Friday, February 24, 2017

What Do I Have To Do

What Do I Have To Do?                                  02-24-17

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV) 38  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I read a Facebook post this morning by David Wilkerson entitled "The Bewitching Of  The Saints." It seemed to mesh perfectly with what I was going to write about today.But,alas I am computer illiterate and could not figure out how to copy it to this message.Go to world if you are interested in reading it.That being said.

Have you ever asked the above question? You know..."what do i have to do?" "WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?" You know it's most often a cry or shout for approval. What do I have to do to.........make you proud?  to make it right? make you love me? Remember that song? Elton John maybe or Ray Charles? What do I have to do to make you love me? I can hear it now in my ear.

I was talking to a friend this week past and they related to me their struggles with relationship.They had been let down and disappointed.Where was the love?Let me tell you something about human relationships. If Solomon couldn't understand it......

Proverbs 30:18-19 (NASB) 18  There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand:
19  The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid.

smile.just kidding......JUST KIDDING.

No,it's not about human relationships that I am speaking of. In this world with humans of all persuasions,the love we seek will be imperfect and flawed at best.You hearin me here? But,I believe that is a question that people in general and Christians specifically ask of God.You ever been struggling and asked God that question?


And herein lieth the lesson.

In this world today and especially in western culture, the idea of earning is driven into our minds and spirits.We must earn our living. We must earn our advancement. We must earn our spot on the team.It seems everything must be earned. It fosters an intensely competitive spirit. Now many,many times that is not a bad thing. It drives us to try and better ourselves in this world in which we live. Unfortunately,in this life there really are no trophies for participation. But, that is not the case in the spiritual realm is it.There are things in God's world that simply cannot be earned.TRY AS WE MIGHT!

As a matter of fact God is very straightforward,even blunt about the fact that we CAN'T earn ANYTHING in HIS SIGHT. And just what would that be Ronnie? Well,for starters how about salvation,righteousness,justification,sanctification,perseverance,and all those other $10 dollar words we throw about. But probably the most difficult word that we strive with is L O V E.

Remember the question? What do I have to do.....? Here's the short answer.


Pause and think about that.Here's the verses again.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV) 38  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

".....nor anything else in all creation........"Nothing that God has created can separate you from His love. That's easy enough until we realize that takes in us. US! We, you and me. There is nothing that we,you and I(we are created beings) can do that will separate us from the love of God in His son Jesus.

Do we really believe that? Has that truth really taken root in our souls. Do we really deep down in our core EXPERIENCE the love that the LORD JESUS has for us? I will leave you with this insight I discovered that I believe answers those questions.

Do you work out or do you work up? Whaddya sayin' here Ronnie? Just this.

In my spiritual walk are my efforts always directed up. Am I concerned with pleasing God by praying more,or reading my Bible more, or attempting to be more holy etc., etc.,

Or are my efforts more directed at sharing the love that God has for me outward towards others that may be struggling or may not know Jesus as Savior.

You see brothers and sisters,if I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior I have already pleased God as much as I am going to be able to please Him. My ONLY reconciliation comes through the cross of Calvary. I can do NOTHING ELSE to please God.

Read the whole 5th Chapter of 2nd Corinthians. Here's a sample.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (ESV) 20  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

If we ever truly come to grips with this truth. If we ever get it on the inside of us that we are reconciled then our works will cease to be upwards. They will instead,prompted by the Holy Ghost, be outward toward a lost and dying world.

Brothers and sisters, God loves you and me. Can't earn it in any shape,fashion or form. He just does.

Psalm 36:5 (ESV) 5  Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

God Bless



Friday, February 17, 2017

Dial 53787

 Dial 53787                                                  02-17-17 

Proverbs 29:18 (ESV) 18  Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

No, this is not an appeal to Dial A Prophet for a 5 dollar reading. lol. You'll figure it out soon enough. At any rate this is a favorite verse of mine but I rarely quote it correctly. I don't misquote it, I just usually don't quote it in it's entirety. It's like that verse in Revelation. I leave off the last part. Especially the one in Revelation. 

Revelation 12:11 (ESV) 11  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Anyway,not important,just an introductory rant. I remember Memaw,my mother,in the last years of her life struggled mightily with loneliness and purpose. She had people around her but she continually fought depression because she felt that she had no reason for being here. She had no purpose or vision. No real reason to get up in the morning. Therefore,she felt very lonely and alone in the world.My sister and I had many conversations with her trying to encourage her,but mostly to no avail.That feeling of loneliness surfaced again in my travels this week;and I remembered the phrase my friend and mentor Pastor Doug had spoken to me on many different occasions.

"You have to have a reason to get up in the morning."

Simple and straightforward,but many times especially as we get older,it can be perplexing to come up with one. You know.A reason.Kids are all grown up living their own lives. Those rugrats we call grandkids also grow up and get their own lives.And here we sit. All dressed up,with no party to go to. You feelin'me here?Loneliness and lack of purpose however don't discriminate due to age. It's there for everybody isn't it? That's when you and I have to dial 53787. And herein lieth the lesson.

That verse in Proverbs is actually directed at a nation. Without a leadership that has a vision for the future,the people become lawless. They throw off restraint. You see the key is the word prophetic. The KJV misses it a little bit here. That phrase "prophetic vision" can also be translated revelation. The KJV leaves that out. I did a little study and it seems the intent of the author was to distinguish just where the vision was coming from. You see,he wanted to accent the fact that this vision or revelation had to be a message FROM THE LORD to His people. The 5 dollar for 30 minute revelation from the "prophet" on the other end of the line is not in view here.

You see brothers and sisters,if you are feeling lonely and all alone;if you can't find a purpose or reason to get up on the morning,then you need a prophetic vision.You need a revelation from the Lord concerning your future. All you need do is get alone and seek His wisdom. I don't know about you,but many times I look everywhere and to everyone BUT God trying to find a reason.

But sometimes you have to be a Tennessee Volunteer. (I know I'm shameless)Look at this.

Psalm 110:3 (NASB) 3  Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew.

The Bible encourages us to ask God if we don't have any purpose or vision. It tells us to volunteer our services to Him. Why not? You,me,WE can't find any purpose,meaning,or reason anyway can we? What's it's going to hurt? If we will pour out our hearts to Him and  take time to listen,I'll bet He can find something for us to do.All we have to lose is discouragement,depression and loneliness. You feel me?

I am now reminded of Paul's admonition to Timothy. Listen to this.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV) 6  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,
7  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Even Timothy got a little down in the dumps didn't he? I believe that he may have been a little discouraged because of a lack of purpose. He may have been feeling alone and lonely. I'm not sure,but it seems plausible enough.Paul had to remind Timothy that he had a gift from God Almighty. He had a reason for getting up. But,he had to use and work that gift. He had to fan it into a flame.

Get alone with God.If you feel like life is passing you by, let Him remind you of the gift He has placed in you. Then fan it into a flame in your soul.

Dial 53787.

Psalm 123:2 (ESV) 2  Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.

God Bless

Friday, February 10, 2017

Area Of Influence                                          02-10-17

2 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) 13  But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you.

I got angry last night. As my son Adrian's all time favorite rock band, Pink Floyd so aptly put it, I had a Momentary Lapse Of Reason. You a Pink Floyd fan Rick? Anyway, looking back on it,I could have handled it better. Shelley told me that maybe I needed to "work on it" a little bit more.(smile) Can anybody out there relate or is it only me? At any rate, as I was laying in bed this morning, this verse grabbed me. Actually it was the phrase "area of influence" that caught my attention.

If you read this passage of Scripture,you will notice that Paul is anxious for the Corinthian Church concerning  a couple of issues. The context is speaking to what we would today call proselytizing. More bluntly, Paul was worried that some others were coming in with a different message,trying to steal church members. Or that these super apostles might be wanting to march in and benefit themselves after he(Paul) had done the hard labor of planting and nurturing the church. I read an article many years ago that claimed that in America, 50% (maybe the figure was higher I can't remember) of church growth was due to one church proselytizing another;or due to people getting upset with their present church and hopping to another one,only to have that church take them in without attempting to persuade them to reconcile with the "offending" church.My point here today is this:the offenses,the attacks seem always to take place in our area of influence don't they? It is unclear who the "super apostles" were that Paul spoke of, but he was concerned for his Corinthian flock. He had a godly jealously for those under his care,his area of influence.He reminds them that he was the first to preach the Gospel to them. He was their spiritual Father

1 Corinthians 4:15 (ESV) 15  For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

With that contextual footing laid,I believe there is an application for our lives here,from a slightly different angle. We all have an area of influence don't we? A sphere,or a realm of people that God has measured out to us, our area of influence. It may be a huge mega-mega-church;or it may extend no further than our living room. No matter the size,it is where God has placed us to be an influence in the lives of others. And herein lieth the lesson.

I have said this before. It has been my experience that the enemy is rarely moved when I send $10 to a charity to minister to a non descript person whom I will never meet or have any interaction with. I'm not too sure if the enemy is overly concerned about my feelings and sympathies for someone in some hell hole half way around the world. Why,you may ask? Simply this. Those folks aren't in my area of influence. While I can certainly pray for those folk that are suffering those atrocities, I have no direct influence in their lives. The attack isn't going to come in those areas. No,no.

BUT. When I start praying for those that I live,eat and sleep with....When I begin to contribute and support those churches and ministries that have an interest in me and my area of influence...when I make an effort to share the Gospel by word and deed with my family,friends and co workers THERE is where the accuser is going to concentrate his efforts. It is with those folk...THAT is with whom the devil is going to stoke and ignite the conflicts. Ya feelin' me here?

Excuse my crudeness here,but I don't believe God has too much of a problem when I say a bad word after I have stubbed my toe out in my back yard.Nope. Where it gets distressing is when I have a lapse, and in a fit of anger, I go off on a loved one sitting across from me in my living room. Does that make sense? Yeah, I hear ya. Amen or Oh me! LOL.

It happens. And, more than likely it won't be the last time it happens. Yes,God,and with His grace,my unfortunate victim forgives.But,BUT, I fear that God and God alone is the only one that FORGETS my transgression. The damage has been done hasn't it? I can't take it back can I. The truth of the matter is this, it's not the child,or man,or woman in Syria that you and I are going to hurt is it? No,no,it's the child,man,or woman in the next room isn't it?They are the ones that suffer when we miss the mark are they not?

Brothers and sisters,I'm writing about where I live here.I haven't attained to that level of where I never lose it. Maybe you have....I have not. But, as God showed your's truly once again this morning, it's in my area of influence,those that I have direct contact with,that is where the trickster is laying in the tall weeds to pounce on me unawares. 

I...WE should endeavor to be vigilant.

1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) 8  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

The Apostle Paul said somewhere that he was not ignorant of satan's devices. And neither should we. Amen and Amen.

Thank God that He is God!

Psalm 65:2-3 (ESV) 2  O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come.
3  When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions.

God Bless


Friday, February 3, 2017

Don't Be A But

Don't Be A But                                                02-03-17

Well, here I am on Friday again. Due to a change in my work schedule I am back to blogging on Friday once more.We shall see what next week has in store. smile.

Some years back the Holy Spirit put that phrase in my heart. It was for me. I was a but. And,to be up front with you,to a large extent I still am a but!!Huh? Whadda you say Ronnie? O.K. Try and go along with me here.

There are words that we use in everyday language,that while hardly noticed,carry a lot of weight in their usage,especially in the Bible.I remember a preacher used to always say this about the word therefore,"When you read Therefore,find out what it's there for." "But" is another one of those words that carries a lot of weight.

The word but is a conjunction. A conjunction is a word that connects contrasting phrases. That is,phrases that are strikingly different.I read a Jewish commentary years ago on what the Rabbi's thought about this one word.What they had to say was interesting and herein lieth the lesson.

The general consensus of what I read was this. The word "But"most,if not all cases wipes out everything that has been said up to that point.We make a statement,we add the word but and everything that we have said up to that point is wiped out.Then we follow the but with a new statement that becomes our purpose clause. That last statement is what we're really thinking. Ya feel me here? O.K. That being said.

 I've been reading in 2nd Corinthians recently.I took a look at a couple of chapters and here are a few examples of what I am talking about.

2 Corinthians 1:9 (ESV) 9  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 (ESV) 5  Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (ESV) 8  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
9  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

On and on. I have not counted,BUT I am sure there are thousands of examples and usages of this word in the Scripture. And here is my point.It's all about perspective isn't it? It's all about that word BUT and how we see it in our lives isn't it? If we are not very careful,we can begin to use that word as an excuse or a crutch to believe a lie that the enemy tries to place in our hearts and minds.

"Well, I was going to give BUT..."
"I believe God spoke to me to do this BUT..."
"I've been praying and believing for this BUT..."

Sound familiar? You feelin' me here? I don't know about you,BUT I can certainly relate. You see when it comes to God and His promises,instructions and whatnot the devil always inserts the word BUT into our thinking. he tries to wipe out every thing that God has promised us in our lives by providing  a crutch or an excuse to live in unbelief. And many if not all times he will introduce us to that very word. BUT.

We will be faced with obstacles and circumstances in our lives and the enemy will say BUT. Look at this. Think about some of the giants in your life and put your name in where you see Andrew.

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?”

Read the story. The disciples were faced with an impossible circumstance. Their faith was being tested.I can almost picture this in my mind. I can see myself in this scenario perfectly. Jesus asked the disciples how they were going to feed all those people. Andrew,(Ronnie)standing to the side is wondering what Jesus is up to. He(ME) thinks maybe"no way we can feed these people...." Then all of a sudden this kid comes up and offers his lunch. A glimmer of hope arises in Andrew's (Ronnie's) soul. He's seen Jesus perform some pretty miraculous stuff along the way(me too!) Maybe...just maybe...then Andrew(Ronnie) looks out on all those people and.... wait for it.....wait for it........BUT..what?... BUT Jesus...BUT WHAT ARE THEY FOR SO MANY? Andrew (Ronnie) just wiped out everything that had preceded that word.

You gettin' my drift here? God speaks to our heart. He wants to show us His power and presence in our lives. His promises are not yes and no. They are Yes are they not?

2 Corinthians 1:18-20 (ESV) 18  As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No.
19  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.
20  For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

We pray,we have a need,God gives us an encouragement that He is going to answer us and BAM!! here comes the enemy. Or maybe WE begin to second guess and doubt and all of a sudden we're saying BUT. That's what the devil does best. Ahhh..but listen..if we,you and me can just keep our eyes on the prize. If we can just let Jesus fill us up, if we can yield to Him and allow Him to change our perspective. THAT is where and when we will find the miracle working power of the Lord God.

Brothers and sisters it's all in how we see it. It's all about how we use those words in our hearts. That word BUT can rob you of a promise and blessing that God has in store for you OR it can be the lever that opens up the windows of heaven in your life and in those around you. BUT,it is up to you and me.

Psalm 34:10 (ESV) 10  The young lions suffer want and hunger; BUT those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (caps mine)

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

God Bless