Friday, January 30, 2015

It's All Good                                                                   01-29-15

Psalm 34:8 (NASB) 8  O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

As I have mentioned before in this blog, I am not a pastor. I don't consider myself gifted with a pastor's heart, neither am I blessed as an exhorter. That being said, when writing this blog, I  make an attempt to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is speaking, if anything, to my heart. I spend about four hours a night driving the Interstate delivering papers. What better time than to ponder and pray? Last night, I stilled my spirit with nothing but the hum of the road in my ears. I was trying to get a clue about what God might want me to write about today.    Nothing.  Nothing. Nothing. I finished my route, went home and went to bed. Got up this P.M. Not a word.Nada.

I began to think about various subjects that might be of interest.. you know the condition of the world this week (which is the same or worse as last week!lol) No that wasn't it. I thought about the various trials and tribulations that God's People are facing on a daily basis. But, that quickening that is so familiar to me wasn't there. I had nothing. I even considered trying to put a spiritual spin to Deflategate!! (Lord Have Mercy.) It was then that I took a glance out the dining room window and noticed how pretty it was. The sun was hitting these pine trees at just the right angle. It was pretty and had a strange sort of tranquility to it. I was having a zen moment(smile)

As I wondered at those trees, some thoughts started strolling across my mind. I thought about how my bills were all paid. I had a job with a recent pay raise. I had obtained health insurance through the V.A. FREE of charge. No premiums, just a small co-pay. I had a roof over my head. My children were all safe and well fed. My health was good. All in all, it was ALL GOOD. You feelin' me here?  As I once again thought about what to write a voice came in my head and said,"Why don't you write about that?"  "About what?" I replied. "About how it is all good." That was it. That's all I heard. It was gone.  

In my spirit I retorted that isn't very thought provoking, nor is it insightful. Not that I have a special gift for either. Then I had a very simple, sobering thought..... It didn't have to be that way. I could be hunkered down in some Middle Eastern hellhole fearing for my very life. I could be on the receiving end of all the cards and well wishes for my speedy recovery. Ya hearin' me here? There are countless situations and circumstances, much worse,that I, Ronnie Jenkins could find myself tethered to. When I considered this,it finally occurred to me that God has, is, and will be very good to me. He has been faithful to me. Brothers and sisters I must confess something and I understand that I may be speaking for myself here. But, when weighed against the challenges and attacks that believers in other parts of the world are facing, my difficulties are a featherweight. Even in our own country there are people that are going through it to a degree that I can only imagine. With that perspective in front of my eyes, I thought it reasonable to pen a simple "Thank You Lord". I am reminded of that phrase that God has spoken to me many times recently "I've got your back." The Lord truly is good. Take your refuge in Him. He's All Good.  

Lamentations 3:21-23 (NASB) 21  This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
22  The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
23  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

God Bless

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Your God                                                            01-15-15 

Exodus 20:2-3 (NASB) 2  "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3  "You shall have no other gods before Me.

Early post this week.

A personal, random commentary this week. It's everywhere isn't it? On the tele, in print, all over social media, the conversation centers around one dominating topic these days. Terrorism or extremism as that is the preferred catchword these days. (Watch out, that change in wording is dangerous) At any rate, we are reading about it, we are writing about it, we are ranting about it, and now we are going to be global summiting about it. It has seeped into every crack and crevice of our daily life, attempting to instill fear into our hearts. And to be honest it has succeeded on a national level. We now, in this writer's opinion are charting a course based on appeasement and tolerance, rather than confrontation. The machine rolls on, imposing its will on our lives; while more and more of us become anesthetized by the pursuit of the blessings and quality of life. A better description might be just to survive. There is a war going on and it is a class war waged by a privileged few against the rest of us, no matter one's creed or color.  To be honest, this whole grand drama being played out is by design don't you think? I read the other day that it is now viewed as virtuous to tolerate all the various viewpoints(especially religious) as opposed to proclaiming the truth. It was at that point that the Spirit spoke those verses in my heart.

It was if He was saying this to me "Wait a minute here. What's all this commotion about? Have you forgotten Ronnie just who is running this show? "  As I thought about that, I wondered at all the councils, all the meetings, all the money, not to mention the HUMAN cost that is being sacrificed to appease this god. All the while the one true God sits on His throne and .......smiles.

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.

 The kings of this earth believe that they are calling the shots. They believe that rule this earth with autonomy. When in reality they are nothing more than players whose strings are being pulled by forces they have no idea even exist. Spiritual rulers in high places. 

Brothers and sisters, I am in no way attempting to minimize the threat that has raised it's head against us in this country. In fact, I am of the belief that we won't have to worry about radical Islam taking this nation over by force. Nope, given time we will vote them in. Oh, they may not fit the stereotype we see today. They may wear coats and ties or dresses. But, they will serve the same agenda as those terrorists do today. The day is coming when anyone who proclaims the TRUE message of God,the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, will bear the label extremist. The day is coming and is already here when free speech will be limited to only that speech that is not incendiary or offensive. Heaven (and earth) forbid that anyone preach "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand." And believe me, it will be forbidden.

Look back at that verse again, the first six words. "I am the LORD your (italics mine) God..."  The day is coming, and already is when Christians of all shapes,sizes, and persuasions will be fair game. The day is coming when The One True God MUST become YOUR God. The day is coming when the T.V. won't do.There may not be a  man of God to watch much less a  church to go to. At that time we, you and me, will need to know God for ourselves. It is a smart play if we start right now don't you think? Let's get a hold of Him. He is not only the one true God, He is the one and ONLY God. He will have NO other gods before Him.

Psalm 2:10-12 (NASB) 10  Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11  Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.
12  Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

God Bless


Saturday, January 10, 2015

No Time Limit

As I was sitting at the kitchen table in memaw's(my mother lol) house this week the Lord quietly spoke the title to this message. No time limit.

3 "A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.
Isaiah 42:3 (NASB)

I was in the midst of dealing with 'something' this week and I found myself numbed to the situation. Have you ever found yourself that way? You've dealt with something for so long that you have become numb to it's effect. At first you used to freak out and go nuts looking for a solution; but, now you have dealt with it for so long that you have become numb and without feeling towards whatever you are battling against. As a matter of fact you have begun to accept that this situation is now the norm and you have 'given up'(?) that it might ever change. You have lost your compassion. Ever feel like that or is it just me?(smile) Well, I felt that very way this past week. Yep sure did. I said in my heart "the heck with it, I'm done. It ain't(bad english lol) NEVER gonna change! My anger and frustration were such that I didn't have any words. I didn't WANT to have any words. I just wanted to be through with it. Over, done, KAPUT!! Can I get an Amen??!! That's when the Lord, in His way,(you know how He does things sometimes) put the above scripture in front of my eyes.

As I read the above verse the Lord reminded me of the COUNTLESS times that He had shown me, yours truly, mercy and compassion. You see when other people screw up and miss the mark we sometimes give them a big dose of "I told you so" or worse we give up on them. No, we don't stop loving them,we just give up fighting in the spirit for them. Our spirit wants to give up the fight.  We lose our compassion. You gettin'my drift? Our heart becomes numb to the situation. Trust me,I know. The Lord gave me a simple illustration this week. It was of a tree limb that had been half broken off. A'bruised reed' if you will. You know, you've seen them before, a small limb that has been cracked and it's just hanging there. I was reminded of some tree tape that they sell at Home Depot and Loew's. You wrap it around the the broken limb and graft it back into the bigger limb and over time the damaged limb will heal and grow back into the bigger limb. But, if you just leave the broken limb alone it will die. Understand, you don't have to break the limb off to kill it. You just have to NEGLECT it. Instead of binding it up with the tape and feeding it with fertilizer,you just give up on it and let it hang there. Eventually, it dies from neglect and starvation. That's probably very simplistic, but that is the picture I got this week. We don't have to get mad and frustrated with people to hurt them. We don't have to turn our back on them to wound them spiritually.We just have to give up on them. To become numb and indifferent toward their struggle. That's when the Lord spoke those words to me. Ronnie, there's no time limit on compassion and mercy. Thank God for that! If there were, I would have hit the bottom of the barrel long, long ago!!

 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.
Gal 6:1 (NASB)

That word "restore" is as Bugs Bunny or was it Elmer Fudd(?) would say"verry inte-resting." It means "to mend, or to furnish completely" I have heard it put this way. It means to help someone"all the way out." " ... in a spirit of gentleness..." You know something? You can tell someone the truth without verbally beating them up. Most, if not all people know when they have missed it. I know that I have always known. Amen? What people need is to be told a way out. A word of encouragement.  Is it more important to be right or to be reconciled? And here is our grammar lesson for today. In the verse restore is written in what they call the "continuous present" tense. It means the restoration is ongoing. It doesn't have a set time for conclusion. Amen?

You know it may all get very frustrating at times. No, it DOES get frustrating at times. Even to the point of numbness and discouragement.I can vouch for that.You want to quit fighting and quit believing. Amen? You just don't want to deal with it any longer. That's a good time to get alone with God and remind yourself(or allow Him to remind you) of how many times He has been merciful and compassionate towards you and yours.Allow Him to minister to you and recharge your batteries. The battle is always there. There's no time limit.

1  Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. 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.
Psalms 61:1-2 (NASB)

God Bless

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Queen Mother                                                            1-2-15

Hebrews 6:4-6 (NASB) 4  For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
5  and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
6  and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

One source says it is the most debated scripture in the Bible. Another says if it is not #1 it is a nose length from it. In any case there is much disagreement that swirls around this passage of scripture. I have read, I don't know how many interpretations of this passage looking for one that would satisfy my inquiring mind. Like the passage on the Unpardonable Sin,it was fruitless until a few years back one finally made sense to me. My dilemma for years was this, if Jesus forgave all our sin, then why was there one that He didn't forgive? If we had eternal life, then how could we lose it? Well, a few years ago I found one that made sense to me. I have read and heard many since, but this is the only one that makes any sense to me,everything considered. All others, when placed under the scrutiny of context and intent, fall short.  There is disagreement in the first two verses as to whom the author is writing about.The majority opinion, which is rock solid from where I stand, is that these are believers.There is an opinion that states that the subjects here are people who have been introduced to Jesus but did not accept Him. But, the word "tasted " among others dispels that notion. That word is the same word used to describe Jesus' tasting of death for all sinners. The argument is that this word is describing "a nibbling around the edges" type of experience that these folks had partaken of. A professing Christian if there is such a thing. But the scripture itself uses words that denote a deep and valid experience. Enlightened, tasted, partaken all point to someone who has a true relationship with the Lord Jesus. Also, note the past tense is used here, especially in the phrase,"have been made partakers." I believe that we will be safe in assuming that these are true believers being described here. O. K. if that is settled let's move on to vs. 6. 

To understand the emphasis of vs.6 you must go back to the last part of Chapter 5. Look at this.

Hebrews 5:11-12 (NASB) 11  Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
12  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

Now to Chapter 6.

Hebrews 6:1-2 (NASB) 1  Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
2  of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

"...repentance from dead works..of faith toward God..." are phrases that speak to the author's intent. The first exhorting believers to turn from the Levitical system, the second being the result of turning to the Messiah. Notice that the writer describes these doctrines as "elementary" further supporting the stance that the primary focus of the entire book is one of growing in maturity.       

The author here is exhorting this community to move on into spiritual maturity, but is frustrated with them because they have become "dull of hearing." Now here is where it gets a little tricky. Vs.4-6 is one sentence and all those phrases have a modifying adverb that reads "once for all" such as ".....those who have once for all been enlightened...." It is shortened for English readers, but it extends to all the characteristics. In Chapter 10:32 the same idea about enlightening is used speaking to salvation. That adverb means that once something is genuinely possessed it remains as a permanent possession. This is a community of Jewish believers who are saved once for all, they have become spiritually dull, and because of this, they are about to make a life changing mistake.However, it doesn't have anything to do with losing one's salvation. If we look at vs. 6 we see those words "fall away." Some translations including mine, add a "if they" or "then have" to the text. That is a translation addition to make better sense to English readers. It isn't in the original. Because of this, some say that the author is presenting a hypothetical situation to ease the interpretation problems. But, that simply isn't the case. This is a real sin that this community is on the brink of committing with disastrous consequences. This "once for all" falling away presents problems for teaching that salvation can be lost. The scripture goes on to say that once committed there is no turning back. Repentance is impossible. If that is the case then once salvation is rejected, it is unreliable.If we for whatever reason have rejected salvation, no available repentance is possible. That doesn't mesh with human experience nor is it in harmony with this chapter and book. In addition it flies in the face of Jesus's completed work on Calvary. Again trying to make sense to English readers, most translations put the word "impossible" in the second clause of vs.6, while in the original it is at the beginning of the long sentence up in vs.4. This has resulted in an incorrect reading that sounds like it is impossible to renew someone to salvation repentance. What the author is trying to convey is that once this particular sin, this" falling away" is committed there will be no turning back. No chance to repent or change their mind to avoid the consequences. Like the Wilderness Generation once God judged their lack of faith at Kadesh-Barnea they could not repent. They tried. Remember what they did when they realized their mistake? They went out the next morning to conquer the land and were soundly defeated at Ai. Judgment had been set and they wondered the wilderness until that generation over the age of twenty died out. What is the common element here? Well, if we take the warning passages that talk about drifting away(chap.2) from trust in Jesus, if we look at the rebellion of doubt and lack of faith in their ancestors generation(chap.3-4), if we take into account that the WHOLE book of Hebrews is trying to prove that Jesus is superior in every way to angels, Moses, the Leviticus Priesthood, the animal sacrifices, we come to this conclusion that the warnings passages are warning against the failure to walk in faith. Now a failure to walk in faith can come packaged in many ways and produce differing results. In our world it might mean the loss of a blessing or a rebuke from God. In the accounts in Hebrews it took the form of willful disobedience and was immediately judged with loss of blessing and physical life; but, in no case was a loss of salvation and eternal life in view. If this Jewish community, in an attempt to escape persecution, turns away from Jesus and back to the Mosaic Law they will be stuck with their plight.Their fate on this earth is sealed. The "falling away" is an irrevocable and decisive sin that once committed, while it can be forgiven, it cannot be undone. While unknown to these readers, national Israel at the time of this writing,(Hebrews) has already come under judgment. They do not know it yet, but when the leadership in Jerusalem rejected the Messiah by committing the unpardonable sin, judgment was set on that generation.

 Matthew 23:35-36 (NASB) 35  so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36  "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Because the Jews willfully failed to accept their Messiah, all righteous blood from the beginning to their day fell to them. Remember at the trial they said to let Jesus blood be on their heads. And so it was. That was the unpardonable sin and that sin had to be and was judged. It was decisive and irrevocable.It was the same at Kadesh-Barnea and it will be the same for this particular community of believers in Hebrews. It is not unforgivable, no,no they won't lose their salvation. As mentioned before, did Moses lose his salvation,Or Aaron and Miriam?  They were judged in he wilderness and died there but in no way did they miss heaven. Did individuals or the nation of Israel lose their spiritual life after the rejection of their Messiah? Nope. Any individual who believed made heaven their home;and, National Israel is and will be a major player in God's plan for the Kingdom Age. BUT, that generation was judged. How? Just a few short years after Jesus left us and while the ink was barely dry on the Book of Hebrews, a Jewish rebellion broke out in Jerusalem against Rome. In 70A.D. Rome invaded Jerusalem and the rest is history. The falling away talked about was a failure to walk in the faith and revealed knowledge of God. While any and every sin has been forgiven through the finished work of the Lord Jesus, some sins produce irrevocable consequences, even unto physical death. Remember what I said a couple weeks back...we don't have a sin problem anymore, we have a belief problem. I'll end with this side note. In 70A.D. or actually before a community of Jews living in Jerusalem, left Jerusalem and resettled in what is now Jordan or Transjordan, to a community called Pella. This is a documented historical fact attested to in many ancient writings. No one knows if it was the "Hebrews" but it makes a lot of sense doesn't it? At Pella they sat out the total destruction of Jerusalem while 1.1 million of their brethren suffered annihilation at the hands of the Romans. Very shortly afterward, the Jewish nation of Israel ceased to exist and what was left of the Jewish people were dispersed all over the world for some 1900 years. Meanwhile the Jewish community that obeyed God,didn't turn back to the Levitical System and stay in Jerusalem lived out their lives in relative peace.
Folks the Lord Jesus did not offer Himself on Calvary only to leave His brothers and sisters, you and me, hanging in the wind and responsible for our spiritual well being. Conditional security promotes this. It imagines that the Cross isn't enough to secure our complete salvation. More dangerously it appeals to our flesh by introducing human merit into the equation. By teaching that we must do something,or believe a certain way, we are saying to God that we have our own righteousness before Him. If we insist upon requiring ANY merit before God, whether it concerns obtaining salvation or maintaining salvation, then we have introduced works of the flesh and God clearly states that NO FLESH will glory in His Presence. This study has only scratched the surface of the wealth of information that is out there readily available for anyone that is interested. See you next week.

 Psalm 29:1 (NASB) 1
 Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

God Bless