Friday, April 28, 2017

Armchair Warriors

Armchair Warriors                                                    04-28-17

Armchair warriors often fail.

Two short passages of Scripture.

1 Chronicles 11:17-19 (ESV) 17  And David said longingly, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!”
18  Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the LORD
19  and said, “Far be it from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things did the three mighty men.

Here's another one.

2 Samuel 11:11 (ESV) 11  Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.

Just some thoughts today. This was provoked by an article I read this week about "old blood and guts." General George Patton. I read where he had actually been shot in the leg as a tank commander while LEADING his men in battle,actually ENGAGING the enemy physically on the battlefield. That type of leadership is in scarce quantity these days isn't it? I thought about the saber rattling that seems to never end. It's always easy for men or women to send OTHER MEN OR WOMEN into battle. As the saying goes "their guts,OUR BLOOD!" That was never so true as the war of my generation.We saber rattled in a small non descript oriental country and talked a good game for fifteen or so years didn't we? The guts of folk who sat in ivory towers,the blood of 58,000 and change. I only hope and pray that if we once again go over there,we do it with resolve. As "old blood and guts" reportedly said that he would LEAD his troops into battle anytime,anyplace. And herein lieth the lesson.

Those two passages of Scripture are some of the best lessons on being a true leader are they not? The Holy Spirit reminded me of these two passages while speaking to MY heart. These three men,on hearing that David was thirsty,risked their lives to bring him water from the well at Bethlehem. He was so moved by their loyalty and devotion,love is a better word,that he could not bring himself to drink it.Instead of benefiting from their heroism and sacrifice, he refused the water and poured it out.

Uriah the Hittite. We always seem to focus on the sin of David when reading this passage,but look at Uriah's mindset here. My compatriots and the Ark of the Lord are under the stars,I cannot, I WILL NOT enjoy the comforts of home while they are uncomfortable. And here is the simple,HARD lesson that was spoken to my heart again this day for the quadrillionth time.What's that Ronnie? Just this.

How can I tell someone that they should do something if I don't do it myself?! How can I tell someone that they should give,if MY hand is clenched shut? How can I tell someone that they should pray and read their Bible,if the dust is an inch thick on MY Bible and in MY prayer closet? What gives me the right to tell someone that they need to go to church,if I never darken the door? On and on and on.Do as I say,not as I do!You see my point here don't you? Yeah, I know. We would be much more willing and motivated to put ourselves in harm's way,if we saw our company commander doing the same thing.Right?? Well, it's the same for us in our realm of influence isn't it? Should we expect those with whom we have influence to sacrifice when we don't provide the example?

What was it the wise sage Ringo Starr once said?

"If you wanna sing the blues,then you got to pay the dues,and you know it don't come easy."

Armchair warriors often fail.

Psalm 141:3 (ESV) 3  Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

God Bless


Friday, April 21, 2017

Consider This

Consider This                                                        04-21-17

Hebrews 12:3 (ESV) 3  Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Well it seems that my schedule problems have been hear I am again.That was a title to a song wasn't it? Anyway. I woke up this morning(as my friend Pastor Doug says PTL for that!) I awoke this morning and one of the first things that crossed my still foggy mind was the fact that I did not want to write this blog today.A  lot is going on right now and I simply did not want to write.My normal motivation and excitement about writing was nowhere to be found. I had not considered and wrestled with what I would write about,(something I most times do) and over my first cup of coffee decided that I would put it off until next Friday or Wednesday or whatever. The prime consideration being that I would put it off.I told myself that in the grand scheme of things,my blog or lack of it would not be missed. The world would not be knocked off of it's orbit if my Friday article did not appear. And then something happened inside of me.A little voice whispered in my ear that if I did not write today,I might not ever write again.Then it occurred to me that indeed the world would not be knocked off of it's orbit without my words today. I was correct in that assumption,.......HOWEVER I WOULD BE KNOCKED OFF OF MINE! And herein lieth the lesson.

Remember the movie "The Passion of Christ?" Great movie.At the very first of that movie the scene in the garden was for me the most powerful scene of the entire movie.As Jesus was agonizing,the devil started whispering. he asked Jesus"Do you believe that one man can bear the full burden of sin?...No one man can carry this burden,I tell you.It is far too heavy. Saving their souls is too costly.........." Remember that? Killer scene.Do you think that Jesus was tempted to agree? I can't imagine that He was not.I wonder if the thought of "putting it off until next Friday" ever crossed His mind.Maybe,maybe not,but you see the point don't you?

Understand the temptation to quit or maybe just to put it off is very real isn't it? And many,wait a minute, not many that is the wrong word,...MOST times there are good,even compelling reasons for doing just that.Just what Ronnie? Quitting. Putting something off. You know.

Yes there are times that God does tell us that it is time to move on. But,in all honesty,not very often.If the truth were known,it is the exception rather than the rule. Hear me here. I have been writing this blog for almost eight years.Has the world been changed because of it?.....I doooonnnnttt think so!(lol) But,BUT it has become something that I do. It,in some strange way, has become a part of me.Does that make any sense? Eight years and all of a sudden because of a schedule change I begin to entertain thoughts of quitting. Or of "putting it off" 'til' next Friday. You gettin'my drift here?  

That's what that Scripture is taking about isn't it? Look again.

Hebrews 12:3 (ESV) 3  Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

That word consider means to estimate or to contemplate.You see this context in Hebrews is talking about our struggle with sin and hindrances.But,it is instructive in all areas of our lives isn't it? You see,to my natural eye,this blog is insignificant. A speck of dust.But,who knows? It is possible that the next Billy Graham or Charles Spurgeon might be influenced by these words. I don't know. But,I DO KNOW this.What Ronnie? NO ONE will be influenced by it if I DON'T WRITE IT. Ya feelin' me here? It's the exact same for you dear brother and sister.What you are doing for the Lord and for others may seem trivial. Trifling is a better way to put it. The devil will tell you that what you do,no matter what it is, is TRIFLING won't he? Go look up the meaning of that word.

You see folks in our case, the enemy paints us a picture of the pettiness and the insignificance of our efforts.In Jesus's case it wasn't trifling it was the enormous load.he told Jesus that it was impossible for one man to carry. You see it. It's a variation on a theme isn't it. All designed to get us to quit.

You see brothers and sisters this walk that God has called us to can be tiring and frustrating at times. It can seem TRIFLING. But, we are admonished to consider Jesus. To contemplate the Lord Jesus and the battle He fought.SO THAT WE DON'T GROW WEARY AND FAINTHEARTED.Weary and fainthearted in what Ronnie? Well,...perhaps in writing a blog. Maybe in practicing a guitar,or teaching a children's class.You fill in the blank.

Don't you know that in our way of thinking, it was a trifling matter to leave the glory of heaven to be born in a poverty ridden household,in a manger on the backside of nowhere.To the world of His day,He was just another delusional nut with a messiah complex that was crucified on a cross in the middle of nowhere. Trifling to a lost world. Let us consider that...... no not that,......let us consider HIM the next time we grow weary and fainthearted.When the enemy of our souls whispers in our ears those words of discouragement. When he assures us that what we are doing means absolutely nothing. A waste of time. TRIFLING. The next time that happens,and there will be a NEXT TIME,let us CONSIDER HIM. Let us contemplate Jesus,the author and finisher of our faith. Amen?Amen!!

 Psalm 30:10 (ESV) 10  Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!”

God Bless