Friday, December 27, 2013

A News Year's Resolution...?                                                          12-27-13

I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore. The RESOLVE in my resolution to lose 20 pounds quickly melts as the visions of  Penn Station cheesesteaks or  Firehouse Sub meatball marinaras dance wildly about in my head. As someone once told me" they call me by name." Oh well...I will trod down to the gym and do my penance on the treadmill as if it will do me any good. Unfortunately those 20 pounds aren't coming off without a dose of self control and discipline. Amen?  As I was thinking about what to write today, this passage rolled by my eyes.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NASB) 7  But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;
8  for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

The Apostle Paul is encouraging Timothy, his pupil in the faith to train himself to attain to godliness. Why? Because it holds promise not only for the next life, but, for THIS LIFE as well. I thought to myself"hmmm... that sounds like a good New Year's resolution. Let's see here.. Godliness..hmm oh here it is. According to Mounce's Expository Dictionary, it is defined as "a manner of life that is devoted to God." Also, Paul exhorts Timothy (and by default you and me of course) pursue godliness strenuously. 

1 Timothy 6:11 (NASB) 11  But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
But, I need a little more help here's just not... wait a minute there it is. Look at this.
Godliness is a life DEVOTED to God. O.K lets see here...devoted, that's it. there it is.

Devoted-" to attend to or devote oneself to in a regular and steadfast manner." To be around or commune with in a consistent and persistent manner. You see, I had the wrong idea about Godliness.
Godliness isn't about being "spiritual," I can't find Godliness in a set of rules of conduct or behavior; whether they have been set by me or someone else. No, that in and of itself is nothing more than mere religion. Godliness eludes me when I attempt to tie it to some doctrine or creed. You know what I mean don't you? You have to believe a certain way(usually the way I believe) to be "Godly." Allow me this aside on doctrine. While there are some fundamental truths about the Christian faith, once we go beyond Christ, the Cross and His Resurrection, it's ALL DOCTRINE. Remember this brothers and sisters, God is the Judge and the Justifier. He is the author and FINISHER of our faith, and only when we stand before the Lord Jesus will we be called to account for our doctrines and our works. Jesus and JESUS ALONE will decide whether our works will stand or fall before Him.

1 Corinthians 3:12-13 (NASB) 12  Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
13  each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.

You see folks being Godly isn't about rules or conduct. It isn't about saying the right things or acting the right way. It's not about outward appearance. Being Godly is about being with and around God. It's about letting Him free your heart from hatred. It's about letting Him free your mind from worry.(something I saw on Facebook today) It's about you and me ceasing from our attempts at "being spiritual" and attending to God; letting HIM make us spiritual from the inside out. Do we want a "Godly" new year? Then let us spend time meditating on His Word. Let us spend time with Him alone in His presence and allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives. Let us pursue TRUE righteousness and godliness.

Happy New Year All.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB) 23  Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24  And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

God Bless

Friday, December 20, 2013

Enough Is Enough                                                             12-20-13

Proverbs 19:3 (NASB) 3  The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the LORD.

Merry Christmas All! It won't be long until the big fat man pays us a visit. Hope everyone is having a great holiday season.

That verse above is one of my favorite verses in all the Bible. I remember what my stepfather, years ago when I was a teenager, used to tell me, " there's nothing but trouble out there past 11 o'clock." The clock crept up every year until I became a senior. Then it went like this, " there's nothing out there but trouble after 12 o'clock." The time had changed but the message had not. After a certain time there was nothing out there but trouble. As I grew up and stepped out on my own, much to my chagrin, I found something else out. It didn't matter what time it was, trouble was always out there! As a matter of fact, I didn't even have to look for trouble, it would find me!! Can I get a witness from anyone out there? 

Understand this, everybody has limits. The patience of even the most cool and level headed among us can be pushed to the breaking point. Parents with children, employers with employees, police and judges with lawbreakers..everyone reaches a point where ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Can I get an amen please?

 The wisdom of the above verse rings in my ears on almost a daily basis. It has
been an eye opener to me in my own life more times than I care to remember. Here's how it goes. We will get out there and test the limits of God's Word. God in His mercy will protect us in our stupidity time and time again. We'll keep pushing the envelope until one of two things happen.1) All Hades comes crashing down as a natural response to ignoring what God's Word says. OR 2) All Hades comes crashing down because God has had enough and it's time for a trip to the woodshed. Either way....well you get the picture. So when we are sitting in the middle of the road trying to get the number of the truck that just clocked us, what do we do? We take it out on the Lord. That's the message of that verse. OUR FOOLISHNESS ruins our life but we rage against God. All God has been doing all along is protecting us from ourselves; yet we are calling Him on the carpet for our demise. 

   Proverbs 20:2 (NASB) 2  The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life.

I never was a Bob Dylan fan, but he wrote a song "..Gotta Serve Somebody."
In the song he says that we may be somebody or nobody, rich or poor, famous, infamous, or unknown BUT we ARE going to serve somebody. If we don't bow to mama and daddy, we will bow to the police. If we don't bow to the police, we will bow to the judge. If we don't bow to the judge, we will bow to BIG BUBBA in the jail, BUT, we are going to bow to someone. You, me, the next door neighbor...we are going to serve someone. As Bob Dylan says,"it might be the devil, it might be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody."

I will leave you with this. No matter how far you or I have fallen, God is there. No matter how bad we have been, God has forgiven us. If you need to feel His love, His touch, His forgiveness all you need do is ask. If you will take one step toward God, He will come running to you and gather you up in His arms. He's holding NOTHING against you or me.

 Romans 8:38-39 (NASB) 38  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Psalm 130:3-4 (NASB) 3  If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
4  But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.

God Bless


Friday, December 13, 2013

Only In The Next Life                                                                  12-13-13

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NASB) 12  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

Pastor Doug's son Joshua wrote me a note this week. In it he wondered aloud if the messages were impacting people's lives. He then made this comment "We will know for sure in the next life.." That set me to thinking. There are things that happen in this life that are ..well...strange. Or as one fast food company advertises "outside the box."  They are dissonant(my new word for the week) out of harmony. You see it all the time. An evangelist will have a healing ministry and some people get healed and some don't. Others are called to prophesy and some of their prophecies come to pass and some don't. There are ministries that we would label as shallow and self-serving; yet, God prospers and uses them mightily for His purposes. While others that we consider far more insightful and in depth, labor in obscurity,seemingly forgotten by God. Personal theologies are adjusted and overhauled to harmonize with reality. Just recently a nationally prominent Pastor wrote a scathing rebuke of a prominent theological position. It didn't work, it didn't fit. It wasn't in harmony with his belief system. He was left with no other avenue save to attack it.

During a conversation this week I was reminded of a popular saying from the movie "Rudy." In response to a question posed to him by Rudy,the priest in the movie said that in 30 something years of ministry he(the priest) had learned two incontrovertible facts, "...there is a God and I ain't Him!" Brothers and sisters that basically sums it up.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB) 8  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
9  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Allow me to present you with a profound and even scary concept.I hesitate to even speak about it because my understanding of it is infantile at best. But, it is on my heart so I'll go with it.

God Is Sovereign. Again. God Is Sovereign

That's it Ronnie !?? God is sovereign?? Sheesshh Jenkins...everybody knows that!


1) a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler
2)a person who has supreme power or authority

Those words make good sense...sometimes. Supreme power, unquestioned and unchallenged authority, supreme authority. Truths about the God that you and I serve. These are lofty and well received words when all is well.When there is enough money in the bank, when we have good health, WHEN ALL IS WELL.

But, and let me state emphatically here that I am preaching to me at this point. BUT,when our lives are outside the box, when ALL IS NOT WELL, when our current and long held theology ISN'T working... God is STILL SOVEREIGN. When all hell is breaking loose in our lives, when there is nothing but affliction and suffering, He is still working His purpose. Listen brothers and sisters, consider those words CAREFULLY. I assure you that I will. We are frail creatures folks. I can unashamedly confess that I WILL crumble under the SLIGHTEST AFFLICTION without God's grace to see me through. No amount of personal piety, repentance, prayer etc., etc., will strengthen me sufficiently. All of my "spirituality" lay in a dirty heap at the foot of the savior. I stand, no that is wrong, He UPHOLDS me in the power of His grace and His grace alone. I am helpless on my own accord. All of our theologies are just that. Theologies. Our knowledge of the one true God. And as the scripture says, it is at best partial and incomplete. Our confidence, knowledge, power and WHATEVER else we claim to be is wrapped up in one word JESUS.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB) 2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The beginner and finisher of our faith. Grace plus absolutely nothing. That's all our hope. 

God Is Sovereign.

Psalm 107:1-2 (NASB) 1
 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

God Bless

Friday, December 6, 2013

In Times Like These                                                              12-06-13

Psalm 31:15 (NASB) 15  My times are in Your hand;

Times..the events that make up our lives on this earth. The Psalmist David learned to trust the Lord with the events and circumstances, good and bad of his "times." In times like these there are no words that comfort, no scripture that alleviates the pain, no prayer that lightens the burden. In times like these all we want to do is crawl up into God's hands and find a place with Him. All we want is to feel His arms around us and to hear Him tell us that it will be O.K. Please remember Pastor Doug, Wanda and all their family in these times.

Psalm 23:1-6 (NASB) 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.

God Bless