Friday, September 30, 2016

Separate Yourself

Separate Yourself                                               09-30-16

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (ESV) 17  Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
18  and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

Just a couple of short thoughts this week. This verse came to mind while I was talking with myself this week. No, I'm not quite ready for the funny farm just yet as my conversation with myself is still one way. lol. I was thinking about the big debate this week and all the hype surrounding it; and I started thinking and posed these questions to myself...........if the debate,if the economy,if the election is rigged......if the outcome has already been determined by some of the powers that be .....indeed if our lives on this earth are being influenced by some axis of evil in the nether world if..if  if..if all this is true,then why do we(I) insist on listening?Why do we(I) continue to subject our minds and spirits to the propaganda? Why do we involve ourselves in the process?And herein lieth the lesson.

The key is to NOT do it the world's way isn't it? That approach is doable but not as easy as it sounds is it?

You know Jesus said that we had to occupy this world,but He didn't say that we should conform.As a matter of fact He taught us that we should resist conforming to the world's systems and it's way of thinking didn't He?

Romans 12:2 (ESV) 2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

You see when the Apostle Paul quoted that verse, it was in a context of being yoked with unbelievers. Are we to shun those that don't see things as we do? Are we to chastise and judge those that don't believe as we do? No. Or as Paul said elsewhere"God Forbid!" No we don't pack up and move to some utopia in Idaho. We don't isolate ourselves on some island physical or spiritual in an effort to remain unspotted from the world. No,no.

Neither do we decide to shut ourselves off from the land of the living;turning off the tele or the radio and whatnot. Swearing off Fox News or CNN depending on your individual preference is no solution to our dealings with the world and it's ways.Although in my case that might be preferable to the heartburn it causes me. SMILE! Nope. I don't believe that was what Jesus was talking about do you? 

 The point is to not let ourselves become influenced or controlled by what goes on in this world of ours.It is not to become discouraged or depressed with all the fatalism that the world has to offer. It is to separate ourselves from the world and it's way of thinking and doing. It's to join ourselves to God and HIS way of thinking and doing.

Yeah the election might well rigged.Yeah the economy may actually be controlled by the "elitist one percenters." Yes,there surely are spiritual forces at work,hell bent on causing as much confusion and destruction as possible. But God. BUT GOD!

Psalm 34:19 (ESV) 19  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

If we will just keep the Lord Jesus in front of our eyes. If we will keep our hearts and minds stayed on Him, then we can escape the influences and confusions of the world in which we live.

Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) 3  You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

In Him we live and move and have our very existence

Psalm 46:10 (ESV) 10  “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

God Bless

Friday, September 23, 2016

I Was Wrong

I Was Wrong                                                    09-23-16

Proverbs 17:10 (ESV) 10  A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

I like the KJV better here. A bit more virile.

Proverbs 17:10 (KJV) 10  A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.

O.K. O.K. I WAS WRONG! Are you satisfied now?? Ever had to admit that to someone or better yet,to yourself?We all have at one time or another and it was my turn this week past(smile)

Without going into detail, I sought the opinion/advice/counsel of a dear and TRUSTED friend this week,the key word being trusted;and,as you might surmise by the title,it didn't go my way.You see, I was wrong. I made a mistake.Even after speaking with my friend,I attempted to justify my actions in my head. After a long while mentally rehashing to myself,out on my route that evening,the above verse came to mind.Reluctantly,I had to admit to myself,if not to anyone else,that I had screwed up. 

You see I didn't sin. I didn't have to ask God's forgiveness. I made an unsound and unwise decision. Yes... you are right. It was just plain dumb!! And while I believe this verse certainly does address sin in our lives,it also addresses our missteps and ill advised choices. And herein lieth the lesson.

You ever know anyone who is always right? I mean no matter the circumstance or situation,they always have an opinion and it's ALWAYS the right one!! (As the Holy Spirit says to me "Yes Ronnie, YOU!)( BIG SMILE)) I expect that we all must plead guilty to that offense at one time or another,don't you think?And that is what God's Word is warning against here isn't it? You see,if we are not careful we can deceive  ourselves into believing we have all the truth concerning our lives.(and occasionally everyone else's lol) We can become stubborn and resistant to the advice/counsel of others;especially when it is opposed to what we THINK is right. And that is what the above verse is talking about. When we refuse to consider a difference of opinion,when we don't allow for rebuff or correction,we become foolish don't we? If we become "stiff necked" (smile) as the Bible calls it,even though we should endure a hundred lashes,it would be to no avail.

And the result of that kind of thinking is what we are witnessing every single day, in every single corner of our nation and world. The idea of admitting that we are wrong is not only distasteful in this nation,it has become repugnant.The reason being,that oft times it involves swallowing our pride and chewing on a large piece of humble pie. You see that verse not only speaks to a frame of mind, it puts a spotlight on the condition of the heart doesn't it?  I digress. Stick to the talking point Ronnie.

Brothers and sisters,let me leave you with this last thought. No one. Nobody. Not me,not you, not Donald, not Hillary, NO ONE OR NOBODY WALKING THIS PLANET HAS ALL THE TRUTH! And we will greatly benefit if we apply this absolute truth not only to others,but more importantly to ourselves. What say you? 

1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) 12  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

We are all going to make mistakes. Even the best and brightest amongst us. But, it's not a matter of the mind,but of the heart. If we keep ourselves humble,if we allow ourselves to be teachable,if we remain receptive to correction,then I believe God will work around the faux pas and make something workable from our frequently boneheaded calls.(smiling yet again)

Psalm 119:24 (ESV) 24  Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.
God Bless




Friday, September 16, 2016

Make An Effort

Make An Effort                                                   09-16-16

Luke 12:58 (ESV) 58  As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison.

Some people! I mean the NERVE of some people!! Ever say or think that to yourself? Yeah,I feel ya. Look at the companion verse to Luke.

Matthew 5:25 (ESV) 25  Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.

You know Jesus said that we have to love everyone. In laws,out laws,friends and enemies. Love em all.But, BUT.. He didn't say that we have to LIKE em'all did He? (smile) Hmmm...Houston we have a problem.

The Apostle Paul expounded on our conundrum a little further.Look here.

Romans 12:18 (ESV) 18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Those first two words put it all in perspective don't you think? "If possible........." Again for effect. IF POSSIBLE .Folks there are some people that just won't leave it alone will they? for some reason they just continue to grate and grind on our LAST nerve don't they? Of course we,you and I are NEVER guilty of such behavior are we?We never rub someone the wrong way do we? God Forbid. Why,we're just the living image of Jesus towards everyone we meet in this life don't you know!! Yeah right....If you believe that about me,or you for that matter,then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell you. You gettin' my drift?  

Jesus had some practical teaching about us living in this world with those folks. He put it into a courtroom setting,but I believe He was talking about all sorts of temporal matters that we face in this life.You know ..our issues with all the heathen out there. (smile again)

My,oh,my what are we to do?..... Make an effort.Make an attempt. An attempt to what Ronnie? To settle. To come to terms is the way Jesus put it. If it is possible,MAKE PEACE. Peace with whom? Peace with your ACCUSER of course. WHAT!!!You mean make peace with the !$%&!(**)^^%$!! that did that to me!!! Yeah. 'fraid so. I know...  I KNOW! I wish I could tear that page out too.  And herein lieth the lesson.

 Look at verse 57.

Luke 12:57 (ESV) 57  “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?

Judge for ourselves what is right. You know somethin? It's all good IF the judge rules in our favor. Not so good if the decision goes against us. Ya feelin' me here? If possible, IF POSSIBLE, Jesus taught us to make peace. Settle the difference amongst ourselves. The turmoil and stress that comes with a fight,most times isn't worth it. Yes, there are times when our efforts at reconciliation will land on a deaf ear and a hard heart. Most times however,at least in my experience,differences can be worked out; thus saving us the heartburn and ulcers. This life is too short.

I read this a short while back and as I begin to write it here,the Holy Spirit is speaking directly to me that I personally need to heed my own words. "Don't sweat the small stuff. It's all small stuff."

Physician heal thyself.

Psalm 49:5 (ESV) 5  Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,

God Bless.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Feeling The Love                                             09-09-16

Malachi 4:2 (ESV) 2  But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

The last part of this Scripture crossed my mind last night as I walked down the frozen food aisle with Shelley at Kroger.I was marvelling at the eight year old in front of me as she skipped and waved her hands, frolicking as it were for no apparent reason. I looked over at Shelley with a smile and stated that she was "excited." SHE being Chloe.Shelley remarked that she was FEELIN' THE LOVE. When Shelley said that,as I was watching that young calf, the above words crossed my mind. ".......leaping like calves from the stall." I knew it was in the Word, just couldn't remember where. So I took out my trusty Strong's and found the verse in Malachi.

Let me go back to the beginning.Yesterday Chloe brought home the yearly, obligatory order form for coupon books. You know the ones. The 10 dollar fund raiser that all those with a kid in school are absolutely,positively obligated to purchase.(The schools know what they are doing,smile) So naturally I told her to put me and Shelley down for a couple of books. It's all good... Well....... it seems that in order to get the "popsicle party" next week, she(Chloe) had to sell THREE books by TOMORROW to qualify.(The schools know what they are doing,larger smile) Upon hearing this,Shelley had the grand idea to send it out on Facebook in hopes of garnering a response.Of course the tightwad in me silently but heartily concurred,seeing an immediate savings of ten dollars.(smiling again)  

Well,sure enough the responses rolled in and before we knew it,Chloe had "sold" six or seven coupon books.Now it was a matter of checking the post every five minutes or so,as visions of being awarded "Principal For A Day" for selling the most coupon books,danced in her head.A short while later,and 10 dollars richer,we decided to try the Chinese buffet;and the conversation going to,while there,and coming from, centered around her amazement at how many people bought their coupon books from her.I mean that was ALL she could talk about.On our way home,we stopped at Kroger to pick a few things up,and she was still beside herself. I am not exaggerating. She was skipping and jumping around,waving her hands,SINGING. It got to the point that I told her she needed to calm down because people would think that she had lost her mind.I am dead serious.(which is probably my problem, smiling) But, it didn't matter to her and as I watched her SEIZE THE MOMENT, I decided it didn't matter to me either. Just had to yell at her to keep from knocking someone down or running into a food display. LOL. So we got home and she went to bed,ecstatic that people wanted to buy their books from her. She was FEELIN' THE LOVE!

And herein lieth the lesson.

The Holy Ghost spoke something to my heart this morning. He told me that little girl was CAREFREE last night. Now, and this is important, she was not CARELESS. You see that child has some cares and issues even in her eight year old life. She is not careless. But last night the Lord Jesus used a few people to put the JOY and PEACE of God in her that ONLY He can give. The peace that passes all understanding.She was CAREFREE!

I witnessed that last night in an eight year old child. Like a calf released from it's stall.
Now if the Lord Jesus will do that for a child, do you think for one moment that He won't do that for you and me? I know I am long today but bear with me. Look at this verse.

Matthew 10:30 (ESV) 30  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

Think about what that verse is saying. God is concerned about the details of our individual lives with a precision that we can't appreciate or even comprehend. Each individual hair. His love and care for us.......we are the "lucidas" of His creation.

Brothers and sisters, if we will just let go and let God, He will take the cares and burdens of this life from off our necks and indeed make us like unstalled calves. CAREFREE. PTL.

Psalm 126:1-3 (ESV) 1
 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
2  Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3  The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.

God Bless

P.S. She just got off the bus and RAN to me to show me the "cool" bracelet,the award,and the free Brewster's Italian Ice she received for her sales efforts. HaHa! 




Friday, September 2, 2016

Salt Is Good

Salt Is Good                                                      09--2-16

Mark 9:50 (ESV) 50  Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Matthew 5:13 (ESV) 13  “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

"The dose makes the poison." In my reading this day I came across this apparently oft used cliche of toxicologists.In most instances,not all(their are some poisonous substances out there) in most instances is isn't what we take that poisons us but how much. Us laymen call it an overdose. That said,it was the actions or action of a professional athlete this week past that spurred this message.Whether it be right or wrong, truthful or hypocritical is not a part of this narrative,nor should it be.But it was salty,maybe too much so. At any rate... 

I did some research on the properties of salt.I'm sure you need no education on this but here they are anyway. Salt preserves,it heals wounds,creates thirst,melts coldness,and most relevant for today improves taste or flavor. It is the last property that the Holy Ghost spoke to my heart today. You see, it seems to me this is what Jesus was talking about in those verses. ".....but if the salt has lost its TASTE..."(caps mine)

I don't know about your taste buds,but just a LITTLE salt makes a steak mouth watering. Or for you healthy people out there,some salt on a nice salad makes it go down a little easier. SMILE Just kidding I love a good salad. But, you are getting my point aren't you.A little salt most times improves the flavor doesn't it? I don't know if Jesus here is talking about us being a preservative against decay or not. If that is His teaching,then the Church of this generation has failed at it's task, as a cursory glance of most any newspaper,anywhere in the world, will confirm.

 And herein lieth the lesson.

I believe the saltiness spoken of here is to be a flavor enhancer isn't it?It encourages us to try and add a little flavor to the lives of the people we interact with every day.To somehow improve their lot in life even if it is ever so small.How so Ronnie? Well, it's a kind word or deed. A telephone call.A visit in the hospital. On and on and on. Just to be real with people.To be a light to someone in our small corner of the world. We live in a world that equates this saltiness with being harsh or abrasive. It tries to browbeat and intimidate folks by "making a stand." But,usually it comes off as rudeness and self serving doesn't it? And that "stand" often becomes very,VERY wobbly under the light of public opinion doesn't it? Don't get me started.

At any rate I am reminded of a song Brother Harry Mushegan sang countless times in church. I believe it was "If I Can Help Somebody."

IF I CAN HELP SOMEBODY Alma Bazel Androzzo as rec by Gracie Fields 1948 also rec by- Michael Holliday Mahalia Jackson Josef Locke Sir Harry Secombe If I can help somebody as I pass along, If I can cheer somebody with a word or a song, If I can show somebody he is travelling wrong, Then my living shall not be in vain! Then my living shall not be in vain, Then my living shall not be in vain! If I can help somebody as I pass along, Then my living shall not be in vain! If I can do my duty as a Christian oft, If I can bring back beauty to a world up wrought, If I can spread love's message that the Master taught, Then my living shall not be in vain! Then my living shall not be in vain, Then my living shall not be in vain! If I can help somebody as I pass along, Then my living shall not be in vain! (Transcribed by Peter Akers - July 2011)

I can still hear him belting it out right now. That's what it's all about brothers and sisters.

Psalm 133:1-2 (ESV) 1 
 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! 2  It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
God Bless