Friday, March 28, 2014

Remember                                                                                03-28-14

Let me share something that happened to me this week. You may or may not agree with my conclusions because I didn't for a long time. At any rate let me try and paint a picture of what happened to me this week. For some reason, I read an article on the medicated state of our nation this week. I have read many, many articles on this subject and don't know why I read this one. It stated what I had read many, many times hence. We, the United States are the most depressed nation in the world. As a result, we also are the most highly medicated nation in the world. I passed it off as old news and went on. Well, yesterday while sitting at the dining room table I felt a wave of depression come over me. I could FEEL it. Now listen..I have absolutely no reason to be depressed. I have a nice roof over my head. I am in good health. I have enough, no, MORE than enough to eat(gotta lose some lbs. though lol) I have a job and a car. Are you feelin' me here?  But, nonetheless I got hit with a wave of depression and before I knew it I was bemoaning my life. Life all of a sudden was passing me by. God wasn't pleased with me. Don't ask me why, He just wasn't. I was at the end of the road. This was it. Get used to it Ronnie, this is all there is. Any desires or aspirations that I had were over. Folks, it was sudden, out of nowhere and it hit me like a tsunami. Let me say this again with emphasis. I could FEEL it washing over me. This is not the first time that this has happened to me, but this was as strong as I could remember. Now, it has taken me years to come to the following conclusion. I believe that it was a spiritual attack. Understand that for years I didn't buy that. Depression might be caused by this or that but it wasn't spiritual warfare per se. Yesterday changed my mind. I had experienced these attacks before, but this was the strongest by far. From nowhere and for no reason. In the past I have passed it off as having a pity party, feeling sorry for myself, whatever...but, not this time. I said all of that to say this.
While I was under assault from this attack, a word came into my spirit. Remember. That was the word. Remember. Nothing else, just that word. Bear with me. I am doing one of those Bible reading plans.You the Bible in a year, read the New Testament in 30 days..there are a million of them. (I'm doing a chronological one) I'm off track(smile) I'm hearing this word remember in my spirit and I turn to a passage that I had read recently.

    Psalm 77:11-12 (NASB) 11  I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12  I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.

Well, I went to the dictionary and found the meanings of those words remember and meditate. Here's what I found.

Remember- to mark, to recall to mind by effort, to TREASURE
Meditate- to ponder or revolve in the mind. to speak or talk with oneself

Well, that's what I did. And it WAS an effort! Something, my mind, my flesh, I dunno but something did NOT want me to do that. That being said, I began to remember the works and wonders that God had done in my life. I spoke them in my head. I tried to recreate the circumstances in my mind's eye. Here's a little more on that word meditate, it implies that we should actually talk out loud to ourselves about those things that God has done. I remember being taught that about prayer. Let your ears hear what your mouth is saying. Amen? Lo and behold, after a while those feelings of hopelessness and despair started to fade away. The ship was righted again.Now, I understand if you are saying to yourself " Oh brother, Ronnie had finally gone over the cliff and is in freefall." O.K. I get that. But, and just call me crazy, loonie or whatever,.. it worked for me yesterday! Listen brothers and sisters, I am not marginalizing depression and it's effects. No, no, it is very real and can be debilitating. I still remember spending a whole night and day in bed, so depressed I could barely move. I just never made the spiritual connection. I always thought the cause and effect was something different.  You know the Bible speaks about treasuring those works of God. I believe that I will begin to write them down. To make a book of remembrance of all the good things that God has done for me. You know, something to pull out and read when I need a spiritual boost. Well, that was my day, how was yours? At the least, I hope this small testimony has and will prove beneficial to you at some time.
Be encouraged child of God. REMEMBER He has your back!! He's got this. Amen? AMEN!!

Philippians 4:8 (NASB) 8  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Psalm 105:5 (NASB) 5  Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth,


Friday, March 21, 2014

Bodies In Motion                                                                                              03-21-14

   Well, all eyes in Knoxville are  on the television screen this P.M. as our beloved Vols take to the court in the current version of March Madness. Even my ninety something mother has the game on in her bedroom and I can hear the play by play from here. I was reminded of the above title this week while I was thinking about the demise of my exercise regimen. I had been faithfully going to the gym 5-6 days a week for a few months;but, about a month ago external forces pulled me out of my routine and now I am just sitting around every night watching T.V. or whatever. How the mighty have fallen! A couple of nights ago I could physically feel the effects of my lethargy. Bloated, no energy. That's when I heard the above phrase on a commercial. During my travels this week, I discovered that the bodies in motion thing was actually a law of physics. They call it Newton's Law Of Motion. You remember don't you? All those intensely interesting Physics classes in high school? Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, while bodies at rest tend to stay at rest.  Ahhh...what fond memories!Didn't you just love Physics? lol. It just occurred to me that you may have been one of those who actually DID love Physics. My deepest apologies for my unwarranted sarcasm. (smile)
You know something.....? There is some spiritual truth to be gleaned from those laws of motion. Look at this.

 2 Timothy 1:6 (NASB) 6  For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
I like the KJV a little better here.

2 Timothy 1:6 (KJV) 6  Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

You know we all have been gifted by God in different areas. Go read Romans 12 and see what your gifting is. We have been given these special qualities to carry out those tasks that God sets before us. At any rate, we, for any number of reasons, get pulled "off task." We get out of our routine just like my exercise program. We can become lethargic. You remember the old saying "use it or lose it?" That has a lot of truth in it doesn't it? If we don't "exercise" those gifts we have been given they will atrophy from non-use. When I read the above verse I sometimes wonder about Timothy. Look at that verse. Paul is exhorting his pupil to kindle afresh the gift; to be put in remembrance. I wonder if Timothy had hit a wall in his spiritual walk. If he had lost some of his zeal for some reason. Maybe job pressures or poor health possibly. I don't know but I wonder. At any rate, in those laws of motion there is a reason that a body in motion comes to rest. It is something called friction which produces resistance. It is an external force which works against the body's forward motion. That's much like what happens to us isn't it? Rest assured that you and I are not going to be allowed to just march through this life doing God's work worry free and without resistance. No, it is going to come from all quarters and if allowed to build up, it will stop us in our tracks. The enemy, circumstances, in-laws, outlaws. Whatever! And sometimes we have to stir ourselves back in the game. That word stir means "to arouse." It's not about us being in rebellion or backsliding, no no. It's akin to getting your blood flowing again. You have to smack yourself upside the head, rise up and ask God for His grace to keep on keeping on. Amen? The Apostle Peter had a similar admonition to his disciples.

2 Peter 1:12-13 (NASB) 12  Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.
13  I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,

He was exhorting his readers to stir themselves by remembrance of the things that they had been taught up there in the previous verses and begin to operate in them once more. Whether by fatigue or resistance we are all subject to being knocked off course. If you are feeling a little bloated just shake yourself and roll back in the game. Or to put it in today's Falcon vernacular..RISE UP!!

Psalm 105:5 (NASB) 5  Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth,


God Bless

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy                                                                                               03-14-14

Psalm 146:5 (KJV) 5  Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

I had a different message lined up for today but changed it midstream. A few weeks ago I was at the workout gym and while walking on the treadmill I heard this song. I had no idea who the artist  was and couldn't even make out the lyrics; but, the song was great. Great beat and melody and that kind of stuff. Well, I went on about my business and the song would play in my head from time to time. A couple days ago I just happened to be watching T.V. and a car commercial came on and lo and behold the song was playing very dimly in the background. So, I went to work that very night and asked a guy who has teenager kids if he could find the name of the song. Well, last night he came in and informed me that his youngest daughter knew the commercial and the song. It was a song by a man named Pharrell Williams and the name of the song was "The Happy Song."  I Googled it and watched the video and found out that the song was written for a movie (Despicable Me 2, I think) and it had been nominated for an Oscar but had not won. But, the crazy thing about this song was that it has gone viral on YouTube. It seems that people from all over the world are making videos about being happy and sending them into a website. ( It's mostly kids(the video from Munich, Germany is my favorite) and they are dancing, breakdancing, doing backflips, riding bikes and motorscooters....on and on. It's really cool. Go watch it. It will put a smile on your face.   

Ahhh...that elusive butterfly called happiness. We spend untold amounts of time,energy and most of all money trying to capture it. Only problem is once we think we have it, it somehow escapes our grasp and we are off in a vain attempt to net it again. It's a never ending game of catch and release. The reason being, that happiness is based on external circumstances; and those circumstances are in a constant state of flux. Happiness isn't necessarily due to our choices either. I know people who live in difficult circumstances that are not of their making. They did not choose, no,no. They were dealt the hand they have. In many cases they had NO choice. Life thrust their circumstances upon them. The Bible says the serpent strikes without enchantment. I said all that to say this. GO GRAB YOU SOME HAPPINESS TODAY! Listen, your problems can wait for another day. They aren't going anywhere. Take a day off and lighten your load. Now, I don't recommend that you go try and do a 360 on a bike! Neither do I subscribe going out in the front yard and doing backflips or breakdancing. You feelin' me? But, if you can do those things, by all means knock yourself out. I'll find my happiness on the porch with all the other pups. Amen?

Listen brothers and sisters, we can dwell on the newspeak on the tele. We can speculate on the course of our world. Ukraine, Middle East, Global Warming, Terrorism, the decline of America, on and on and on and on and on.....OR we can take a week, a day, an hour to think on God and His goodness. We can meditate on the above verse until we realize that God is OUR(yours and mine) HELPER. He is the King of ALL the Universe, the Sovereign Lord, and CONTROLS ALL THINGS. Go do something that you enjoy. Dance, sing, walk the dog, whatever.. just let those problems and burdens float up in the sky. It will be a medicine to your bones.

       Proverbs 17:22 (KJV) 22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Just do it. It might just make you HAPPY!

Psalm 18:29-33 (KJV) 29  For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
30  As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
31  For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
32  It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
33  He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.

God Bless

Friday, March 7, 2014

All Who Take Up The Sword....                                  03-07-14

Take a close look at what is happening in the Ukraine these days. This is a precursor(whether immediate or distant I can't say) to the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel. At some future date Russia is going to invade Israel for the purposes of booty, political or material, it matters not. It is there, on the mountains of Israel, where Russia as a world force will fill their cup of iniquity and meet their demise. Go read it. It appears that today's world response is also much like what will happen in the future. A lot of talk with no real action. This response today however remains to be played out. There is still some faint hope that the world will stand up to Russia. It remains to be seen. That being said.

Matthew 26:52 (NASB) 52  Then Jesus *said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.

That's pretty forthright. If we continue to wield a sword whether literally by violence or spiritually we are going to perish by the same. I am reminded of a prominent local pastor who many years ago was given what he described as a "sword of judgment" to execute against another prominent pastor by exposing some wrongdoing that the latter was involved in. I remember that man saying from the pulpit that he refused to wield it and threw it down. That's what the enemy will many times lay in our path isn't it? A sword of judgment. Oh, we don't have to go on television and expose wrongdoing; no, no, we, if we are not careful, can brandish that sword by nourishing a critical and faultfinding spirit within ourselves can't we? Once we begin to feed that beast, it won't be long before we"take it public" by exposing it before our friends and family. You know.. that word that none of us ever engage in..what's it called? Oh yeah I remember...gossip. Of course you understand that I NEVER engage in that kind of thing. (as immediately my nose grows considerably longer! smile) Jesus knew all about that tendency in us and spoke to it.

Matthew 7:3-4 (NASB) 3  "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
4  "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?

Allow me a platform here for a sec please. There are many verses in the Bible about personal righteousness and holiness. Many speak to the disciplining and even the crucifixion of the flesh and it's fleshly desires. BUT, some things remain unspoken here. First we can't accomplish one whit of that righteousness without the power of the Holy Spirit residing and working within us. Any righteousness outside of the Spirit's enablement is not righteousness, it's self righteousness. So, why do we insist on holding others to a standard that we ourselves are unable to attain to? Secondly, most, if not all the scriptures referred to above deal with our personal walk and our personal relationship with God. It's a little different when we are dealing with our brothers and sisters.

2 Corinthians 5:19 (NASB) 19  namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Paul wrote this to believers in the Corinthian church. What he says here is this, the sin problem has been dealt with. All we need do is be reconciled through and by Jesus. Now here it is.
".....He has committed to US"(caps mine) not only Paul but US, that's you and me,"the word of reconciliation" Not the word of judgment, nor even the word of righteousness,but the word of reconciliation. Look at this.  

 Galatians 6:1 (NASB) 1  Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
Key point here. "......restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself..."

Let me get real with you for a minute. If I fall in a pit because of sin I don't need ANYONE to tell me that I have sinned and have fallen. I ALREADY KNOW THAT!! I don't need to be convinced that I have sinned, I fully agree. I don't need scripture. I don't need someone who is just as inclined to sin as I am telling me about righteousness and holiness. No, No. What I need is someone GENTLY to throw me a lifeline. I need someone in love to help me and minister the word of reconciliation. How? By pointing my spiritual compass back squarely in the direction of my Lord and Savior JESUS CHRIST. Please don't kill me with the sword of judgment and self righteousness. Take me by the hand and lead me back to the Cross of Calvary. When I am overwhelmed with circumstances or sin LEAD ME GENTLY. Where? Here.

 Psalm 61:2 (NASB) 2  From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

To the Rock that is higher than I. It's by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ALONE THAT I AM MADE RIGHTEOUS. Not by MY conduct, not by MY behavior, not by MY repentance but by HIS righteousness alone.

Psalm 56:1 (NASB) 1
 Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; Fighting all day long he oppresses me.

God Bless