Friday, July 31, 2015

Back To Jerusalem                                                   07-31-15

Psalm 86:10 (ESV) 10  For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

He doesn't really need us does He? Who's that Ronnie? Why, God of course. He ALONE is God. A couple of observations this week. Hopefully we, and most certainly I can learn to apply the truth of the above verse to my(our) lives.Sometimes I am tempted to dethrone God in my thinking; especially as it involves His Sovereignty. As I look and listen to the torrent of bad stuff that is happening in the world, I am prone to think that evil is winning. 

No, not ultimately. I, too have read the end of the Book; and, I too KNOW that we are, in the end, on the WINNING side! No, it's not the ultimate outcome I debate in my mind, but the CURRENT state of affairs that is so troublesome. I often think that for my generation, we have given up and lost the battle. But, God reminded me this week, that is not the case.

I saw a post on Facebook this week about the "Back To Jerusalem" movement. I searched a little further and found a couple of articles written by British residents in China at the time of the beginning. A very brief history. It seems that early on in 20th century China, a couple of missionaries were fasting and praying for direction. God gave them a vision to evangelize the countries along the "Silk Road," an ancient trade route linking China to the Middle East. Interestingly the vision was specific as to the targeted people. It ran through countries with large Buddhist and Hindu populations, but according to the missionaries they were to  take the Gospel to the muslims and Jew in those countries all the way to Jerusalem.

Time will not permit me to go into greater detail, but this movement grew gaining tens of thousands of Christians in these countries. They asked for no financial support, believing God for their provision. They also became very Pro-Israel in their political thinking; not for reasons concerning this world, but to explain how it would be in the next. Let me end this history with a quote from 1949 by a British missionary in China. Bear with me, it is lengthy, but I have a point.

"The thing that has impressed me the most has been the strange, unaccountable urge of a number of different Christians to press forward in faith, taking the Gospel towards the west. I know of at least five different groups, quite unconnected with each other who have left their homes in east China and gone forth leaving practically everything behind them to the west........It seems like a movement of the Spirit which is irresistible. The striking thing is that they are disconnected, and in most cases seem to know nothing about each other."

It's a fascinating story. Go read about it, if you are interested.

You see, brothers and sisters God truly is sovereign. He's going to "geterdun." One wonders if the current ascendancy of China onto the world scene is due at least in part, to the Jesus movement in that Communist land. Who knows?

One also wonders if this Chinese phenomenon is due to God foreseeing the decline of the West( see United States, Europe etc.,)

I read this in my devotional this week. "God's purposes do not depend on us. He has limitless ways to accomplish His will. The same God who led Moses could also use Joshua. If NO ONE(caps mine) were willing to serve Him, the Lord would accomplish His work by His own divine power......The question is this: Will we be a part of God's activity, or will He find someone else. Service to the Lord is an honor God bestows on us, not a favor we do for God."

God's going to be glorified. It matters not if the United States retains God in it's national consciousness or not. GOD IS GOING TO BE GLORIFIED.

It matters not whether I or anyone else retains God in their individual lives. GOD IS GOING TO BE GLORIFIED!

Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV)        9  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God reminded this author this week that indeed evil is not winning. Not ultimately, not currently. It looks very dark at times to this author. BUT, BUT I don't have God's view do I? From where I sit, it at times is bleak. God ,on the other hand, is perched far above the madding crowd. We, as Christians have a higher call. Nationalism, patriotic pride, while good and noble, is not the child of God's highest priority. We gather and march under a banner more pure and noble than even the stars and stripes.

All God wants, it seems to me, is for us to look around at where He is ALREADY working and ask Him if we can join Him. Yield to His leading and try and understand that He truly is calling the shots. He's got our(your's and mine) backs.

 Psalm 72:19 (ESV) 19  Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!

God Bless 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Disclaimers                                                    07-24-15

John 13:13 (ESV) 13  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.

We've all done it haven't we?

Disclaimer- According to Dictionary.Com a disclaimer is a statement, document, or assertion that disclaims responsibility... a disavowal; a denial.  

Ever said or done something that after the fact you attempted to deny or to change your stance on what you said or did. I pray to the Almighty God above that Apple has not asked me to sell my soul in their "terms and conditions" because I have NEVER read the lengthy disclaimer that accompanies the purchasing of an app on the I Phone. I just blindly check the "I accept" block and lumber on. lol. Can I get a witness?

Some reaction this week from some stuff I saw on the tele.

A politico this week past was giving a speech and made this statement. " All lives matter.."  Simple enough and an absolute truth,...right?That statement caused an unexpected negative reaction in the diverse crowd,because they were looking for a more narrow definition of which lives matter.

Now to be sure that simple statement is an absolute truth, for ALL lives REALLY DO MATTER! Amen?! But, sure enough, the next day this same politico, in a televised interview, was apologizing for being so all inclusive in his definition of which lives matter. He did not want to offend those whose sensitivities were scalded by his inclusion of "all" lives. He was posturing for the voting public. He was disavowing his stance for possible votes come election time. He issued a public DISCLAIMER. What a crock!! Please excuse my rant. (My own disclaimer. smile)

As I have mentioned before, I sat out a couple months ago to read some histories of the United States. Well, I came across this statement in the introduction of one of these books. The author said that he was NOT a historian. It was an attempt to disclaim any responsibility if he were found wrong in his view of history. While the book was good reading(if you like history, right Shelley?) he had issued a DISCLAIMER negating his responsibility. Why write a history book if you are not a historian?  

This disavowing or negation of responsibility for statements and actions is pervasive in our culture, especially in the political arena don't you think? Say anything to please the voter who is standing directly in front of you. If it doesn't go as expected, issue a statement disclaiming what you said ;and, then issue another statement explaining what you really meant. Sound or look familiar?

This disavowal of responsibility has crept ,slowly it seems, even into our spiritual structure, as more and more churches attempt to stay "relevant" in our ever changing cultural landscape.

Jesus didn't roll that way did He? Look at that verse again.

John 13:13 (ESV)
13  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.

" You know what guys? You are saying I am your teacher and Lord. And you are absolutely right. FOR SO I AM. " My quotations added.

Not too much backing up in that statement. "Crawdading" as my departed friend Charles used to say. Jesus issued no disclaimers and offered no alternative meanings to anything He ever said. Brothers and sisters there is a political strategy in our world today. It advocates saying anything that will tickle the ear of the listeners whether or not you actually BELIEVE in what you are saying. You can always issue a disclaimer at some point down the line if needed. That is not some conspiracy theorist statement. There have been books written on that subject and some of our most prominent politicians adhere to that theory. That is a fact.

Listen folks, in my personal search for "relevance," as hard as I might look elsewhere, I am continually drawn back to the same source. God Almighty, His Son and His Holy Spirit. A simple, yet profound statement of absolute truth.

Proverbs 23:23 (ESV) 23  Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

 Yes, you can buy truth. Why, you can even buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. No, you don't have to send it in a donation envelope to some movement or cause. Nope. It can't be bought with money.  There's only one currency that is acceptable. As I have said before, you, we ,must spend time alone with The Lord God. We must yield ourselves to Him and seek Him out. No other way. We can choose to listen to the politicos, the media, the authors for our daily dose of truth. Or we can spend a little time with The Lord Jesus. Choice is ours isn't it. Our money is no good with Him.

Psalm 81:13 (ESV) 13  Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!

God Bless   


Friday, July 10, 2015

Something Got A Hold On Me                                   07-10-15

John 3:7-8 (ESV) 7  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
8  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

A short tale today. As I walked out the door yesterday afternoon, headed for my daily walk, I was summoned aside by my neighbor Jim. He was standing at his car talking to Martha, another neighbor. When he saw me he whistled and threw up his hand, waving me to come over. So, I sidetracked over to where they were and Jim with a noticeable excitement in his voice asked me," Did you hear about what Shields did?" I responded "no" and quickly Jim told me that Shields had given some money to yet another neighbor who had been sick and was and is in a pretty tough spot right now.Now it wasn't the fact that Shields had given the money, but it was the undeniable impression that act of kindness had made on Jim. Right after Jim spilled the beans about Shields, he then said this,"Something's got a hold of Shields." To appreciate that statement you need to know a little bit about Shields.

Shields is a character. He has been called many things since I have known him. Eccentric, strange, smart, intolerable on and on. But, the one thing that Shields has never been called is DULL! You know the type don't you?  Since I have been over at this house(my mother's) Shields and I have struck up a good friendship. We have been out to dinner and talk almost every day. A few months ago Shields suffered a rather serious stroke while at his house one morning. It was a bad one and he was very touch and go for a while. He also suffers from extreme diabetes. His legs are, to put it mildly, a mess. 

As Shields began to slowly recover from the effects of the stroke(he is still in the recovery process) but, as he began to recover I noticed something different. Shields was talking about Jesus a lot. Shields was talking about Jesus a WHOLE lot. He began watching Christian television as well as he could; he also is legally blind. The result of an accidental gunshot wound to his left eye many moons ago. Anyway as the days stretched into weeks and months ol' Shields was going through a metamorphosis. Something got a hold on him! Over the past months on more than one occasion, Shields, many times with tears in his eyes, has preached to me about his love for God. He is a sponge for the things of the Lord.

He tells me about his walks early, early in the morning, looking up at the sky and talking to the Lord. He keeps up on the latest newsworthy events wondering how they fit into God's timing and plan. He's seventy five and he's ON FIRE  for God. 


You know something? I haven't seen Shields running up and down the neighborhood pushing himself on everyone, telling them that they need to get right with God. I haven't seen him pointing out the many sins that he notices in everyone else's life. All that I have seen is a humble man recount to me how the Lord JESUS CHRIST has changed his life. And now I have been witness to how the change in this man is affecting the people in his world. Something got a hold on Shields. Amen?

In conclusion, I was reminded this week past of my own salvation experience. On October 8, 1975, I fell off the turnip truck and the Lord God Almighty, through His Son Jesus of Nazareth saved my soul. I wasn't looking for God. I didn't have a need(at least in my eyes) of God. But, on that day, at about 7:30 A.M. sitting in the driver side of my '73 Plymouth 'Cuda with Doug Drucker and Bill Fallin I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior. SOMETHING GOT A HOLD OF ME!! I proclaim unashamedly, it was and still is the single most important event in my life.

Through these past 40 or so years the Lord Jesus has held me tight. I have tried to run. I have followed from a distance. I have tried to crawl away. He still holds me close to His bosom. He refuses to let me go. He saved me not because of but IN SPITE of what I am and what I have done. SOMETHING GOT A HOLD OF ME THAT DAY AND HAS NEVER AND WILL NEVER LET ME GO!

If you don't know Him, get to know Him. If you are feeling like all hope is gone, grab on tight. He's got a hold on you!!

 Psalm 3:5 (ESV) 5  I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.

God Bless

Friday, July 3, 2015

Silence Of The Lambs                                     07-03-15

Proverbs 2:3-5 (ESV) 3  yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
4  if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5  then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

I experienced an odd confluence of thought today. I was reading in the 10th chapter of John about shepherds and sheep. Then, I turned on Facebook this P.M., and first off I noticed a post concerning a gag order issued in Oregon against the bakers that refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex marriage. 

As I read further, the above verses crossed my line of sight, especially vs. 3.  As I read the post about the gag order, I wondered aloud to myself whether or not this was a first shot across the bow so to speak. In this country of liberty and opportunity; this nation supposedly founded on principles of freedom, could we now be entering a SEASON where one's religious beliefs could be shackled or even denied expression, based solely on WHAT OR IN WHOM one believes. To advance that thought, is it now time to develop a "siege mentality" concerning our individual belief systems and the assault on same?

I don't honestly know. How about you? As I thought on that, the movie title (and not surprisingly, title to this message came to mind.) Is there a concerted effort to silence the lambs in this country. That's when the above verse took center stage in my mind.

I included vs.3-5 but, it was verse 3 that spoke to me. those phrases "call out," and "raise your voice" jumped out at me. A short side note is called for here.

When my friend and Pastor, Pastor Doug calls me, invariably, without fail ,like clockwork, he greets me with the same greeting. "Ronnie, let's just have a season of prayer right now." Now to be sure, sometimes he substitutes the word "praise" for prayer, but you are getting my drift, right? Many times this is spoken tongue in cheek and as they say, to fully appreciate it ,you just have to be there. I said that to say this.

In this present darkness, there is a world of truth and light in that greeting isn't there? Let me share a truth that I was taught a long time ago. It is just this. We can call for a Bible Study and people will show up. Likewise for a call to any of a number of other activities. But, call for a prayer meeting and it's like "where did everybody go?" Nope, I am not pointing a finger at anyone besides myself. I am speaking this from my personal experience. As the Bible says "Truly, truly, I say unto you." I would rather in my flesh take a beating than pray.  

Listen, as I pen these words I am reminded of how I, me personally, must be prodded to pray. Why? Because there is nothing easy about prayer. It is work, and in many instances, HARD work. No glory or instant gratification to be had. And, if you are like me, you must make yourself do it. It is not something that my flesh wants to do. I must discipline myself to "begin to begin" when it comes to praying; and, to be honest ,most times it is not easy. But. BUT. Like last week, here comes the but again. IT IS WHERE THE POWER IS!! Not the power we hear parlayed about in many circles today, no, it is the life changing power that takes place only in time spent before the Lord God Almighty.  Look a little further down in that passage.

Proverbs 2:7-8 (ESV) 7  he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8  guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.

You see if we will seek Him, He will become a shield for us. He will watch over our way.

Brothers and sisters there are folk in these United States....not in the Middle East, not in Africa, not in communist China....HERE! IN AMERICA!!, folk that are being threatened, no, not threatened ,they are being prosecuted and persecuted because they hold to  Christian beliefs. An attempt is being made to SILENCE them.

The Lord God tells us to call upon Him. Raise our voices to Him. As this country slides down the slippery slope to chaos, know and take heart in this fact. If you call on the name of JESUS, you are one of His sheep.

 Psalm 79:13 (ESV) 13  But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

Call upon Him. Raise your voice to Him. If we do, we will know His voice.

John 10:27-30 (ESV) 27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
30  I and the Father are one.”

We will never perish. No one can snatch us away. Not the elite 1%'s. Not a corrupt and dare I say it, evil government. Not a false religion. Not anyone or anything. Again for emphasis. NO ONE CAN SNATCH US AWAY. Amen and Amen. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Psalm 71:14-15 (ESV) 14  But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
15  My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.

God Bless.