Friday, July 29, 2016

The Gaggle

The Gaggle                                                  07-29-16

Matthew 9:23-25 (ESV) 23  And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion,
24  he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him.
25  But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.

Gaggle- According to Dictionary Com.

verb-to cackle

noun-a flock of geese when not flying

 an often noisy or disorderly group or gathering.

All of these definitions are relevant today.

I have been to Fountain City  Park on a number of occasions and that park has flocks of geese and ducks waddling around at any time of year. If you have ever gotten close to either of them and especially if they have any babies around, then you will understand what I mean when I say gaggle. You talk about a commotion. You have never heard the like. Flying about, flapping wings and screaming at the top of their voices at anyone who ventures too close.

Or if you take a look at any of a number of newscasts these days, you are almost guaranteed a close up look at a GAGGLE of people wandering around in disorder and confusion. You gettin' my drift here right? O.K.

Well, this is what Jesus faced in this passage of Scripture while doing the work of God. Look at vs. 23 once more

Matthew 9:23 (ESV) 23  And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion,

Mark has a more descriptive narrative. Look.

Mark 5:38 (ESV) 38  They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.

You get the picture don't you? Jesus had been delayed on His way to Jairus' house to heal Jairus daughter. When He got there, she was dead and the GAGGLE of people were making a COMMOTION. As a matter of fact when Jesus declared that the girl was not dead the Bible says "they laughed at Him.."

Mark 5:40 (ESV) 40  And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was.

And herein lieth the lesson. 

Has God ever directed you to do something for His glory? Have you ever been led of the Spirit to take a step of faith and accomplish something for the Kingdom Of God? We all have at one time or another. That is God's M.O. isn't it? He could accomplish His will in the Earth without the help of anyone or anything. But, apparently that is not what is pleasing to Him is it? He chooses to accomplish His will in the Earth through those that name the name of Jesus. You know, you and me.

 As we walk this life, if we are sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, God entrusts us with more and greater responsibility. But, and here is my point, it doesn't matter whether you are in the pulpit of a mega church every Sunday, or preaching to a group of 4 and 5 year old's in an outside trailer; if God has called you to do something for Him, you are going to face what Jesus faced in this passage of Scripture. A GAGGLE. A NOISY AND DISORDERLY GROUP CAUSING A COMMOTION. It comes with the territory. And let me add this. The bigger and more unlikely the call from God, the more noisy and disorderly the gaggle in your life.

Does the following sound familiar? God speaks to your heart. Increase your giving to the church. Start a street ministry on the toughest street corner in town. Commit to teach a Sunday School class. It doesn't matter what, you fill in the blank. You look to your friends, family etc., and while you may garner a smattering of support, you are usually faced with a GAGGLE of folk telling you that you HAVE LOST YOUR EVER LOVING MIND! Caps for emphasis!!(smile)  

Oh yes let's not forget this. Even if you are blessed enough to receive the support of family and friends,the other  voices are present aren't they? What voices Ronnie? The voices of the enemy. Those voices that speak doubt and confusion in ;your mind and heart. "Did God really tell you to do that?" "That wasn't God speaking to you that was all in your mind?" You are going to lose everything and look like a fool. Be responsible!"

You feelin' me here? If the gaggle isn't blowing your phone up telling you that you have lost it, then the INTERNAL gaggle is warring against the command of God in your life. Oh wretched man that I am! or woman!  What is a soul to do? Look at what Jesus did.

Mark 5:40 (ESV) 40  And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was.
"... But he put them all outside.....

Better yet.

Luke 8:51 (ESV) 51  And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child.

"....he allowed no one to enter with him..."

Jesus understood the effect of the gaggle of naysayers and he put them out, not allowing them to enter where the girl was. Although the Bible is silent on it, I wonder if the enemy was perched on His shoulder whispering the impossibility of it all as He came to where the child was.

Brothers and sisters, sometimes we must mute the voices outside and within, no matter how reasonable and sincere they may sound. It doesn't matter the seeming insignificance of what God is speaking. One of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make in my Christian life was to stop going to a drive in theater on Sunday night, opting instead to start going to Sunday night services. 

If God is calling you to a task or asking you to make a decision that seems improbable or impossible, you can be ASSURED the GAGGLE will flock to your doorstep. But, REST ASSURED, God will see you through the test to the distant shore; and the gaggle will be silenced and amazed. 

Matthew 9:25-26 (ESV) 25  But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.
26  And the report of this went through all that district.

If God called you to it, He will see you through it.

Psalm 111:2 (ESV) 2  Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.

God Bless



Friday, July 22, 2016

In God We Trust

In God We Trust                                          07-22-16

Before I begin today let me give a big shout out to my sister Betty, whose birthday is TODAY! Sooooo everybody say it with me... HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETTY!!

No,this is not a message about removing the motto from our currency. Look at that last word in the title. Trust. Dangerous a little bit isn't it?

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV) 7  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
8  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

My employer broke trust with me this week. Not just me, they broke trust with every employee in our office. The particulars are unimportant. It's not going to cause any ripples in the world. It will go unnoticed by any and all EXCEPT those of us affected. A relationship developed over the course of years was damaged possibly beyond repair in a skosh of time. I am  reminded of a couple of passages in the Psalms when the psalmist had been similarly treated.

Psalm 41:9 (ESV) 9  Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

And again.

Psalm 55:12-14 (ESV) 12  For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him.
13  But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.
14  We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.

"...... my close friend in whom I trusted......." " familiar friend.........sweet counsel together......."  

Whether it is an employer whose only interest is in the bottom line, or an intimate relationship who betrays our trust, it has an effect on us, you and me doesn't it?

My friend and teacher Pastor Doug had a great word this week past. It concerned how the enemy of our souls, satan, uses the same tactics over and over again in an effort to steal our joy and rob us of God's blessing. The same afflictions disguised differently.

My query today is not IF the attacks are going to continue. It is not even a question of HOW the attacks will be packaged, in plain view or wrapped in deceit. Neither is it an inquiry into WHEN they will come, for as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, the assault from the enemy will come. No,no it is not a matter of any of that. My question today, to you and me is this: " What effect will we allow said attack, assault to have upon us?" You see that is what the title and lead verse is talking about. Look again.

 Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV) 7  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
8  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

TRUST. Defined as 

a primitive root; properly to hie for refuge [but not so precipatately as <H2620> (chacah)]; figurative to trust, be confident or sure :- be bold (confident, secure, sure), careless (one, woman), put confidence, (make to) hope, (put, make to) trust.

Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

And herein lieth the lesson.Not my lesson but God's to me.

In that above Scripture God is making a contrast isn't He? If you look at he preceding verses He talks about those whose trust is in the flesh being cursed. It's all about the EFFECT we allow the enemy and his minions to have on our lives.

Circumstances like what happened at my work this week happen. It is a part of this world and it's ways. IT IS WHAT IT IS.

People hurt us. They break trust with us. They disrespect us. Unfortunately, if the truth is known, we also(yes, you and me) hurt other people. We break trust and have our share of disrespecting others don't we? It happens. IT IS WHAT IT IS. A PART OF THE HUMAN CONDITION.

The $64,000 question is this "How do we let these circumstances affect us?" Whose report are we going to believe? WHO do we trust?

In a moment of transparency let me share this with you. I have walked around with anger and resentment in my heart. I have let "circumstances beyond my control" shoot my blood pressure up and steal my joy AND my witness. How 'bout you? Ya feelin' me here?

Let me say this, those "circumstances" we make excuses for are rarely out of our control are they? Sometimes maybe, most times not. But verily our response and our reaction to those circumstances are within the boundaries of our control are they not?

You see God has the answer doesn't He? Sure He does. It's all a matter of trust. If we will spend some time with the Lord Jesus and begin to develop a trust with and in Him, then we can be confident, bold, secure, even CARELESS. That's not me,that's the Bible.

Brothers and sisters, sometimes, many times, I let the circumstances of life affect me negatively. I huff and puff and get mad. I gather around the water cooler and blow off steam with all of my offended compatriots. I dwell on said offenses until I get so mad I could cuss. And sometimes I do! lol. And for all my effort, here is how I am benefited. It raises my blood pressure to the point of tilt. It robs me of any joy and happiness that I may have.And oh yes lest I forget, it turns my stomach into a churning machine producing knots and indigestion.(smile) You gettin' my drift here?

I told the Lord a while back that I was tired of feeling that way. I was weary of allowing that stuff to get the better of me.. It's all a matter of trust. Have I gained the mastery?As Mr. Miyagi of Karate Kid fame said.. "not yet." But, I'm working on it. Maybe you are dealing with the same or similar issues. We will I think, be out in front of the NEXT curve thrown at us, if we can find some time with The Lord God and let Him develop that trust within us. Get alone with Him. Let Him encourage and build you up. Allow Him to take all the resentment, anger, and hurt feelings away. Get careless and confident in Him. Amen?

 Psalm 18:2 (ESV) 2  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

God Bless     

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Lesson From David

A Lesson From David                                          07-15-16

1 Samuel 17:48-49 (ESV) 48  When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.
49  And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

This passage of Scripture resonated in my soul today as I thought about the events of last night. To get a fuller perspective read the 16th and 17th Chapters of 1st Samuel. It is a relevant message for us as individuals, for our nation and for the world in general. Alas, I fear that our nation will fail to heed the insight this portion of God's Word would provide them;however, it is as relevant and timely as tomorrow's headlines for you and me

I was driving last night listening to the BBC World Broadcast as I do for about an hour every night that I work. Of course the broadcast was drenched with the coverage of the attack in Nice, France. It was an interview with an eyewitness however, that captured my attention.

The person in question would have been directly in the path of the attacker had he not stopped for a couple of minutes to complain to his friend about the volume of the music in the square, where the festivities were taking place. What struck me was the absolute fear and terror in this man's voice. As would I,or almost anyone else in his shoes have been, he was shaken to the point of not being able to talk. He struggled throughout the entire interview to describe what had taken place; losing his composure time and again. His quivering, panic stricken responses to the interviewers questions stuck in my head all night. I went to bed last night wishing to be G.I.Joe or better yet Rambo. You know, put on a headband, strap on an AK, and go deliver the wrath of God on the heads of all our enemies. Old Soldier Syndrome.

I woke up this morning, more sound of mind after some sleep(smile) and realized that my Rambo days were long gone, if I ever even had any. I realized my time for that sort of battle was indeed over. The Army has no need, nor does it want any 65 year old wannabes to become nothing but cannon fodder. My dreams of running around blowing everything up, engaging the enemy at impossible odds and winning.......dashed and vanished. 

And herein lieth the lesson.

God calls and elects all types of people, in every conceivable walk of life doesn't He? Folks, I believe with all my heart that there are devout Christians fighting the enemy on foreign soil because they have been called of God for that purpose. Maybe a little more difficult to believe,there are devout Christians fighting in the political arenas of our nation because that is where God has placed them. There are devout Christians protesting the injustices and evils of our nation and world, called of God to raise a voice. There are God fearing, Jesus loving folks unseen and unheard fighting the REAL warfare in their prayer closets. There are Christians of every ilk and tribe fighting battles in every conceivable forum, God having them called to do just that. Unfortunately for my ego, God has not called every one to be a Rambo.(big smile) But, BUT, He HAS called EVERYONE to a BATTLE somewhere and in some form hasn't He? It's not a matter of if, but where and how isn't it?

Look at that passage again and notice this about King David.

1 Samuel 17:48-49 (ESV) 48  When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.
49  And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

".........David ran quickly TOWARD(caps mine) the battle line....."

You see our nation, and if not you, then of a certainty me, prefer the path of LEAST resistance don't we? "That physical or metaphorical pathway that provides the least resistance to forward motion....."

I don't know about you, but I personally don't like confrontation. Some people do, but I ain't one of em.' You feelin' me here? That being said, there are enemies in this physical  world and there are enemies of our soul that aren't going away. A battle line has been drawn and we, as David, must run toward the battle. Not in our own strength, because the battle is the Lord's.  

1 Samuel 17:47 (ESV) 47  and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

 Brothers and sisters this world is being terrorized. People, like that soul in France last night, who have experienced it first hand, are being shaken to the core. A spirit of fear and uncertainty envelopes the entire world does it not? You can almost feel it can't you? But there is a God in heaven, the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that gives us hope and encouragement. If we name the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, He has promised to strengthen and uphold us for the battle at hand; and, to see us through to the end. All we need do is hold on tight and keep our hearts and mind focused on Him.

 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, July 8, 2016

Running On Empty                                    07-08-16

Acts 1:8 (ESV) 8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”


My up until now serene Friday afternoon world has been breached.The enemy,disguised as two small females of the human species, answering to the names Chloe and Maddie Grace are at the gates and I need HELP!  So, if my written words from time to time seem to tail off into incoherence, you will I hope,understand.

 My thoughts are very jumbled today. Much credit can be given to the two aforementioned aliens running around the house. That being said, as I walked into work last night I had a strange feeling concerning that word power. Give me a little space here please. I walked in last night unaware of what had just happened in Dallas, Texas. I heard just the word "Dallas" as I walked in and my ears perked up because I have a son that lives in Texas. So, I took a seat and was promptly brought up to speed by the newscast. But, the horror of what was happening in Texas wasn't what hit me. It was the reaction of my co workers and to be honest my own reaction.

I looked at my sports talk junkie from work and his reaction to he news hit me. His reaction was no reaction. Without even looking up from the paperwork he was engaged in,he nonchalantly asked "How many are dead?" One of my other buddies from work, just as nonchalantly replied, "I don't know, four or five I think," and he went on about his business. A few seconds later, the conversation had shifted to the baseball scores of the day, the insanity in Dallas already forgotten.I would not have given it a second thought except for the fact that my reaction to the events of the day were just as nonchalant.It was if "oh well, just another shooting, what else is new."?  

It was at this point that the word "POWER" crossed my mind.It was like all of us were running on empty. We had become so numb and desensitized by the violence of the week, we could not register any type of emotional response to the fact of two killed by police this week,followed by 11 police shot and five dead last evening. There was no juice in the tank.

Today as I mused about what to write, the Holy Ghost spoke the verse to my heart. Look again.

Acts 1:8 (ESV) 8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 

You see folks, the world's systems and the people in it are being tied to the whipping post and slowly bled of any hope. They face daily the crushing circumstances imposed by oppressors both material and spiritual.They are running on empty.They have nothing left in the tank with which to respond. And once they run dry, they are allowing themselves to be filled with malice, vengeance and hate. 

The danger in all of this is just this: We, as Christians can fall prey to that same snare if we are not careful. What did Jesus tell the disciples to do? Wait for the promise. 

Acts 1:4-5 (ESV) 4  And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;
5  for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 

And herein lieth the lesson. Look at what the disciples did.They returned to Jerusalem and..

Acts 1:14 (ESV) 14  All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

They got together and got alone with God. They waited before the Lord until they were filled with the Holy Ghost. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son Of God, had to get alone with the Father.

Mark 1:35 (ESV) 35  And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Mark 6:46 (ESV) 46  And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

Luke 6:12 (ESV) 12  In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Jesus the Lord got alone with His Father, He commanded the disciples to get alone with the Father, so I think that we will be ahead of the game if we take the advice and example of the Lord. What say you?

Brothers and sisters, the war is real. Listen, I understand and agree with those that say dwelling on the negative will eventually cause us to become callous and fill us with fear.I read this week that what we feed grows and what we starve dies. That's right on.

But like it or not, the war is real.Jesus said these things happening on the earth today were just the BEGINNING of sorrows. This world will empty your tank. It will drain you dry and fill you with fear and misery. In order to survive and even thrive, we must get alone with God. He has to become real in our lives. We must allow The Holy Spirit to fill and empower us.

 Psalm 51:11 (ESV) 11  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

God Bless  




Friday, July 1, 2016

LOOKOUT !                                                       07-01-16

Proverbs 25:19 (ESV) 19  Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.

There is a truism in football that has been taught for decades. It was one of the first things that I as a budding young football player many years ago, was taught by my irate at he time,football coach. What's that you say? It is called a "lookout block." What is that Ronnie? Well, it is when a pass play is called and the lineman or linemen misses their blocking responsibility. As the QB (Quarterback) takes his drop, the lineman or linemen that missed  their block, turn around and yell "LOOKOUT" to the quarterback because he is getting ready to be blind sided and deposited on his back. It does not sit well with quarterbacks, especially ones that make millions of dollars throwing a football. Neither does it play with coaches; whose million dollar paychecks are determined by how well the team performs every Sunday in the win column. If the aforementioned lineman is responsible for too many of these lookout blocks, he will find himself riding the pine or worse,out of a job.

You know we all need lookouts in our lives. A lookout is someone who watches an area and warns others of approaching danger. Family, pastors, hopefully they all perform the function of a lookout in our lives. In a perfect world, we all are connected and have each other's back. Unfortunately, ours is not a perfect world is it? Nope 'fraid not.' Occasionally, we have those that turn at us just before the freight train rolls over us, and yell "LOOKOUT" when they have missed their block. Most times by then, it is too late and we are staring up from he ground trying to figure out what pancaked us. We have all been the recipients of lookout blocks from others in our lives. And, if the truth were known, we have been guilty of our fair share of missed assignments. 

But, it's when we keep getting blind sided by someone that maybe we should begin to exercise some caution. I remember a time in my life that I kept getting blind sided by someone very dear to me. You know how it goes don't you? You experience the range of emotions. Anger, frustration, resentment, worry and sadness. You seek out the comfort and counsel of others as you opine the reason(s) why the person or persons are behaving in such a manner. Sometimes it helps, most times it doesn't. Then all of a sudden you pick up the phone or answer the knock at the door, knowing that bad news is coming, and you find yourself numb. You have been hit so many times that you are now desensitized. It doesn't shock or hurt, you are numb and unfeeling. You are at a crossroad and many times the enemy or a well wishing friend will put you on a guilt trip because you DON'T feel anything. It's not tht you don't want to feel something, it's the fact that your "feeling tank" is empty. You got nothing left.  And herein lieth the lesson.

Look carefully at this verse. 

Jeremiah 17:5 (ESB) 5 Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Now ,this is a very negative verse. But, there is a positive flip side to it. Bear with me please. Let me be honest and transparent with you here. In the distant and not so distant past, I have spent MUCH precious time venting my frustration and anger to friends and enemies alike. I have blown up cell phones complaining to anyone unlucky enough to have answered my call. I have mounted my soapbox at the office water cooler looking for consolation and comfort, rarely, if ever finding anything more than temporary relief. 

When literally,at wit's end, stomach churning and roiling, angry at EVERYTHING, I am given pause. A still,small voice enters my head and reminds me of the above verse. Yes,the above verse. And then the wisdom from above starts flowing.

No, God is not eternally cursing me for reaching out to people in time of need. We allow ourselves to be cursed don't we? How so Ronnie? Well, we walk around like a time bomb, ready to explode. Angry, resentful,and hurt,we end up taking it out on some poor schmuck who just happens to pass by and wish us well. Then we feel nothing, all emotion wrung out of us.We can't find any relief or a solution because we keep on looking to people, the flesh, instead of God. Sound familiar? Well, maybe not to you, but, believe me, I can relate.

God is waiting with outstretched arms; and, in the words of Elsa of Frozen fame,(thanks to Maddie Grace and Chloe for the help with Elsa) the Lord is saying "LET IT GO." You feelin'me here?

Brothers and sisters, we get hurt by others and we hurt others. We blind side and in turn,we get blind sided. That, in a nutshell, is a part of the human condition, and will remain so until Jesus comes back. We have a choice. We can put our trust and confidence in the flesh, or we can turn it over to God Almighty and let it go. Read a little further in Jeremiah.

This is what God, in His infinite patience and mercy, tries to get on the inside of your's truly.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV) 7  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
8  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”


Psalm 4:1 (ESV) 1
 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

God Bless