fit that bill. I realized that because of one negative that had occurred I had lost sight of the many blessings that God had showered on me during that same time. But, in this case I was focusing on the headline which happened to be negative. Make any sense to you? Well, this man went on to say that we should keep a journal or a record of the "little things" that God does for us and write them down. Then, when we go through those times and it seems that God has forgotten our address(ever feel like that?) or when we feel overwhelmed with no help in sight(ever feel like that?) then we should go to our notes and remind ourselves of all the times God has been there for us.
Like David we should encourage ourselves in the Lord. His contention was that in the midst of the battle we can ALWAYS find something to bow our heads and be thankful for, all the while being encouraged as we remind ourselves of God's concern for us.

 Well I have a "little thing" to report to you today. I was with my mother yesterday at the nursing home. She has been there for about two weeks in the transitional care wing after being discharged from the hospital with pnuemonia. It seems that she will be there another two weeks before she will be strong enough to go home. Well, as she was laying in her bed she all of a sudden began to cry. She tried to stop but she couldn't and began to cry uncontrollably. I asked her what was the matter and she said she was thinking about a friend who had been very good to her in the past. His name was James.This friend had passed on and memaw was sad that she couldn't see him anymore.

Well, I was sitting there not knowing what to say as she really began to get upset. Then it happened. I had my tablet with me and all of a sudden a name popped in my head. Englebert Humperdink. What? Who did you say Ronnie? Engle.. Humper..WHO?? You heard me right. ENGLEBERT HUMPERDINK !!?? Now listen folks...that HAD to be God! HAHAHA! (LAUGHING OUT LOUD) It seems that Englebert Humperdink was an old crooner during the time of Tom Jones. Remember Tom? Anyway, my mother went to see Englebert in concert some 40+ years ago and just loved him. Now, I knew that she liked him but really folks I haven't thought about Englebert Humperdink in... FOREVER! So, for some crazy reason it occurred to me to find an Englebert video on YouTube. Lo and behold I found one and and brought it up. I looked over at memaw and told her to look at this and put the tablet in her hand. As soon as she saw ol' Englebert her face perked up and when he started singing she just went through the roof. She held that tablet close to her and shut her eyes. She was in heaven.(smile). It changed her day and all of a sudden she was happy again. She was mumbling something about "they don't make 'em like that anymore" (smile)

 My point? Just this. God took a 2 minute video of a now obscure performer and turned a heartache into a happy moment in the life of an old lady. In the process that lady's son got a great blessing. It did my heart good to see my mother perk up from a long ago memory. It was a "small" thing that God did yesterday. But, it brightened the lives of two of His children.and reminded one of them that He is always there. Whether we sense Him or not. Whether it feels like He has moved a million miles away with no forwarding address.. or not. HE IS THERE. Watching over His own. Look again.

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
Eph 3:14 (NASB)

For this reason I bow my knees. You are always there Lord Jesus. You can bless me in ways I have never imagined. Lord, help me to realize that no matter the circumstances, You are ALWAYS there. You've got my back. Let that be my prayer today.

For THAT reason.

The LORD, the Psalmist's Shepherd.
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalms 23:1-6 (NASB)

P.S. They just called and told me that I do NOT have to go to Iowa. My head is safe for another year! THAT is a GOOD REASON! (SMILE)

God Bless

Friday, May 3, 2013

Not Of This World

Just some thoughts and observations this week.

I saw somewhere this week the famous quote by Edmund Burke. Do you remember it?

Burke, Edmund (1729-1797), was an English orator, author and leader in Great Britain during the time of the Revolutionary War.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

That struck me as I read all the different posts on Facebook this week. I signed one of those internet petitions about a year ago and re-signed a similar petition some months after the first. Well, needless to say I have been and still am being blitzed with all sorts of petitions and calls to action from every conceivable political corner. To be honest, I don't mind all the requests. I read some of them but delete most of them without reading them. But, it is the sheer volume of different issues, some with which I agree and some that I don't that staggers me. Of course many have to do with the current "hot" issues, others with the demise of our country with each side blaming the other. Politics, economy, constitution get my drift don't you? Who the "good" men of Burke's quotation are depend on which side of the political aisle one chooses to sit. But, there is a common thread that runs through all the mail. They all want to establish their particular position as the one that will chart the course for the future. They all want CHANGE. Everything from the Tea Party to Greenpeace look to establish their cause, their' kingdom', if you will, in our land. War being waged over the issues of men.

The Lord Jesus saw it a little differently.

36 Jesus answered, " My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."
John 18:36 (NASB)

Not of this world, not of this realm. That word realm is kind of interesting. A realm is a "domain of activity", a place where everything is happening.
You see all these causes, all the threats,accusations, and innuendo from the mouths of men are just that. They are all smoke and mirrors. The REAL war is being waged in a different realm. It's an unseen realm of the spirit. It is where the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ are fighting. THAT'S where all the activity is. THAT is where the bullets are FOR REAL. Looking for change? Look no further. That realm is where change is affected.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Eph 6:11-12 (NASB)

That verse is almost surreal isn't it. All this activity and warfare going on in the heavenlies. We can't see it but it's there. At any rate, I once had it explained to me in this fashion, " Christianity is not a head problem, it's a heart problem." The issues that challenge us not only as a nation but as individuals are issues of the heart, not of the intellect. It's not a matter of knowing how to change, it is a matter of wanting to change. You know Jesus rejected the offer to make Him a conquering king.

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 offer Himself as Israel's Servant King but they rejected Him. They had seen all the miracles. His teaching was of a nature that they had never before heard. He taught with authority. Even with all that He did to prove He was the Messiah, they rejected Him. It was a matter of the heart, not the head. Same O', Same O' today isn't it? We still don't get it.(smile)

Folks, causes and activism are well and good and serve a purpose. If for nothing else, they make us without an excuse. They serve to warn us of danger. BUT, if we want to effect REAL CHANGE in our nation, in OURSELVES..that is accomplished in that other realm. Getting alone with God Almighty and letting Him change us one heart at a time.That is the only solution. Jesus' Kingdom IS coming to this earth, in HIS good time. The Lord Jesus will establish His righteousness with or without this world's approval. Cause or no cause. Conservative or liberal..makes no difference. Have no doubt about it. He's coming.

1 The Lord says to my Lord: " Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet." 2 The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, " Rule in the midst of Your enemies."
Psalms 110:1-2 (NASB)

God Bless