Friday, May 27, 2016

Able To Teach

Able To Teach                                                05-27-16

2 Timothy 2:24-25 (ESV) 24  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
25  correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

My thoughts today.

If you read from the fourteenth verse of Second Timothy 2, the context will hopefully clear up my mental processes today. A well known radio commentator used to describe it as "a skull full of mush." (smile) Pay particular attention to verse 21. In context that verse is speaking to a self imposed "cleansing." Not a cleansing from sin or bad habits, but from doctrinal error and false teaching. With that in mind, allow me to share my thoughts today.

I read about three or four news articles today and the descent into anger and frustration was rapid and decisive. You would think that I would eventually learn, but alas, I am afraid that I am hopelessly captive to the headlines. (big smile)

At any rate, it seemed to me that the aforementioned  articles were more of an attempt at appeasement, as opposed to tolerance.

Appeasement- placation, concession, pacification. A diplomatic policy of making material or political concessions to an enemy power in order to avoid conflict.

The articles, having spiritual overtones were not political in nature but the concept of concession and placation are the same. Concessions in order to avoid conflict.

All that being said, it was not the articles, but a REPLY to the last article that provoked the message today. The article in question referred to a particularly heinous act done in the name of religion. There were hundreds of replies, but I read only one. The very first one.

Have you ever read something that angered you? I don't mean irritated, I mean really Well, this replier had had enough and he let loose. He mentioned something about "if they wanted a war, then let's give them a war." Except those were not the words that he chose to express his anger and frustration.

Well, as I read the outburst I could feel the indignation rising up in me. I agreed with this reader's reaction and I AGREED FULLY AND HEARTILY! They want a war, let's give them a war!! Except those were not the words that were going through my mind either. As I began considering"taking it to the street" the title verse came like a ticker tape across my mind's eye. Look again.

2 Timothy 2:24-25 (ESV) 24  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
25  correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 


Before going on, look at this. At no point in this section of Scripture is God advocating a tolerance or appeasement of false teaching or doctrinal error. Nope.
as a matter of fact here and in Romans 9 Paul uses the terms honorable and dishonorable in similar contexts. But, don't let me get bogged down here.

What hit me in this passage were the phrases "Lord's servant" and "able to teach." I went to a commentary and read about what it meant to be able to teach. That phrase emphasizes disposition or attitude as much as it does skill. It is possible to teach the RIGHT THINGS IN THE WRONG WAY.

One thing I have learned over the years is that no one has all the truth.

1 Corinthians 13:9-10 (ESV) 9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

You see the problem in our land today is not a difference of interpretation on the Scriptures. Not at all. Rather, it is an appeasement to an assault on the validity and truth of God's Word.

The Bible says we are to endure evil, not placate it. It says we are to correct our opponents in gentleness, not beat them over the head with God's Word or worse,...argue them to death. Yes, there is I believe a time for public confrontation, but it must be led by the Holy Spirit . I also believe that not everyone is called to that type of confrontation. Got to be very cautious when deciding to "take it to the street."

However, let us, especially me, not fall prey to that spirit or idea of appeasement. History teaches us that concession does not work. Compromise? O.K. Appeasement? No way. If it does not work in our physical world, do you think it will work against the enemy of our souls? Just sayin' The Apostle Paul puts it this way.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV) 14  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
15  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed.

Psalm 119:44-45 (ESV) 44  I will keep your law continually, forever and ever,
45  and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.

God Bless


Friday, May 20, 2016

Coffee Spoons                                                   05-20-16

1 Corinthians 9:26 (ESV) 26  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

"I have measured my life out with coffee spoons."

 .......???.....huh???? What did you say Ronnie? Yeah, I hear you. But, this is my story and I'm sticking to it. You may have in times past thought that I might be a little strange. Well, on for a couple of paragraphs and remove all doubt!! (smile)

In my job, I do a lot of driving. About 3-4 hours a night spent rolling up and down I-40 and I-81. While driving a long stretch last night, I was praying about what I should write about today. Somewhere on I-81, out of the clear night sky ,the above quote entered my head. That is a quote from a T.S.Eliot poem of the 1920's(?) The reason that I am familiar with this quote is because I had to write an essay on that one line from the poem. This was in an English Lit class in 1968!!! I could not even remember the substance of my essay.

Listen folks, I have not read a poem SINCE 1968!! Poetry is not my thing. There is absolutely NO reason that this should have crossed my supremely unpoetic mind. You feelin' me here? As I was imagining the men in the white coats soon coming for me, something prompted me to look up just what a coffee spoon was used for. Well, needless to say it is used with coffee. But, it was the PURPOSE of the spoon that caught my eye.

Rules of etiquette notwithstanding, it seems that a coffee spoon is smaller than a teaspoon so as not to cause too much cooling when agitating the coffee after adding cream or sugar. I'm not kidding you ESPN watchers, you can find this on the internet. It is designed to have LESS EFFECT than a teaspoon on the temperature of the coffee.In the world of spoons, the coffee spoon is the teaspoon's poorer relation. 

Then I remembered the poem and my essay. Eliot, in my view, was saying that his life had lost meaning. His purpose and the impact he had in his world could be measured with a coffee spoon. And then the Holy Spirit put that verse in my heart. Now, in context Paul was speaking about the need for self control and discipline. But, there was a reason, a PURPOSE to do so. You see Paul was encouraging us against losing purpose in this life. It's easy to do isn't it? I remember my mother battling with that the last few years of her life. She would sometimes ask me and my sister why she was still here. She felt some times that she wasn't helping anyone. She wasn't having any effect or purpose. I mention that only to illustrate the struggles that we all have sometimes.

You know how it goes don't you? You go to school, you get married, you have kids and grand kids. But, eventually the kids grow up and get their own lives. Then the grand kids grow up and don't come around very much anymore. all of a sudden you wake up one day and no one NEEDS you anymore. As my friend says "You get dressed up for the party, but there's no party to go to." You have no effect or impact, no one seems to be listening.

Or,on the other end of the spectrum, this is your life. You wake up, you go to work, you come home, you go to bed. Tomorrow you can look forward to..............repeating the process. Or as us unpoetic ESPN watchers like to get an instant replay.

The treadmill drains you of purpose and meaning and turns you into a robot. So, take your pick. Rat race or sitting on the porch watching all the big dogs.

But, is that what God has in mind for us? I don't think so.God has a purpose for us no matter where we are in the cycle of life, don't you think? 9 or 99, if we're still above ground, He's not done with us yet. WE STILL HAVE A REASON FOR LIVING. A PURPOSE. ALL WE MUST DO IS FIND IT!!  

Look at this. An obscure, well not obscure, a single statement spoken  by Paul to a fellow named Archippus.

Colossians 4:17 (ESV) 17  And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

Now I don't know how old Archippus was. I don't know his particular circumstance in life. However, Paul did not take that into account did he? He encouraged Archippus to fulfill the ministry he had received IN THE LORD.

What we need do here is fill our name in that verse in Archippus' place. Notice what God's Word says here. "See that you fulfill..."  Archippus YOU see to it. Ronnie YOU see to it. It's not whether God has given us something to do. No,no. It's a matter of seeking Him out and discovering what He has in store for us.

Brothers and sisters ,, we ALL need a reason to get up in the morning. We have to have a purpose. Now,I don't know what purpose or ministry that God has in store for you. It may be taking a guitar lesson. It may be writing a weekly blog. Only God can tell you. But, I do know this, we need a reason for living. God has a purpose for you. You can still be effectual. You can still have  an impact. Put your name in the above verse. 

See to it. You're no coffee spoon.

Psalm 81:10 (ESV) 10  I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

God Bless




Friday, May 13, 2016

When The Levee Breaks                                     05-13-16

2 Kings 19:30 (ESV) 30  And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.

A couple of weeks ago I was sent a video of one of my favorite rock and roll bands from back in the day, singing one of my all time favorite songs. For some reason I looked up the history of the song and that history caught my attention. Seems the song was written in the 1920's, talking about the levees along the Mississippi River breaking, with the ensuing flooding sweeping everything away. That however, is just the prelude for the message today.

While thinking about the song I was reminded about something my friend Joshua Drucker has said from time to time. He has talked about strengthening the things that remain. Many times life and its' circumstances, like the Mighty Mississipp, will overflow the levees in our lives, sweeping  all away. The enemy of our souls, hell bent on flooding our lives with pain, seeks our destruction. It was with this mindset that the Lord spoke that verse to me this week past. In the 18th and 19th Chapters of Second Kings, we are told about a levee breaking in the life of King Hezekiah and indeed in all Judah.

The King of Assyria was approaching Israel like a raging torrent, intent on conquering the land.The Assyrians had destroyed all in their path and Judah along with Hezekiah and it's inhabitants were in the Assyrian King's crosshairs. Not only that, He defied Hezekiah and mocked Hezekiah's trust in the God of Israel. It seemed that none could resist or stand in his way. With that in mind, let's get to the heart of the matter.

Hezekiah was a man, with all of a man's failings. He did a lot wrong and made mistakes. I and probably you also can relate. But, Hezekiah had something going for him. No, not something, ONETHING, going for him. You can read about it in the intro of his story. 

2 Kings 18:5-7 (ESV) 5  He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.
6  For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses.
7  And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him.

Trusted. Held fast. Hmmmmm.....And the Lord was with him. Look at this.

Israel was in a mess when Hezekiah came on the scene. The land and people were ruled by evil kings, rife with idolatry and unbelief. Both Israel and Judah were following foreign gods. Enter Hezekiah. He began ruling in Judah and was determined to strengthen what remained of God in the land. He did all kinds of stuff. Broke down the altars and high places of idolatry. Instituted  Godly reforms etc., etc.

When the flood, in the form of the King of Assyria came against Hezekiah, what do you think he did? Unlike what we hear from our leaders today, Hezekiah didn't unsheath his sabre and rattle it. He didn't confront the Assyrian with idle threats and false bravado. He didn't blame the other leaders in Judah and Israel for the attack of the enemy. What did he do?

He stengthened the things that remained. He got alone with God. He prayed.  

2 Kings 19:14-15 (ESV) 14  Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD.
15  And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.

Read the whole story and prayer..........185,000 gone..... phoosh.....The King of Assyria, the Bible declares, DEPARTED AND WENT HOME... The levee held and the flood waters were diverted. Why? Because Hezekiah had rooted and grounded himself in the Lord His God. He had strengthened his "levee" if you will.

God spoke the title verse to me this week while thinking about Hezekiah being rooted and strengthening that which remains and whatnot. How so Ronnie? Just this.

Brothers and sisters a relationship with God Almighty, or anyone else for that matter, isn't built overnight. Neither is it built in the sight of man. It requires time. It requires solitude and undivided attention. A faith and relationship that will sustain us when the levee breaks in our lives demands that we take root. We allow the Holy Spirit to take root in our hearts. The time we spend alone with the Lord Jesus won't garner the world's attention,but like King Hezekiah, it will move Him to strengthern us where it counts..on the inside. Gettin' my drift? And just as the Lord spoke to the children of Israel, if we will take root downward in God, our fruit will be borne upward. Our levee will hold.

 Psalm 138:3 (ESV) 3  On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.

God Bless  


Friday, May 6, 2016

The Prayer Of Faith                              05-06-16

James 5:14-15 (ESV) 14  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

A  word for you today. In 1984 I fell sick. I fell very sick. I mention it here just to provide you a frame of reference for this message. The details of my malady are not important here, for this is not about my sickness, but about GOD'S HEALING. Suffice it to say that, if I remember correctly, I literally  walked sick out of a hospital, went to a church service, was anointed and prayed for, literally walked back in the hospital the next day,and was pronounced "cured" by the doctors with confirming xrays and tests. The head of pulmonary medicine at Kennestone Hospital, apparently not wanting to give God the credit, declared the results "unexplainable."

A few years ago my youngest son lay comatose in a hospital room in Conyers, GA.  I remember looking at the attending nurse and asking her if he was going to make it, and being met with a long sigh and a shrug of her shoulders. Shortly after that discouraging response a man of God came to see him, and after praying the prayer of faith,  laid his hand upon my son's shoulder; to my and Shelley's surprise, my son sat straight up in the bed, looked around at us and said "What's up Pops?" and laid back down unconscious. A few hours later he was awake and kicking. Unexplainable.

Sometime shortly after(?) that incident, my stepdaughter, Shelley's daughter Jessica was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her kidney. A neuroblastoma if memory serves. A deadly form of cancer. After much prayer she was admitted to the hospital for surgery to remove the tumor. I will never forget that day. Sitting in the hospital with family and the same man of God, awaiting the news from the operating table, the doctor finally came around the corner. Shelley and I jumped up, began walking towards him around a corner. I will never forget what he said as he rounded that corner. "At some point between the start of the operation and the removal of the tumor, it went from malignant to benign." Those are his exact words to us. He didn't know how it had happened.Unexplainable.

Again,that same week, if memory serves, my stepson Michael broke his arm. He was upset because he wanted to play football that weekend for his local team. It appeared that was out of the question as he was in a cast from wrist to elbow. However, he was prayed for and lo and behold his arm was "cured." I believe he played that following week with the doctor's blessing. Unexplainable. Although his team Georgia Tech was soundly whipped by Tennessee. Very Explainable.
(BAHAHa!!I hope you are reading this Michael. HUGE SMILE) Unexplainable.

The list of testimonials goes on and on. My point here is just this. These "cures" or unexplained healings are not unexplainable at all. I have a very  reasonable explanation. Read the above scripture again.Here, let me pull that up for you.

James 5:14-15 (ESV) 14  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.   

That word "sick" can refer either to a physical sickness or a spiritual infirmity. Are you sick in body today? Why not take God's prescription? Gather some people of like faith around you. Let them anoint you with oil..."and the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick."

Possibly your sickness is something a little deeper and more serious than a bodily sickness. Maybe you are sick in spirit and soul. The remedy is the same. God is waiting for us to humble ourselves before His mighty hand, not so He can beat us up, no, no. It's so He can "raise us up." He will exalt us in due time. He is our only TRUE healer.



Psalm 107:20 (ESV) 20  He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.

God Bless