Friday, June 26, 2015

Feel Free

Feel Free                                                  06-26-15

Acts 4:12 (ESV) 12  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Just a few thoughts and observations from my heart today. Feel free to agree. Feel free to disagree.You are free to do either or both.

How do I feel today? Well, except for dealing with a summer cold, and pondering the "decision" that came down, about the same way I feel every day. It's not so much a feeling of surprise. I have none at present. The Court's decision only ratifies the trend this nation has taken for the past many years. No, I am not surprised in the least.

A sense of fear? No. Apprehension? No. Holy Righteousness? Not at all. That oftentimes evolves into self righteousness does it not? No...what I really feel in my heart is resignation. Let me be quick to add this. Not a resignation that translates into despair or frustration, not in the least. It's a  sense of resignation knowing that the die has finally been cast; and, we the people of these United States, have now directly placed our future as a nation into the Hand of God. We have, with  a sense of finality and rebellion aforethought, wagged a feeble finger in the face of the God of ALL creation.  My heart and soul echoes this verse:

Psalm 57:1 (ESV) 1
 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

Here in a nutshell is my take.


If God chooses to stay His hand of Judgment, then I will praise and thank Him for His mercy and grace upon this once great nation. On the other hand,if the cup of our iniquity has reached the tipping point, and He chooses to judge this nation, then I will take refuge in His shadow,"...till the storms of destruction  pass by." A second sentiment. Look at this.

Proverbs 24:10-12 (ESV) 10  If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
11  Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12  If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?

I had always read these verses separately. Actually ,these three verses are one continuous thought. This is very relevant for us today. It speaks to indifference. This decision  today is just the most recent of a long line of decisions where a vocal, committed, and, militant minority has persevered and eventually forced their view on a distracted and largely indifferent majority. This scenario has played and replayed itself repeatedly in this country over the last 50 years or so.Probably longer.

So, feel free. What are you saying Ronnie? Just this. We, this author included, have felt free to seek contentment and happiness in many ways in years past. We have, this author included, felt free to search for peace, happiness, contentment in the many diversions and perversions that this world has to offer. Or maybe it is just me.

Wealth, power, sex, fame, just to name a few are all within our grasp if we pursue them diligently enough. And, if you are like me, you have flirted with one or more in years past.



There's always the but isn't there? They(the diversions, sins) are all fleeting. They are, as the Bible says "for a season." Oh yeah it's fun, BUT, as we have all experienced, there is a price to pay. Listen, I speak from the perspective of a "sixties something" man. The allure of the world has a much different view to "twenty and thirty somethings." I understand that completely. All I am saying is this. You and I, no matter where we are on life's path,will be FAR ahead of the game if we realize this one truth.

There is NO salvation, NO happiness, NO peace, NO contentment, NO THING  outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the great bumper sticker states

No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace.

That about covers it.   

Psalm 58:1-2 (ESV) 1
 Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the children of man uprightly?
2  No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth.

God Bless


Friday, June 19, 2015

Thanksgiving                                                    06-19-15

Psalm 116:17 (ESV) 17  I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

Philippians 4:6 (ESV) 6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

There's a common thread here isn't there? I am not appealing to the legalistic nature here, but, it seems that there is a certain inward posture that we, as God's children are encouraged to cultivate, don't you agree? Without getting off point, take a look at Cain and Able next chance you get. God most certainly did respect Able's sacrifice(approach) above that of his brother.

Jesus Himself said there was a certain way to the Father didn't He? As a point of fact, He narrowly qualified His words by stating that indeed there was only ONE way to the Father. Through Him ALONE. The Bible then goes beyond salvation and instructs us that we should pray a certain In Jesus Name. You gettin my drift?

Keeping the above in mind, as I sat out on the deck this afternoon, soaking in the warm ,no HOT rays, I took notice of how GOOD it felt. Yes Shelley, my dear wife, hot is good, hot is very good! (sorry) Anyway, I remarked rather offhandedly to the Lord how good the sun felt. Without any blinding light, or rumbling thunder, He matter of factly responded to me"Well, why don't you thank me for it?" And I did just that.

Then something odd happened. As I was thanking the Lord for the sunshine, all sorts of things started crossing my mind's eye. Things that God had done for me personally and for those close to me. All of a sudden, I was thanking God for the many blessings He had sent my way. A feeling of gratefulness filled me up on the inside. That word thanksgiving stuck in my heart and I had my message.

So, as I am sitting there musing on what I will say, the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart and tells me that there is a practical benefit in approaching God with a heart of thanksgiving. And He used an episode from a devotional that I had read recently. It's an interesting take.

 Acts 12:15 (ESV) 15  They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!”
Acts 12:16 (ESV) 16  But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.
A little background is in order. Peter had been imprisoned. While in prison the church was praying for him. The Bible says "earnest prayer" was being made for him. And here now is the point. Although the church was praying, praying earnestly,they weren't really believing or a better word EXPECTING God to answer their prayer.

You see they were gathered to pray for Peter's release from prison, but, when he shows up at the door they don't believe it's him. They are praying hard but do they  really expect God to answer? even when the answer is knocking on the door?That's much the same way with us isn't it. Many times we pray but we don't expect. Many times God answers, not because of our faith but because of His grace.

But,that's like what happened to me today on my deck. When I began thanking God for all he had done, it changed my insides. Not only did I have an inward sense of gratefulness, but, my faith was bolstered. When I was being reminded of all the blessings and answered prayer that God had bestowed upon me, I was encouraged. When I stopped and stilled my heart and mind on what God had already done for me, it gave me an inward peace. He's got my back.

No, He doesn't want us to ritualize our prayer time with "I gotta do this and I gotta do that." No,no. What He wants ,it seems to me, is for us to develop an INWARD attitude of thankfulness. Then we don't have to"make it happen." It just naturally flows from our hearts. Take some time to thank God for what He has done. You'll be amazed at how it makes you feel. Not only that it will give you a sense of expectancy when you remind yourself of how much God has done for you. Amen!    

Psalm 107:22 (ESV) 22  And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

God Bless


Friday, June 12, 2015

On Being A Prophet                06-12-15

57 And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, " A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household."
Matt 13:56-57 (NASB)

. 4 Jesus said to them, " A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household."
Mark 6:3-4 (NASB)

44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
John 4:44 (NASB)

Harbinger, Shemitah.

I've been engrossed in some reading this week about prophetic signs,wonders and whatnot. No matter the opinion of the author's interpretation, the content presented is compelling; no, it is spellbinding, bordering on the unbelievable. All historical fact. Hard to turn a deaf ear, or a blind eye to the material presented. Notwithstanding all that, the above verse(verses) came to mind last P.M.

Jesus was stressing a point here don't you think? This point in time is mentioned in three of the four Gospels. What entered my mind as I read the accounts was a question of sorts. What was it that prophets have in common? Was it detailed foresight about the future? Not really. Was, or is it a specific gift of insight into an individual or individual's life? The "anointing" to be able to speak into someone's life? No, I don't think so. Well,what is it then?


How's that again?


Get the whole picture here. Let's look back at the accounts in Matthew. It's almost identical in Mark.

53  When Jesus had finished these parables, He departed from there. 54  He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" 57 And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, " A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household."
Matt 13:53-57 (NASB)

Here is Jesus, the Son of God, returning to His hometown. He is returning from a successful and popular revival tour; and, once more in Nazareth, He sets about teaching His lifelong  friends and neighbors. What an honor! What an unbelievable blessing of God just to be counted among those fortunate enough to be at that meeting! Can you imagine? "Where you going?" "Oh, I'm going to church tonight! Jesus, the Son of God is going to be preaching a weekend revival!!"  PTL!!!



that's not quite the way it happened is it?

 No, .....not quite.

You see, the problem then, much as it is today, is this. These folk in Nazareth KNEW Jesus. They had lived with Him. They had worked with Him. They had grown up with Him. They had seen Him fall down and scrape His knee. While growing up He probably did some things that irritated certain folk. And now, here He is...He's doing what?... proclaiming Himself to be the promised Messiah?! He has all this supposed wisdom. And where is He getting the power and authority to do all these mighty works? And then,..... wait for it...... after all this,... comes the capper.

 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"
Matt 13:54-56 (NASB)

"Wait a minute here.(I can here them now) What are you folks doing here? This is Jesus. Mary and Joseph's boy. I've known Him all my life, I remember how He was; and, I can tell you this for sure, He's no Messiah!!"

"And they took offense at Him."

 Why you ask? Because they KNEW Him. Same with us isn't it? Except, we can't lay claim to being the Son of God can we? Listen, if Jesus, the Son of God,was treated that way, how should we then believe that we are going to be treated?

You see, it is those that are around us the most, that understand us the least. Why? Because they KNOW us. They know that we are imperfect. They are all too aware of our failings and shortcomings. They,more than others, see our sin. Who are we to be telling them about Jesus?!! Who do we think we are? Has this ever happened to you? Take heart. You are in good company.

Just like the prophets of old, just like the Son of God Himself, we are misunderstood, and in many cases, flat out rejected. And, let us be very careful, if we are not prudent, we ourselves can join the circle of the offended and the critic, as opposed to being the criticized. Just sayin.'

9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.
Psalms 41:9 (NASB)

God Bless


Friday, June 5, 2015

I'd Rather Fight Than Switch         06-05-15

22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
Romans 7:22-23 (NASB)

You have to go back a bit to appreciate the title this PM. It's the advertising slogan for a cigarette commercial. The brand was Tareyton.Remember those? Sweet smell is what I remember about them. I don't know if they are still around, at any rate, I will try and make some sense of it all. smile.

I have read the theological arguments for the above verses. Actually, for the whole seventh chapter of Romans. The argument is whether Paul is writing to a believer or a non believer. Sound arguments on both sides. Leaving that right there, I believe it was written to a believer. Why? you may or may not ask. Just this.. those verses have been my PERSONAL experience, untold times, during  my walk with the Lord. How so, Ronnie?

Here's my take.

 Circumstances oft times arise in our lives that require a difficult decision. Many times there may be a perceived or so called "grey area" that enters into our decision making process.  Or, many times, God will speak to our hearts to do something that seems a little off the wall and we scratch our heads and say "huh??" This is where the above verses become most appropriate don't they?

Yesterday, I sat out on my deck pondering, meditating blah, blah, blah, on what course of action that I should take concerning a circumstance. You see, God and His word were clear on what I should do; but, I didn't want to do it. Not that it was all that painful or difficult, it wasn't. I just didn't want to do it. Ya feelin' this or is it only me?

As I sat there, I allowed my mind to fashion all manner of VALID, SENSIBLE, even COMPELLING arguments for NOT doing what my heart(God) was instructing me to do. You see when God first confronted me with His will, it was a good thing. It felt right and I was nodding my head in agreement, you know how it goes don't you? Then, I started THINKING BOUT IT! That's the battle isn't it? In this Christian walk, we are faced with choices aren't we?

Sometimes it is the world system, the enemy of our souls that wage war against our minds and hearts. Yes that's very true.. Ah....but I believe most times it is us, no, it is our FLESH that assaults our souls.

You see we make VALID, SENSIBLE, even COMPELLING arguments in our minds and call it reasonable. It make GOOD SENSE to disregard that quickening in our hearts. "It wasn't God, it was me." That sound familiar? We call it prudent or reasonable.

God calls it disobedience.

You see folks sometimes it is a fight to "do it God's way" isn't it? Trust me I know. Look at this.

 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
2 Cor 10:5 (NASB)

Along with verses on anointing, this is one of the most abused and misused scriptures in the Word Of God. We use it as a punchline. We bandy it about,quoting it as if it were a light or easy thing. We assume authority that was never ours to begin with(that authority resides with God) to destroy speculations or as the KJV says "casting down imaginations."

"Oh yeah, I'm just gonna go out there and destroy all those thoughts and imaginations. I'm gonna bind the devil and stomp on his head." Ever hear that? That's well and good, but,..... BUT, it isn't as easy as some would have you believe is it? Look at the preceding verse.

4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
2 Cor 10:3-4 (NASB)

Weapons, warfare, fortresses.... sounds like a battle to me. No stroll in the meadow as far as I can tell.
 How about you?

Brothers and sisters, as I write this, I am reminded of the many stories about people who have been drowning. You know the story. A person gets into deep water and gets in trouble. When the lifeguard arrives, the person is in such a panic that he FIGHTS the one who is trying to save him.

That's many times the way we deal with the leading of the Holy Spirit isn't it? All God is wanting from us is to yield to His direction.

Yield-"to give place or preference"

He doesn't ask us to initiate some great task or undertaking. He even tells us that we are powerless in our own strength to accomplish anything for Him or us. All He wants us to do is to yield to His will. To simply give place to His direction. 

The reasons for not doing that are many and varied. They are sensible, compelling and reasonable. They scream at us to use some "common sense."

However, if we can just give place to that leading, that "voice" behind us saying "this is the way." Then we will be ahead of the game.

. 21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, " This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left.
Isaiah 30:20-21 (NASB)

Don't fight, just switch.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 (NASB)

God Bless