Friday, November 27, 2015

Consider The Source

Consider The Source                                 11-27-15

Luke 17:15-16 (ESV) 15  Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;
16  and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving yesterday! I am presently paying the price for failing  yesterday to not gormandize .(There's one for you Pastor Doug) At any rate, in the midst of recovering from my self induced food and sugar coma yesterday, while reading, I came across this phrase.

Consider the source.

We often use that phrase in a negative connotation don't we? We will read about something that someone said or did. Or more often than not, that phrase will come up while we are TALKING about what someone else said or did."Well, just consider the source....." You know don't you? (smile)

The above verse though, sheds a positive light on that phrase doesn't it? This Samaritan figured it out didn't he? Take a look.

Consider- To think carefully about. To contemplate or reflect upon. To turn over in one's mind. 

You know I don't mind all the "commercialization" of Christmas. As a point in fact, I rather enjoy it. All the hustle and bustle, the decorations, it's a great time of year. Watching this year's version of the Walmart Black Friday, I was tempted  in my heart to say "I would never do that"..... until I remembered a Black Friday many years ago. As a parent of two young boys, I ran(not walked) but RAN to the BIG WHEEL display,punching and kicking to be FIRST in line to get that must have Big Wheel!!

But, this Samaritan had it right didn't he? Just what are you saying Ronnie? Just this. He considered the source did he not? Look again at the passage. Ten lepers were healed by Jesus. Now, I am betting that these men were jubilant and could not wait to share their healing with their family and friends.....and understandably so. BUT, one, for some reason ,began to consider. As he went, he began to contemplate...he began to turn it over in his mind.....and he figured it out. It was a revelation. 

"...when he saw that he was healed, turned back...."

You know something, as a parent and father, my heart would almost burst when my children would take time out from the "big wheels" and come up to me, give me a hug and say a simple "thanks Dad." At those times, I would have moved heaven and earth for them if I could have. Now, if God built us that way, I bet that He enjoys us considering Him in that way too, don't you think? Sure He does!

Listen, brothers and sisters, want to commune with God? Want to get close to Him? This Samaritan teaches us all a lesson. In the midst of all the gormandizing, all the giving and getting of gifts, take some ALONE time and consider. 
Get away and turn it over in your mind. Understand that the Lord Jesus is the SOURCE of ALL that is GOOD in your life. Indeed, He is your(and my) provider, your(and my) healer, our Savior and Lord.

During the jubilance and excitement, when we understand that we have been healed and provided for, let's take some time and TURN BACK and give the God of all Glory, thanks.   

Psalm 95:2-3 (ESV) 2  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3  For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

God Bless


Friday, November 20, 2015

In Your Land                                           11-20-15

Deuteronomy 15:11 (ESV) 11  For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

I have a couple of perspectives on this passage of Scripture this week. It seems as if the Lord won't let me leave this concept or principle of becoming a giver. It has been with me the last few weeks, and at least for now won't go away.Let me share with you what's on my heart.

First on the bigger stage. I saw a Facebook post this week regarding the subject that is on everyone's lips recently. That being the Syrian(?) immigrants. You, I am sure know the details, so I won't thrash about said details here. This Facebook post was simple in it's message. Take care of your own FIRST. It went on to say that upon arrival the immigrants would be entitled to free, modern housing, free food and to some extent, access to certain government benefits. Then, as I recall it, in big bold letters, "WHILE SOME 33,000 HOMELESS VETERANS WILL SLEEP ON THE STREET TONIGHT." As I read that verse today, this post, of this week past, scrolled across my mind. Without getting any deeper politically,zero in on the last three words in that verse. IN YOUR LAND. Not only veterans, but 1 in 5 (I believe that number is correct) children in the state of Tennessee will go to bed hungry tonight. 

I will leave the decision to you(I have settled it in my mind) on where and to whom our resources and COMPASSION as a nation should be directed.

The Lord also spoke on a personal level to your's truly on this passage today.
I read an interesting take on the Shemitah this week, I will share it here. It seems as though the '''release"(Hebrew for shemitah) had a different core meaning than the one of judgment that has been spoken of so much recently. Now to be sure, the shemitah cycles have been characterized by judgment; but, it seems that the judgment was in response to the Israelites disobedience to God's commands, not God's original intent.

The "core" idea behind the shemitah was an opportunity to be givers and indeed to learn to trust God for their material needs. They were not allowed to plant crops in the sabbatical year, forcing them to trust God to provide their very food.They were to forgive debts,to extend mercy and grace ,and to "give back" to those in need.It was a release or better a relief from the toil,labor and worry of planting and harvesting. A time of trusting God for their well being. A time to learn trust and sharing. This was God's plan for the children of Israel in their dealings with each other. Those that were "in the land."

We have a small prayer group that meets on Tuesday nights. Shields, Shelley and me. I am always reminded during that prayer time to pray for those that are in "my realm, or in "my world."" Those that are in direct contact with me. They are in "my land." Isn't that what God is talking about here? Look at the verse again.

Deuteronomy 15:11 (ESV) 11  For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

What can we glean here? First there will always be a need in the land. There will always be someone that needs help.Secondly, this is not a suggestion to help those in need. "Therefore I command you....." Third it is unlike the command to tithe. How so Ronnie?

Israel was commanded to support the Levitical priesthood and the temple. In today's world they were commanded to materially support the church and it's ministers.It was a stated portion of their income. You know the story. But then, in addition to that support, God commanded the children to " wide your the land."

When dealing with their brothers and neighbors in need God spoke in descriptive terms didn't He? Words like "empty handed and grudgingly" were used in negative connotations. On the positive side "open wide, liberally." You gettin' my drift here?

Brothers and sisters, God does not want your money. He does not need the money. Yours or mine. 

 Psalm 50:10-12 (ESV) 10  For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
11  I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
12  “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.

What He wants is to bless us. The Bible is chock full of exhortations and examples of the blessings that befell folk who chose to trust God and become givers. God on occasion even challenges us to test Him concerning our being givers. One of the few, if not the only circumstance that He allows us to test Him. 

Malachi 3:10 (ESV) 10  Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Don't worry about whether it is a tithe or grace giving, that isn't what He is trying to get across. What's important is that we BECOME GIVERS. If we do that, He will guide us on how much, don't you think? In these perilous times ahead we can stack the gold and silver from floor to ceiling. It just takes one "incident" and it can all be gone. On the other hand if we trust God with our resources, He will do the stacking  as He sees fit and it will be enough. Amen?

 2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV) 8  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Psalm 50:14-15 (ESV) 14  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,
15  and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

God Bless




Friday, November 13, 2015

My God Is Able

My God Is Able                                          11-13-15

Malachi 3:11 (ESV) 11  I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts.
God is not limited in the way or ways that He chooses to bless His children.

Memaw,(my mother) who is socializing in the corridors of heaven today, never tired of recounting how God moved the Social Security Administration on her behalf years ago. His blessing resulted in a significant financial blessing for her.
She was always quick to point out to the listener that God honored and helped her due to her honoring God with her tithe. I certainly will not argue the point. Fast forward to this week.

Let me share an episode out of my life this week. Oddly enough, the "deal" was finalized just yesterday, which as you shall see, struck me as timely with all that is going on at the college campuses this week. Let's to begin..? At the beginning I suppose.

A couple of months ago I received a letter from a debt collector. Hopefully, you don't know what I am talking about, but, if you do, then this is for you. This letter informed me that they were trying to collect on a government debt that I owed. Now, let me state this right now. They were RIGHT!! It was a LEGITIMATE obligation that I has entered into many years(some 20-25 years) past. However, I had literally forgotten about this debt as it had been over 12 years since I had last heard from them..... 12 YEARS!

It irritated me and I ignored it. However, on the third or fourth notice I responded to it.(still irritated) They informed me that they were going to collect this debt and threatened legal action. Now, for a reason I will tell you in a moment I was steaming.As I conjured up all the various scenarios on the horizon, none of them were good. I was trying to figure out how much I would have to pay, this and that you know how it goes. I tried to come up with ways to free myself from this dilemma. You know how it goes. On and on. You know how it goes.

So, after MUCH wrangling in my spirit, I came upon a novel idea. What was that Ronnie? I decided to take it to the Lord God. I decided to PRAY about it. I still remember the ride up the road on my route talking to the Lord, just as I am talking to you right now. Here's what I told Him.

The reason I was so distraught(a "nice" word for what I really felt) was what I had seen going on in this country for years now.I didn't pull any punches with Him. I told Him that indeed mine was a LEGITIMATE DEBT. But, I also told Him that I had seen multi billion dollar corporations being bailed out by my tax dollars on their LEGITIMATE DEBT. I spoke to Him of seeing countless incidents of folks asking for and receiving forgiveness for their LEGITIMATE DEBT.  

And then,after pouring out my heart to Him I made a simple request. I asked God to move on the powers that be to forgive my indebtedness. Right or wrong, that is what I asked God to do. Hold on there's a little more. I then said that since it was a legitimate debt that if He saw fit to have me repay it so be it. If that was to be the case, all I asked was that the terms be something that I could reasonably afford and live with. I placed it in His hands and let the chips fall where they may. Now, here is where it gets good.

Soon after that night, I spoke with the debt collector and inquired as to how we could reach agreement. I listened as he told me the information I needed to provide etc., etc. I determined not to negotiate, nor would I cast myself in a bad economic plight. I was not going to put my hand, not even my little finger to the process. I would comply with whatever the collector wanted and that was that. Well, after a couple more phone calls where I supplied all the needed information, the day of reckoning finally came. I was truly expecting a demand for a few hundred dollars a month to satisfy my LEGITIMATE DEBT.

"Mr. Jenkins, after reviewing all the pertinent information, we have decided that $29.00 dollars a month is what we require, is that acceptable to you sir?"......................................!!!!!!!!!!"Uh, much was that again?"

"Sir it was $29.00 is that all right with you sir?" EUREKA!!! PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY GOD!!! I said as I was turning cartwheels in my living room floor. "Yes sir, that will be fine" 

God had moved mightily for my benefit. BUT, As Lee Corso on College Gameday says,"Not so fast my friend" ............God wasn't through.  Huh? What's that you say Ronnie? GOD WASN'T THROUGH.

As I talked with the representative, a very polite and courteous man, he informed me that after a final review was done, the paperwork for me to sign would be sent by e-mail within a few days. Here's where it gets really good. The same day I received the email I had a phone call from the debt collector. He informed me that after a FINAL review, it had been determined that a further reduction in my monthly payment was warranted. He then notified me that my monthly payment had been lowered to ..............wait for it......................$5.00 a month. Excuse me!!!???!!! How much? $5.00. As I sat there,flabbergasted, I literally said to myself "what is the point?" It will cost more to collect than the monthly payment. Oh well, THANK YOU JESUS!!

Brothers and sisters, I know this is lengthy, but bear with me. My point is this. I do not portray God as being some sort of heavenly ATM machine doling out money whenever we get into a tight. No,no. BUT, I will say this.


God didn't send me a check in the mail. He didn't allow me to win the lottery. He did not release me from my LEGITIMATE DEBT. No,no. He came to my aid when I didn't deserve it. He shed His grace in my life. All the parties are satisfied. No protest. No commotion. No demands. JUST GOD BEING GOD. I didn't deserve it but He did it anyway. You can't outgive God. All I can do is bow my head and say thank you.

 Psalm 23:5-6 (ESV) 5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

God Bless



Friday, November 6, 2015

On What I Think

On What I Think                                          11-6-15

Galatians 1:12 (ESV) 12  For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

I read an article this week past questioning the benefit(or lack of it) of asking people what they think about decisions or paths that we have chosen or in the process of choosing. In a nutshell the article said that unless we are willing to open up many doors of opinion and counsel, our question might be better left unasked. It was a good article, I read it and moved on.

However, that question popped up once again this week, except this time it was asked of me. A friend wanted my OPINION on a statement a televangelist had made on the T.V. that evening. I gave my OPINION on the subject, and, seeing it wasn't really anything of weight or importance, we both moved on. But, for some reason I pondered on that word opinion and even counsel. Allow me some room here please.

I was raised,spiritually speaking, under a ministry, actually a time that placed great emphasis on a teaching known as "spiritual authority." Watchman Nee's book of the same title was a must read by all of us in this camp. No great detail is needed here, but the concept was one of rank. Superior, subordinate, much like the structure in the military. You had a guy at the top who heard from God about the direction one or all should go and that was filtered down to the "soldiers" who sat on the pew for the execution of the plan. That is an incomplete and simplistic description, but it will suffice for our discussion. Now, to be sure ,I personally did not then and do not now reject that concept. As a matter of fact, I believe that the righteous kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ will be set up on those lines.

Unfortunately, we do not presently have as our commander the Lord Jesus do we?And therein lies the problem. With that foundation, I want to look at this from the "soldier's" point of view. The pew sitter. Why? Because, that's what I am. A layman. A pew sitter.

Here's what many times happens. We, as pew sitters, rely on the messenger rather than God Himself. As well intentioned and sincere as the messenger may be, they are still just the messenger.God uses them to draw or direct our attention to Him. He never intended that the messenger be the "final voice of authority" in our lives.
God wants, indeed commands that if we want success, we bow to Him and His counsel. That success is found in communion with Him. That success cannot be found in a charismatic personality. It cannot be found in a teaching commentary or a scholar's interpretation. It can only be found one on one in His presence. He, for some reason, will not let me move on from this basic truth. In these perilous times the direction and comfort for my soul is found only in alone time with Him.

You see Paul spent three days fasting after his encounter with the Lord Jesus. He knew who had spoken to him on that road,"I am Jesus" the Lord had spoken to him.However God required Paul to wait in Damascus to be told what to do. During that time He sought no one's counsel. He didn't submit it to authority for approval or opinion. He fasted and waited. But then, when God's answer came, Paul hit the ground running.

Acts 9:20 (ESV) 20  And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
Brothers and sisters, human counsel, no matter how sincere is still just that..human counsel.No, we do not isolate ourselves on some spiritual island, rejecting anything that anyone has to say. Not at all. But, at the end of the day, ultimately, we must rely on what God has spoken to us in the quietness of our prayer closets. Nothing else will do, no matter what I or anyone else thinks. The voices that surround us these days will only grow more numerous and louder.The confusion is only going to become more pronounced.We must not allow ourselves into thinking that any man has the final, ultimate answer to life's questions. 

 Psalm 85:8 (ESV) 8  Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.

God Bless