Friday, September 25, 2015

Legacy                                                               09-25-15

1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV) 58  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
In many of the articles I read this week, there seemed a common thread woven amongst them. The buzz centered around a couple of words, one of which caught my attention. It seemed that  the words "legacy" and "moral justification" kept popping up in the conversation. That word legacy touched a nerve in me, because I had been considering that concept  in my personal life this week past. Allow me some time here. 

Legacy- According to a legacy is something tangible or intangible that has been "handed down from the past from an ancestor or predecessor."   

Have you ever desired or do you now desire a legacy? What that means to me is to produce something of value. Transparently, that is what I talked about to the Lord this week past.My personal specifics are not what is important here. It's the idea of producing some sort of lasting contribution. I suppose that is the best way I can describe it. Oh no, not some monument, physical or otherwise to shout to the world," Here is what Ronnie left us!" No, not at all. More than that, the recognition of the world did not really play into my thought processes at all. 

It was simply a desire for a validation of my time and effort expended on this earth. A desire to be approved before the Lord sounds right.

Psalm 19:14 (ESV) 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.

Does this make any sense to you? Or is it just me? Anyway, in answer to my request, the Lord put the title verse on my heart today. Once more.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV) 58  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

To produce something of value. In our culture this "value," more often than not, concerns itself with accumulation of wealth, materialism and whatnot. We all do it don't we? You know. We will look at the material success of different people and say something like "They made something of themselves." I've done it a thousand times.

That being said, I believe God counsels,encourages,and even endorses in His Word our "qualifying" ourselves in the eyes of the world. I was encouraging my friend Cole this past week, to stay in school, keep his eyes on the prize, and get his degree. You listening Cole?(smile) I rue the day that I threw away my multiple opportunities to obtain a quality education. It would, no doubt ,have served me well in this life.


God, I am persuaded, looks at our "value" a little differently don't you think? Our value to the world isn't His highest priority is it? I read this week, a short Bible Bio about Andrew, Peter's brother.

Andrew, in Scripture, is known for one thing and one thing only. He brought people to Jesus. That is what he did in the Bible account.

John 1:41 (ESV) 41  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).

John 6:8-9 (ESV) 8  One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,
9  “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

John 12:20-22 (ESV) 20  Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.
21  So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
22  Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

He was not a part of Jesus' "inner circle" (Peter, James, and John) No mention of a ministry. No preaching, no teaching, no insightful theological treatises, nothing but a seeming desire and need to bring people to Jesus. On top of that we read of no resentment on Andrew's part. No real need for recognition. Peter,Andrew's own flesh and blood,whom he introduced to Jesus; became the spokesperson of the original twelve and went on to pen some words in the Bible itself.

No miracles, no autobiography on his days spent with Jesus. He seemed totally content from the Biblical narrative with fulfilling the need to bring people to the Lord.
His "value" was that of the Lord's errand runner. Yet,Andrew's place is forever recorded in the pages of the Bible itself. He brought people to the Lord.

Hear this brother and sister. As the Lord put it on my heart. Our value, our work for the Lord, no matter how insignificant in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of our critics,or perhaps more importantly, IN OUR OWN EYES, does not go unnoticed. God is mindful and has HIS EYES on our endeavors for Him. Keep at it. It is not in vain.

I shall leave you with this.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 (ESV) 13  each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
14  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.
15  If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

And this.

2 Corinthians 5:9-10 (ESV) 9  So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

One day, we as Christians will stand before the Lord Jesus Himself and the "value" of our work will be based not on our worldly accomplishments, but on our aim to please Him. Amen.

Psalm 127:1 (ESV) 1
 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

God Bless



Friday, September 18, 2015

Patience                                                                   09-18-15


Alright, ALRIGHT! Ronnie, we get it!! smile

Hebrews 6:11-12 (ESV) 11  And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end,
12  so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

I have a couple of illustrations I would like to use today for what the Lord put on my heart.

 I remembered a story told me long ago from the pulpit of Brother Mushegan. I believe I have the details right. He told us of a claim on a gold mine that he and a friend staked out in his youth, somewhere in California as I recall. As the story goes, he and his buddy worked this mine all summer long, searching for that shiny yellow metal. It seems after a long while with many hours of very hard work ,without any reward, they became impatient and discouraged(same thing isn't it?) and closed up shop on their mining venture. As they were leaving a seasoned prospector asked if he could work their abandoned claim. With an inward chuckle, as they moved on to greener pastures, they said "go for it." Well, you know, without having to be told, the rest of the story don't you? There actually was "gold in them thar hills." To our young prospectors dismay, they had become impatient with their apparent lack of progress, and it cost them.

Now, in those verses above, as in the story, there is a practical application to endure and stay the course in pursuit of our dreams in and for this life. But, the primary focus of the passage isn't about worldly pursuits is it? No, the apostle Paul is talking about spiritual growth isn't he? Oh yeah, take it back up to the previous chapter and look at the context. It's about moving into spiritual maturity isn't it? He does not want us to become "sluggish" in our spiritual walk.

Ugggghhhhh....did you have to go there Ronnie? Yeah, I feel ya. It's like when you were a kid, remember? The spinach or peas, or worse....turnip greens are growing cold while they stare back at you from he plate.Remember those moments?  All the while your mother is droning on about no dessert if you don't clean your plate. Or these..."you will not get up from this table UNTIL you eat those vegetables," add to that all the starving kids in China, and you get my point.

At any rate the Lord spoke the word patience in my heart this week. Why? Oh, I don't know. Maybe it was because I was having a bout with IMPATIENCE this week past. You feelin' me here? Hear me out and possibly you can relate.

Ever been impatient with other folks? Kids, inlaws, outlaws, friends, bosses, job, the list is endless isn't it? Here's another one. Ever been impatient with yourself? Frustrated with the apparent lack of progress in your life? Physical, material, spiritual or otherwise? In an alone moment with the Lord this week, He showed Me the patience that He had exercised with me. It was on a particular issue that I have wrestled with for a long time.....and am still wrestling with as I write this.

But, to my surprise, instead of a dose of chastisement, He put the word patience in my heart. I needed to be patient with Him, and I needed to be patient with ME.

Growth of the spiritual kind is sorta like losing weight isn't it? How so Ronnie? Well, let me try and explain. 

There is one and ONLY one truth to losing weight. It ain't complicated. To lose weight, you have to BURN more calories than those calories you SLIDE down your pie hole. Are ya hearin' me here? I'm giving you pearls.

That's it. If we could ever come to that truth, the diet industry would be out of a job. Eat less, burn more, lose weight. Presto!! I have been to he mountain!! BUT

Here is the reality. You know how it goes. We go on a diet or a live it as Richard Simmons says. We have initial, rapid success. The pounds are melting away.We lose three, four pounds that first week. Three more the second week. Oh praise God, this is EASY!!  And then.........REALITY sets in. The three and four pound weeks turn into one, or one half pound weeks. And then................there is the NO POUND WEEK,or worse.....the GAIN one pound week. Before long we are decrying the fact we haven't lost anything in two or three weeks. Our downhill sleigh ride to skinny has come upon a plateau. It is at this precise point that impatience, that leads to discouragement sets in. You feelin'me here? And herein lieth the lesson.

There's only one course of action. Keep at it. You know the drill. Keep counting the calories. Keep walking. Keep doing the stairmaster. You will get there. " mean........... there's no other way?" Afraid not.

Well, that's how the Lord put it to me this week. How so? Just this. "Keep reading your Bible. Keep praying. Keep looking for me. Don't go off on a binge. BE PATIENT! I'll get you there." 

Brothers and sisters, just as in shedding that muffin top, there is only one way to move forward in the Lord. There is no short cut. We must stay before Him. We must seek Him out. And most importantly, we must not become impatient in the way He chooses to deal with us. You feeling like you're on a plateau today? Are you impatient with your apparent lack of progress? KEEP WORKING! BE PATIENT!God will get you there .  

Psalm 16:8 (ESV) 8  I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

God Bless




Friday, September 11, 2015

A Matter Of The Heart                                        09-11-15

Luke 16:29-31 (ESV) 29  But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
30  And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
31  He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

The rich man and Lazarus. Many say it is a parable, but I don't think that holds water under the scrutiny of the smart guys. Anyway, the rich man, in hell, pleads with Abraham to give him some relief. But,it's the last part of the Scripture that's relevant for this discussion. You see Abraham said it would not matter what this man's family SAW. It would do them no good if they did not believe and become convinced in their heart. He pointed them not to someone rising from the dead, but to Moses and the Prophets. God and His Word. 

Early on in my Christian walk, I was confronted with the title of my message.Actually that title is incomplete. It went something like this, "it is a matter of your heart, not your mind." My issue at that time isn't important here, suffice it to say it was a war between a drive in theater and Sunday night church. I knew the right course. It wasn't a matter for my mind, it was a matter for my heart. My way, or God's way. Read on please.

A simple thought occurred to me this week. "How so Ronnie?" Glad you asked. As my friend Shields and I sat out in the parking lot solving the problems of the world, the question arose," How in the world can anyone ignore what is going on in this theater of confusion we call earth. Hear me out.

Over the course of my 60+ years on earth, I have been witness to an incredible stage play. It is as if a giant jigsaw puzzle has and still is being pieced together by God Almighty Himself. I mean it is an EXQUISITE piece of work that He is accomplishing here. The fulfillment of His Word, just in my lifetime is so precise and subtle, it defies explanation. All I can do is shake my head, look heavenward, and acknowledge to God that indeed HE IS GOD!! 

Against a backdrop of mockery from His creation, He keeps on putting the pieces of the puzzle in place. A nation,(Israel) rises from a nineteen hundred year old ash heap and in one day(as prophesied) becomes a nation. An increase in knowledge and technology(as prophesied) that is literally changing the way we live. Signs in the heavens, signs in the earth, Biblical foretellings from hundreds, even thousands of years ago, playing out before our very eyes.The list goes on and on. A never ending torrent of "signs and wonders" that are proclaiming the truth that THERE IS A GOD!


As God has worked in plain view of anyone willing to look, the world ,while traducing all that is holy before Him, has fallen farther and farther out of His orbit.We explain His handiwork away or as the Bible said we would, write it off to foolishness. This coming at a time when thanks to technology, we can read His Word and in addition, study every imaginable teaching on His Word for free. The only cost is a fingertap on a smartphone, or the flick of a remote..... And herein is the great divide.  

We cannot find the God of the Bible, the God of Israel and His son The Lord Jesus Christ on the internet. We can read ABOUT Him, we can study ABOUT Him, but we cannot FIND Him on our smartphones. No, no. He is found one on one. He MUST be found in the recesses of our heart. You can't really describe it or put a finger on it. It's what on the inside of us. It's a matter of  and for the heart.

You see ,it's not about the facts of whether there is a God of the Bible or not. It's not about whether there is evidence pointing to the God of Israel. It's not about the historical Jesus is it?
No, no. It's not a matter for the intellect or mind. His work in all creation proves He is real.

It is a matter for the heart isn't it? God calls us. He reaches out to us. He does everything but knock us upside the head (He even does that sometimes) to get our attention. After all that, we either respond or we don't. We either desire to yield to God or we don't.He has stated His case for His claims for the whole world and us to see. It isn't a question for our minds. Nope. It's a demand for our heart.

Psalm 51:10 (ESV) 10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 

Psalm 62:8 (ESV) 8  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

God Bless


Friday, September 4, 2015

I Wonder                                                           09-04-15

Isaiah 59:14-15 (ESV) 14  Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.
15  Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.

My message today is, how may I describe it? A reaction to a reaction? Yes, that's it. I was on the phone this P.M. and the person on the other end told me that they liked to read the comments posted by various folk at the end of articles. It reminded me of a reaction I had to a post I read just yesterday. 

I wondered, after reading comments about the lady in Kentucky, that denounced her stand on principle. Comments directed at her past personal life that suggested hypocrisy and unlawfulness on her part.

 I wondered, after reading a post about two missionaries in northern Iraq deciding to "stay and minister" to the families of martyred CHILDREN; at risk of death from the hands of ISIS oppressors. This decision made AFTER the U.N. pulled all their people out of the area for fear of persecution. 

This author wonders if we here in America, author included, understand and appreciate the gravity of the somber circumstances we face. I wonder....

 Let me say a couple of things about the lady in Kentucky. As to her hypocrisy, who among us is guilt free? Look at this.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV) 7  But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Brothers and sisters, we, ALL OF US, are nothing more than brittle vessels that have been charged with God's power through the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.NO ONE stands for God in their own righteousness. If we are criticizing a person's stand for God based on our perception of their personal lives, then we are not righteous, but, self righteous. We need not agree, no no. BUT, when we rule on a person's conviction and sincerity(and a Christian at that) based on their past life, we set
ourselves up as judge and jury. She, like EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY ONE OF US is a sinner saved by grace.I would think that those of us who are of the household of faith, would applaud her courage. Or at least sit in silence if we disagree.

As to her lawfulness? Just this thought.

Acts 5:29 (ESV) 29  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

I must be careful not to proof text this scripture. Pulling scripture out of context to prove a point is a widely used method today. But, I think, not so here. Peter was facing the same circumstance that we are talking about today. Standing up to established authority based on conviction and principle. Let me go a bit further here. Without getting bogged down in philosophy, there is a concept in this case that is being played out. It dates back to the 4th or 5th century and is attributed to St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. This maxim is also a pillar of our English Common Law, on which our Constitution is supported. Simply stated:

"An unjust law is no law at all." 

How do we define "unjust"? For the Christian ,it is any law that opposes God's written revelation. Plain words? If the Bible says it is wrong, it is wrong. If the Bible says it is unjust, it is unjust. No need to go any further.  

Scroll up to the, wait a minute I will repeat it  here and save you the hassle.   

Isaiah 59:14-15 (ESV) 14  Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.
15  Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.

Do these words seem relevant today? "......truth has stumbled in the public squares..."

"......he who departs from evil makes himself a prey."

Do these verses provide an accurate sketch of the circumstances we face in this land of ours? I shall leave that to your wonderment.

I sit here today, in the air conditioned confines of my dining room, WONDERING about the fates of those two missionaries and all the little children who are defying the enemy and holding true to their faith. I WONDER about the woman sitting in jail for standing for her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I WONDER about my courage and conviction IF AND WHEN my time comes. I can only pray and plead that God Almighty will protect and give me the mercy and grace to finish my course.

Psalm 3:5-6 (ESV) 5  I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
6  I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.

God Bless