Friday, April 24, 2015

Givers and Takers                                                                         04-24-15

Proverbs 11:24 (NASB) 24  There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.

As the Moody Blues once said, "it's a question of balance isn't it." Well, let me add this, not only is it a question of balance,'s a mystery. "What are you ranting about Ronnie?" "What? Why  God's economic program of course." Let me once again share this anecdote with you.

When I was driving on the road, one day while in the passenger seat with my good buddy, Scott Edgin was driving, we were marvelling at the row upon row, acre upon acre, MILE UPON MILE, of corn. It went on forever. And this was but a small patch of Indiana and Illinois that we were looking at. It was mind boggling. One day while in the passenger seat God spoke this truth to my heart. "There's enough for everyone. I designed it that way. It was only when man put a price tag on it, that things went haywire."

That simple fact, doggedly pursued by man in his greed, over the centuries is why today, we speak in terms of "class warfare, scarcity, and the 1%'ers on and on and on. Can I get an amen? At any rate here's my take.

Look at the title of the message. We all fall into one of those two categories don't we? Either we are givers or we are takers. And there is nothing wrong with either. That is the way it is designed to work. It's like Paul said in 2nd Corinthians, there must be an equality. 

2 Corinthians 8:13-15 (NASB) 13  For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality—
14  at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality;
15  as it is written, "HE WHO gathered MUCH DID NOT HAVE TOO MUCH, AND HE WHO gathered LITTLE HAD NO LACK."

When I have an abundance, I give to supply your need, and vice versa.As long as we are maintaining that balance in our lives, the plan works. We run into problems when we skew God's plan. And let me say this, not only to you, but for my sake as well. We rarely get out of balance on the giving side. You hearin  ' me?

Listen, the only people who truly know if you and I are givers is you and I..... and God. Now this is for another time but let me say this here and now.....we can be tithers but not really be givers. Maybe I will take that up at a later date, not now. Anyway, where was I?

I remember my mother on any number of occasions in her life, telling me how, because of her tithing, God had miraculously sustained her those many years after my stepfather died. She would recount story after story(remind me sometime to tell you about how God moved the Social Security Administration on Memaw's behalf) of God's provision in her times of need. She didn't know HOW He did it, HE JUST DID IT!....TIME AFTER TIME AFTER TIME!! But, she was quick to add that it was because of her TITHING AND GIVING that God moved in her situations.

That's the mystery isn't it? Look at the above verse again.

 Proverbs 11:24 (NASB) 24  There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.

It doesn't make sense does it? You SCATTER and yet increase.

Scatter- "to throw loosely about; distribute at irregular intervals: to scatter seeds.

Now get this. Back in King Solomon's day, seed was money to most. Israel was a farming community. Your seed was precious, because without it, you couldn't grow any crops to eat and to trade with others for the stuff you needed. With that noted, get this picture of Israel's version of Johnny Appleseed planting his crops. He's walking along scattering his seed. Yes, he's planting his ground, but, just to invoke God he plants a little of his seed into his neighbors field. He's throwing it loosely about. You see him doing that and you think "well, that's just plain stupid! Johnny's 
 giving some of his seed to his neighbor. He shouldn't do that, he needs ALL of his seed for him and his own."

Ahh....but wait a minute. Maybe, just maybe, Johnny knows something you and I don't. Maybe he has read that above verse and decides that God knows what He is talking about. And low and behold, as time goes on, through good times and bad, up and down when others are experiencing hardship and famine, ol' Johnny is getting by. He always seems to have enough....and some left over for his neighbors if they are in need. You look at it and you don't know exactly HOW Johnny does it. He didn't win the lottery. His rich uncle didn't die and leave him a fortune(although God will do that and He actually does do it many times) But, somehow Johnny is always there with a helping hand if we need it. THAT, brothers and sisters is the mystery of God. That is the secret of giving of your seed to others.

Don't ask me how. It can take as many forms as God is willing to perform. An unexpected windfall.  A great deal or deals. Miraculously multiplying your seed(dollars to you and me) Who knows how God will do it. All that matters is that He DOES it!!

Now, you don't have to be a giver. No, God isn't going to beat you or send you to hell if you don't give. Nope. However, if you choose to keep and eat all of your seed, you are placing yourself outside of God's boundaries for blessing. Once again, look at the last part of that verse. It contains the "flip side" of God's economic policy.

" who withholds what is justly due........results only in want"

Once again it is a mystery. You keep everything to yourself and try and hold onto all of it, and it will sprout wings and fly away. Don't ask me why. I don't know. It is God's economics not mine. It doesn't make any natural sense, but let me ask a question. How's our current economic wisdom working for you?

Folks, God doesn't want your's or my money. HE DOESN'T NEED IT. If we don't follow His plan and become givers, He will find others who will. It will be our loss, not God's. He is going to work His will in this earth with or without our help. He wants to bless us materially and His way of doing that is for us to become givers. Not only that, He wants to dazzle us with the infinite number of ways that He can bless and prosper us. It's a mystery and that's the way God likes it. Amen and Amen. 
  Psalm 126:1-6 (NASB) 1
 When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion, We were like those who dream.
2  Then our mouth was filled with laughter And our tongue with joyful shouting; Then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
3  The LORD has done great things for us; We are glad.
4  Restore our captivity, O LORD, As the streams in the South.
5  Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
6  He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

God Bless

Friday, April 17, 2015

Perspective                                                                                    04-17-15

Hebrews 13:8 (NASB) 8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Have you heard? What Ronnie? There's a famine in the land. Yes, that's right, a famine. Wait just a sec... more on that a little later in the program. I recently finished a book about the history of these United States.  (as my wife Shelley grimaces in pain at the mention of history) lol. Where was I, oh yes the book. A book about our country, written by someone whom, we here in Dixie, would likely label a Communist. Suffice it to say he is NOT of the Conservative bent.  An eye opening account, historically accurate( I did scores of research inquiring into this author's factual accuracy) that radically differs from what I was taught in school. While being historically accurate, his conclusions spring from his perspective of history. I am now reading another history book, that is also factually accurate, that I am certain will arrive at different conclusions than those of the aforementioned author.

Why? Because of their differing perspectives. They write from incompatible points of view. Their perspectives of our world collide with each other. Along those same lines, I talked with my buddy this week past concerning a Christian book that we had both read many (30+) years ago. A simply written, yet profound story of submission and trust in God. "A Tale of Three Kings" is well worth the price if you are interested. At any rate, we spoke about this book's relevance to our lives today AND how our PERSPECTIVE of it's truths had changed for us over the past 30 years.

Listening to the bunkum and humbug of today's political leaders, it is difficult, if not nigh impossible to get to the truth. Everybody has the answer. Nobody has the answer. It's all a matter of perspective. That might also be said about the social, religious and church environs in our present world. As Marvin Gaye sang many years ago, "Make me wanna holler, throw up both my hands.."
Remember that one?  Anyway, with all the buzz surrounding us, all the competing points of view, where do we turn?... How should we then live? Where or from whom can I find THE TRUTH!!?? Hear me out.

We live in a world that covets our attention. It has a never ending appetite for our time. Job, technology, the list goes on and on. Diversion is the catch word of our society. Problem is, this is not mere coincidence. It is orchestrated with one purpose in mind. To keep us, you and me, from spending time with God.  Guess what? It seems to be working.  Let me say something here.There's a famine in the land.

 I scanned an article recently that stated the American Church a.k.a. the American Christian was in most cases Biblically illiterate. People can't apply God's principles to their lives because they don't know what God's Word says. It likened this lack of knowledge to a famine. We as Christians in this country are literally starving ourselves spiritually to death. The article went on to say that 43% of those  Christians polled could not name the first five(5) Books of the Bible. Very interesting. It is on the internet if you want to check it out.

Hosea 4:6 (NASB) 6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Brothers and sisters here is my point today. Every single one of us have issues in our lives. We have problems, struggles, and attacks from every imaginable angle. And there are some things in each of our lives that only God can deal with. You can't get the answer from reading this blog. You can't get the answer from your Pastor, be it an unknown Man of God or Billy Graham. All they can give you is advice based on their PERSPECTIVE. Their are issues that only GOD has the answer for. But, to get that answer, we must first get alone with God. We must read His Word. We must let Him speak to our hearts through His Word and through talking to Him. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO GAIN GOD'S PERSPECTIVE ON THOSE PROBLEMS THAT BESET AND HARASS US!!

Look at Hebrews again.

Hebrews 13:7-8 (NASB) 7  Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

You see, the preceding verse talks about following and imitating those who led you to the Lord. Those men and women who took you and I under their spiritual wings and fed and nurtured us when we were babes in Christ. We are to follow their examples and imitate them. BUT, then comes vs.8. Even with all those Godly examples placed in our lives, their advice and leading is tempered with their own perspective of things. It is well intentioned and probably is seasoned with truth. But, in the final analysis it is still HUMAN wisdom. It is rife with HUMAN perspective. We all have problems and needs that go far beyond the solutions that kind of wisdom provides, as good and sincere as it is.  We need God's point of view. If we are in need of pure, unadulterated truth, our only safe haven is in the Lord Jesus Christ. He, and He alone can satisfy the needs of our soul. These days are getting darker and darker. The day is coming when my "perspective" isn't going to be able to help you. Ditto for me. You hearin' me here? Get alone with God.

  Psalm 119:11 (NASB) 11  Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

God Bless    



Friday, April 10, 2015

Don't Stop                                                                                04-10-15

Mark 4:26-27 (NASB) 26  And He was saying, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil;
27  and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know.

A brief thought this evening. You never know who is listening or watching do you? My grandson came up from Georgia this week. It was a short visit, however we were able to get together at the house and cookout. He had to go back that very night due to the weather threat and whatnot. So, it was a couple of hours of catching up on what been going on since we last saw him. We had dinner and sat around  and just chewed the fat,(or in Aaron's case the deer meat) for a couple of hours, then just as quickly time for him to go rolled around.

Shelley and I rode him back down to his grandparents. On the way we talked hastily about soccer,school, music and whatnot. Just touching all the bases as time permitted. Somewhere down the road my grandson turned around and remarked "oh yeah, I read your blog. It's pretty good." Well, I was taken aback. Surprised is a better word. Trust me....I had no inkling that my 16 year old grandson, who lives in Atlanta, would ever take the time to read his out of touch grandfather's weekly blog. But, so he did.

As I sat in the back seat listening to"Avenged Sevenfold" that right Jeremy? God spoke those words to me. "You never know." We never know when that insignificant something that we attempt to do for God actually might see the light of day.Someone might take the time to read or listen, and it might be "pretty good." That's the nature of serving God. It is not in our great oratory or our wonderful cause. It is not in our sacrifice. As a matter of fact it isn't in ANYTHING that we do is it? No, no. Look at the above verse again.

   Mark 4:26-27 (NASB) 26  And He was saying, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil;
27  and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know.

All we are to do is sow the seed. Plant it. The rest is out of our hands. More than that, it is beyond our ability. We don't know how or when or with whom God will choose to work. Our responsibility is to plant and leave the rest up to God. 

1 Corinthians 3:6 (NASB) 6  I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
What you and I do for God may to us and the world appear shallow and lifeless. But, if we are laboring for the Lord, you can bet your last dollar that He has a purpose for it. It may seem light and insignificant to all around. But, in the eternal regions it carries a certain amount of weight. And no matter how small it seems, if it is of and for God, it will not return void. Don't stop. You never know who is listening.

Psalm 18:49 (NASB) 49  Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O LORD, And I will sing praises to Your name.

God Bless

Friday, April 3, 2015

Be Reconciled !                                                                             04-03-15

Matthew 5:24 (NASB) 24  leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

I am not a devotional person. I have never read a devotional in my life. That being said, a couple of weeks ago I purchased my first devotional and will read it through for a year. So, here I am this morning, reading the devotional for the day. It was good and I closed it up and started to move on. Next thing I knew I had knocked the book off the table. So I bent down to pick it up and noticed it was turned to a page in January. I had not read that part of the book as I had not purchased the book until March. I glanced at the page and noticed in big black words the title"Be Reconciled!" It caught my attention and I read the entire daily devotion. It spoke mightily to my heart. In about an hour and a half, we will usher in as a memorial, the day that the greatest act of reconciliation in human history began to unfold. Passover is my favorite Jewish Holiday. The feast is dripping with symbolism and typology. To watch or read a Passover service just blows my mind because of the way Jesus is presented and yet He remains hidden to the Jewish nation as a whole by and large. At any rate, this devotional hit the mark for me today. As I thought about the price that my Lord and King paid on this day some 2000 + years ago for my RECONCILIATION! I will reprint(or type lol) that article verbatim here today. I hope that this daily devotional ministers to you as much as it did to me.It is from the "Experiencing God Day By Day" devotional, dated January 17.

                                                       Be Reconciled!

It is useless to give offerings to God while you are at enmity with your brother.Jesus said that His followers should be reconciled with anyone who has something against them. The world seeks reconciliation on limited terms.Christians are to be reconciled, whatever it takes.

You say, "But you don't know how deeply he hurt me! It's unreasonable to ask me to restore our relationship." Or," I tried but she would not be appeased." Jesus did not include an exception clause for our reconciliation. If the person is an enemy, Jesus said to love him(Matt.5:44) If he persecutes you, you are to pray for him(v.44)  If she publicly humiliates you, you are not to retaliate(v.39) If someone takes advantage of you, you are to give even more than he asks(v41) The world preaches"Assert yourself." Jesus taught, "Deny yourself." The world warns that you will be constantly exploited. Jesus' concern was not that His disciples be treated fairly but that they show unconditional love to others regardless of how they are treated. Men spat upon Jesus and nailed Him to a cross. His response was our model: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"(Luke 23:34)

If there were ever a command that is constantly disobeyed,it is this mandate to be reconciled.We comfort ourselves with the thought, "God Knows that I tried to make things right, but my enemy refused." God's Word does not say "Try to be reconciled," but "Be reconciled." Is there someone with whom you need to make peace? Then do what God tells you to do.

God Bless