Friday, September 27, 2013

This Present World                                                                                          9-27-13

2 Timothy 4:9-10 (NASB) 9  Make every effort to come to me soon;
10  for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

I was looking through an old Bible the other day and I found a note that I had written in the margins. It was dated round 1985 and said " What was in Thessalonica that made Demas desert Paul?" Now, I don't remember whether that was a sermon that I had heard or a Bible teaching or just a note that I made for some reason. But, I started thinking about it a couple of days ago. Think about that for a minute. Here is this man Demas. This is not the only mention of him in the New Testament. He is mentioned in Colossians 4 and also in Philemon.

Colossians 4:14 (NASB) 14  Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.
Philemon 1:23-24 (NASB) 23  Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you,
24  as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.

It seems that Demas was a friend, associate and fellow worker with some real heavyweights. Mark, Luke and the Apostle Paul were counted among his close friends. He appears to have been in the inner circle if there were such a thing at that time. I checked a couple of references but mostly all I  found out was what was mentioned in the Scripture. It appears that this close relationship had developed over a span of time. From all appearances, Demas was"one of the boys." At the very worst he was an acquaintance of men who were eyewitnesses of Jesus himself and who wrote much of the New Testament. That is pretty heady company don't you agree? So, what happened? Demas' defection is sobering isn't it? If someone who walked and talked with men who wrote the Bible can be enticed into desertion, what makes Ronnie Jenkins think that he is immune from such temptation? You gettin' my drift? I don't know what happened to Demas but look at what Paul said. "...having loved this present world..."  I read in 1st John this week this verse:

1 John 2:16 (NASB) 16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
That pretty much covers it doesn't it? John said this was "all" that was in the world. But, hold on a minute. It isn't about what is in the world. No,no. God doesn't mind if you have a decent house to live in. It doesn't bother Him if you have a nice car or some spending money in your pocket.No, it isn't soul annihilation we're talking about here. He gives us of those good things to enjoy in this life. The key words here are "lust and boastful pride."

Greek NASB Number: 1939

Greek Word: ἐπιθυμία

Transliterated Word: epithumia
Root: from 1937;

Definition: desire, passionate longing, lust:--

Vines gives a more in depth definition. Lust is a desire or passionate longing that divides. It is the desire to have or acquire something even to the point of dividing between people and God. Isn't that what happened to Demas? Something in Thessalonica, who knows what it could have been, but something enamored Demas to the point that he was willing to part company with the Apostle Paul. Demas gave up who knows what...he could have been Paul's Timothy, we don't really know. The point being something divided Demas from Paul and even God.

 That phrase boastful pride of life also translates pride of wealth. The good life if you will. We, in America, compared to most of the world, all live the good life. That being said, if we aren't careful the good life can burden us down with the cares of MAINTAINING the good life. Amen? Jesus warned against falling into that snare.

Matthew 13:22 (NASB) 22  "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

satan will put snares and pitfalls all along our path and we must be very careful how we tread. Trust me I know, I speak from experience. The curves come from any and all directions. Jobs, relationships, money, convenience etc., etc., and here's the looks and feels right. If it wasn't pleasing to our flesh, we wouldn't lust after it would we? But, if we can somehow take a step back, deep breath and say within ourselves what does God think about it, we will be way ahead of the game. Listen, we don't miss anything by seeking God's counsel and waiting on His direction. Yes, I know sometimes that is MUCH easier said than done but, if we will do that we will avoid a lot of pitfalls.

  Proverbs 4:23 (NASB) 23  Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

I didn't look it up but I think that word diligence means "a painstaking effort." How does one do that Ronnie? I only know of one way. Stay before God. No great revelation there but that's my only answer. You have an issue? Is there a big decision you have to make? Is something pulling and enticing you to make a life altering move? Get alone with God. Open His Word. Read what it says.Take it to the Lord in prayer. Repeat. Stand firm until He answers and gives you direction. LORD HAVE MERCY! If yours truly had followed that advice all the time I could have avoided many heartaches! I suppose we all have the same story more or less. The good thing is that God Almighty doesn't and isn't holding our mistakes against us. You made a mistake? JOIN THE CLUB of which I and many others are CHARTER MEMBERS!LOL

This present world can be intoxicating both spiritually and literally. Tread carefully.The Lord Jesus Christ is there waiting to pick up the pieces of your life and restore you no matter what. He's the medicine for what ails your body and soul.

Psalm 130:1-8 (NASB) 1
 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD.
2  Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.
3  If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
4  But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
5  I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.
6  My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
7  O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption.
8  And He will redeem Israel From all his iniquities.

God Bless

Friday, September 20, 2013

Are We There ?                                                                                             09-20-13

Luke 21:28 (NASB) 28  "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Well, we have a cold front coming through tonight. Temps going to be much cooler tonight. It won't be cold but just an early reminder of ol' man winter knocking at the door. You may be one of those polar bears that enjoys cold weather.(I can't for the life of me understand why lol) I, however DESPISE cold weather. Give me 80-85 degrees and sunny year around thank you! At any rate, I asked myself the above question this past week. Are we where Ronnie? The end of the age. I enjoy prophecy and taking notice of world events but it's not a priority with me, because I know that these things are coming to pass. My priority has always been trying to make it through the day to be ready when Jesus actually does part that eastern sky. That being said I read something this week that turned my eyes heavenward. Now, understand I keep up with the news but I am not a news hound. Neither am I overly political. However, I read a short book, pamphlet on something called U.N. Agenda 21. Maybe you have heard of it, I had not until this week. It seems there is a 300+ page document created in 1992 endorsed and signed by some 170+ nations (United States included) that is an outline for something called Sustainable Development. Without going into much detail, this document outlines in plain language the desire of the U.N. to achieve a worldwide government during the 21st century. Hence the term Agenda 21. They envision a world with no national borders therefore no national sovereignty. Massive depopulation and population redistribution into something called mega-cities. A proposal,in print suggests that up to 50% of the land mass of these United States be classified not habitable through the expansion of National Parks. The U.N. will achieve these and many other objectives through seemingly humane directives dealing with environmentalism and other high sounding policy initiatives. On and on and on. It seems this is a direct assault on our most basic rights and is determined to devalue and enslave humanity worldwide. This caught my eye this week for two reasons. The material that I read about in this agenda is not the opinion of some conspiracy theorist or an editorial comment of some newspaper. No, it is a plainly written document that is a matter of public record. This is not a deal being made in some smoky back room. Secondly, I have seen with my own eyes one of the planks of this agenda being initiated in this country. This booklet, this week, forcefully brought home to me the fact that we are marching with purpose toward Armageddon.

Truth is that there are times when the powers that are arrayed against God's people and people in general seem invincible. We hear about a global conspiracy to control the world and it seems so outlandish that it is difficult to comprehend. That is what I was thinking as I read that booklet this week.Then the Lord put a verse in my heart.

Proverbs 22:2 (NASB) 2  The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.

Rich,poor. Powerful,powerless. Global elitist, newspaper truck driver. The LORD has made us all.The God of all the universe scoffs at agenda 21 and all the other "agendas" no matter their name that raise their heads against the knowledge of God.  

Psalm 2:1-4 (NASB) 1  Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2  The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3  "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
4  He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.

God has everything in His earth under control.Agendas come, agendas go as the world's forces march in lockstep toward a confrontation with the Lord Jesus. Just as the Bible proclaims they will. Instead of fretting about the U.N. and it's agendas;the question we need to be asking ourselves is are we ready? Am I ready? Are you ready? When we see these things coming to pass, look up for our REDEMPTION IS DRAWING NEAR. Listen, if you don't know Jesus Christ as YOUR savior ask Him right now. Time is growing short.

Romans 10:9 (NASB) 9  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

God Bless

Friday, September 13, 2013

Chosen                                                                                           09-13-13

John 15:16 (NASB) 16  "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
I was at work last night musing over what to write about today, when my attention was drawn to a picture in the Wall Street Journal. It was a picture of a Syrian refugee cradling his young daughter in his arms. At first, I glanced at it and kept walking, but as I read the underlying caption "....his wounded daughter..." I did a double take and saw that precious child's injuries. She was a pretty thing, about three,maybe four years old. She had been dressed in a little girl's dress with hairbows and earrings. Just another precious little girl, until you noticed her arms,legs and feet. They were beet red as the first layer of her skin had apparently been burnt off. As I stood there and stared I was verging on tears but composed myself and moved on. As I replayed that photograph in my mind something settled in my spirit. It was as if the Lord was asking me a question. "Ronnie, do you really appreciate how blessed you are?" "I CHOSE you." Now, I don't know if that was the Lord talking to me or my own spirit, nevertheless it set me to thinking. I'll try to explain.

Look at that verse again. That's as spiritually heavy a statement as you are going to find in God's Word. Jesus was talking to His disciples in this context but the idea that God chose us for His own is taught in numerous passages in the Bible. Ephesians,Romans, 1st Peter and elsewhere.

Ephesians 1:4-5 (NASB) 4  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
5  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,

Romans 8:29-30 (NASB) 29  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

1 Peter 1:1-2 (NASB) 1  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen
2  according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Now my purpose here is not some theological treatise on predestination. I'll leave that to the scholars. But, this truth is staring me in the face today. The man in that picture, carrying that precious child could have been ME. Except for the grace of God, it could have been my child that had her skin burnt off. While I thought about that man and his little girl,my mind considered other realities.

Only God's grace and mercy allowed me to be born in this country. It seems that most people living today outside of the industrialized world live on about two dollars a day. I reflected on this while comparing the income levels and standards of living that we  Americans EXPECT just because we are Americans. I'm not speaking critically here; it's just a well known fact that we are a blessed people, maybe above all the earth. God chose this Eden as my place, my country if you will. Didn't have to be that way. Getting my drift?  Now, this country has a whole host of issues that may or may not be resolved. BUT, at least we still acknowledge the God of Israel and His Son Jesus Christ. Amen? I could be walking from a war torn hell on earth into a Turkish refugee camp carrying my wounded daughter.

But, even more important than any of this is that somewhere in eternity past God chose ME, yes, little ol' me to be one of His own. Before the foundation of the world, He appointed me to salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are naming the name of Christ, He chose YOU also. It's mind numbing when you sit down and realize that God chose you and me for eternal life. Before any of this was even created, we were in His mind and heart. Children of the Almighty God. To put this in an earthbound perspective, let me make an observation here. I,or for that matter you could have been born in a country that stands against the one true God. We could have been DENIED the privilege of attending Sunday School, vacation Bible School and on and on while we were growing up. It happens everyday to innocent children all over the world. ONLY His mercy stands between us and that.

Brothers and sisters, somewhere eons ago, God in His sovereignty decided that in 1975, when I fell off the turnip truck, He would pick me up and bestow His grace upon me. He decided to bless me with a blessing that defies description. He and He alone allowed me to live in a nation that calls Him God. He picked me up in my filth and shed His Son's blood in my heart and saved my soul. For that reason, I can only bow my head and say thank you; and, offer up a prayer that He does the same thing for that Syrian man and his child. We are truly blessed above all people.

Psalm 146:5 (NASB) 5  How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God,

God Bless

Friday, September 6, 2013

Shhhhh....                                                                                     09-06-13

Matthew 6:1-4 (NASB) 1  "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2  "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
3  "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4  so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Well, it's football time in Tennessee! The beloved Vols are taking to the field once again tomorrow. The atmosphere in Knoxville is hopeful and the Vols are on everyone's mind and lips; at least until a heavyweight comes into Knoxville and lays a beatdown on them. Oh well, enjoy it while you can right? It was an article about football alongside a kindly act that birthed this message today.

I read in the sports page about an NFL owner who gave a great amount of money(200 million I believe) to his alma mater, the University of Michigan. His benevolence was trumpeted in the news pages and whatnot for a couple of days and then faded out of the public view. Indeed, I had forgotten about it myself until later in the week when another act of benevolence brought it back to mind. It was a contrast in how the world views and rewards things and how God views and rewards them.

I believe it was Tuesday night when I received a phone call from Shelley informing me that the AC in the house had gone out. It was about 90 degrees that day and the house was rapidly becoming unbearable. So, she and Jessica packed up and went in search of relief. Jessica to her Grandmother's and Shelley to my mother's. Michael rode it out and stayed at the house! Please pray that the heat didn't affect his brain. Shelley and I tried in vain to get the part and fix the AC that night. On top of that she was told that the part wouldn't be available until Thursday. (2 more days) Couldn't find the part anywhere. Or so it seemed.

After a long day at work Shelley went to church.I called her afterwards to see what was happening. We met to get something to eat and I asked her where everyone was staying that night. And here's my story. It seems that while she was at work a friend of her's at church had taken it upon themselves to call a repairman and sent them out to fix the air. Not only that, they had instructed the repairman to send them the bill. As Shelley told me this I was touched by this act of kindness and was reminded of the grand gift to Michigan just a day or two before. I started thinking of all the hoopla over the gift to Michigan as opposed to the $50-$100 gift given to Shelley.

This passage of scripture came to mind as I thought about the two gifts. Here you have one gift heralded all over the newspages. Two or three different wires carrying their version of the story. And, don't get me wrong it was a large donation, BUT that man has received his reward... IN FULL. Look at verse 2 again.

Matthew 6:2 (NASB) 2  "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
There are two key phrases. " that they may be honored by men." and "...they have their reward in full." You see, Jesus said that once someone publishes what they do for Him, that's it. The publicity, small or large is payment in full. It extends past just giving to all that we do for God. The principle is this, do it in secret and God will reward you openly. Prayer,fasting, acts of righteousness, God wants us to trust Him for the payback instead of men.

Look at the simplicity of the way Shelley's friend acted. Didn't tell anyone as far as I know. They just decided to bless her and made no fanfare. Heck, I don't even know how she found out about it. But, it just shows the difference between the world's ways and God's ways. In God's eyes that small amount(in comparison) was more important than 200 million and will receive a greater and certainly more lasting reward. The Bible teaches us to "practice our righteousness" in secret. If we do that then we can trust God to make it right for us. He promises to do just that.
Our efforts do not go unnoticed, nor do they go unrewarded.

 Galatians 6:9 (NASB) 9  Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Let me tell you something. That man's gift to the University of Michigan may have earned him some fanfare and time in the limelight. And, it was a good thing that he did I suppose. But, today, Friday, just a couple of days afterward it is old news. It's the stuff of fish wrappers. Amen? But, that simple act of righteousness performed God's way will earn an eternal reward someday, all the while paying dividends down here on earth. AMEN!!
A simple act of love, done just for the satisfaction of blessing someone goes a long way in God's eyes don't you think? It doesn't take 200 million to grab the Lord's attention.

 Psalm 66:12 (NASB) 12  You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.


God Bless