Friday, September 29, 2017

You Go And Do Likewise

You Go And Do Likewise                               09-29-17

Luke 10:37 (ESV)

And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

My post this week is not an original thought. Most in fact are not. lol. It was sparked by a couple of stories (true) that were told me this week past. Let me see if I can relate them to you. A friend of mine had a conversation with a close friend of his. They were talking about all the upheaval that we as a nation and the world in general is forever going through. Of course all the various causes and  protests took center stage in the conversation.They each shared their convictions and thoughts on the matter. Then my friend's friend shared a profound conviction. He said he was considering opening up his home,the place where he and his family live,to an immigrant family or individual,I can't remember which. His point being the fact that he had a couple of extra bedrooms in his house and instead of TALKING about the plight of some people,he felt it incumbent to DO something about it,as best he knew how.When I heard this,all I had were these words... that was and is the REAL DEAL. Put your own description in. WWJD, or any of the host of other cliches that work. And herein lieth the lesson.

As my friend told me this amazing story I was reminded of a prominent politician from a few years back. A household name that you would recognize immediately. I remember this politician getting behind a microphone and scolding people for their lack of concern for the immigrants and preached that we all should be more tolerant and sensitive to their plight.Acceptance and tolerance, if memory serves, were the words he used.Implying that how could we as Americans,turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the plight of those that were seeking asylum in OUR neighborhoods?  Now that was all well and good. I could not really argue with his premise although I did not totally agree with his proposed solutions. But, I went along as best I could until.........until.....................until what Ronnie? Until I was taken on a video tour of his neighborhood and house. His GATED neighborhood
with a high fence around his house. Some say ten or twelve feet high. My concern after hearing his preaching at us common folk was just the fence to keep him in or to keep others out? Anyway back to my original story.

As I considered what my friend had told me about what his friend was considering I was reminded of the above verse. "You go and do likewise" Who said that again? Oh yeah...
it was JESUS. Jesus said that! "You go and do likewise"

Here is what the world and it's minions will tell you. Fill in this blank.

"Ronnie,you go and............likewise."

Talk,stand,kneel,protest,burn,hate,desecrate, on and on and on and on and on..................
ad nauseum.

Brothers and sisters,it is easy to protest the injustice suffered by others and DEMAND that something be done to ease their plight as long as SOMEONE ELSE DOES IT!!!!! Can I get a big AMEN? Those that point a critical finger at others.....those that stand up and tell US what WE should be doing......and how WE should be feeling.............. can easily do so as long as they have NO SKIN IN THE GAME!!!!! YA FEELIN' ME HERE? However,it always seems to THIN OUT the crowd when the demand is made of THEM. The screams of criticism grow strangely dim when the summons and the cost,both physical and material is laid at THEIR doorstep.

Folks my point is just this. Jesus Christ the Lord cut right to the chase didn't he? He saw past the hypocrisy that we as humans ALL (yours truly included) possess. He went straight to the HEART of the matter did He not? The friend of my friend in the above story has got it right. That is the REAL DEAL. Instead of pointing a finger,taking a knee,standing for this or that, he considered actually DOING something to help a fellow human being in need. No fanfare. No T.V. cameras.What did Jesus say again?

"You go and DO(CAPS MINE) likewise. Ronnie,just WHAT was Jesus telling us,ME AND YOU to do? Well, I held that out on purpose until now. As Paul Harvey used to always say"...and that's the rest of the story." Look at this.

Luke 10:30-37 (ESV) 30  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
31  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
32  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
34  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
36  Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
37  He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

That my brothers and sisters is what Jesus would do.

Psalm 123:3-4 (ESV) 3  Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4  Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.

God Bless

Friday, September 22, 2017

Everybody Has One

Everybody Has One                                            09-22-17

Why Ronnie! Whatever on earth are you talking about?? Just this. A God given gift. Let me start at the beginning. More Scripture than usual today.

1 Timothy 4:14-15 (ESV) 14  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.
15  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.

Everybody has a gift. A GOD GIVEN gift. How do I know that? The Bible tells me so! Look.

Romans 12:4-6 (ESV) 4  For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,
5  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
6  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them

Everyone in the Body of Christ,i.e.the Church,has been given a gift. Most of us,according to my experience have multiple gifts,but EVERYBODY has at least one.To be used according to the grace given us. Given...NOT acquired through our merit or effort or holiness.A message in itself. I digress.

 So, God has given us a gift that He desires we use in the service of others in the Body of Christ. And herein lieth the lesson.

Pastor Doug has a wonderful little test to determine where your gifting lay.According to Romans 12. Maybe we can persuade him to post it on Facebook one of these days. It's about a child who drops something on a brand new white carpet and asks how you would react if you were there. Anyway,point is,we all have been VALUABLY gifted;and Paul up there in Timothy is encouraging Timothy negatively to not neglect his particular gift. You will also see that over in 2nd Timothy he encourages Timothy not only to not neglect his gifting but to FAN it into flame.

2 Timothy 1:6 (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,

Now,for the sake of context,Timothy was being called to ministry,full time as we would say today. But,it is not in error to find an application here in all our lives. We all have a gift to be employed for the benefit of the Body. No,we are not all Billy Graham or Charles Spurgeon,no,some of us are servers,some are teachers,exhorters,on and on. Some are helpers. You gettin' my drift? Some are blog writers. It matters not WHAT your particular gift is...... God decided that long ago and has planted you where you will be of great blessing and benefit to those around you.

Now the enemy,or the world,or your natural mind will whisper to you that what you do isn't important.Your "gifting" is foolish,not at all valuable or prized and suited for the rubbish heap.And to be quite honest,there are those out there that will agree with that assessment of you and your efforts;and,will VAULT at the opportunity to tell you so............ BUT GOD ISN'T ONE OF THEM!! 

Your gift,my gift,our gift is particularly precious in the sight of God.It's important. It's VALUABLE. That is why Paul is intense in his encouragement of Timothy. Look again.  

1 Timothy 4:15 (ESV) 15  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.

Practice. The English words for this word are diligence,meditate,imagine,to revolve in the mind. As my friend Todd says "give due diligence"

A parting thought. Look up at verse 6.

1 Timothy 4:6 (ESV) 6  If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

You see Paul was admonishing Timothy to "put it before the brothers." In Timothy's case,it was to teach and preach sound doctrine to the flock. In our case it may be to keep a nursery. To write. To give. To do acts of mercy and compassion. It matters not what.What matters is that we fan into flame and don't neglect our divinely appointed gift,endeavoring to serve the Body of Christ as best we can. To offer it before the brothers.Just remember this,from the pulpit to the back pew we are ALL equal in the sight of God. As a matter of fact He bestows more honor on the "weaker or less presentable" members.

1 Corinthians 12:22-24 (ESV) 22  On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23  and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
24  which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,

Go study this passage some time. The less presentable members are covered. They are clothed. They are the behind-the-scenes- folks. God deems them worthy of greater honor.
Why? So no division occurs in the body. Take a good look at it sometime. Maybe someday we should celebrate a bathroom cleaner appreciation day. lol.

Proverbs 18:16 (ESV) 16  A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.

God Bless

Friday, September 15, 2017

What Changed?

What Changed ?                                                     09-15-17

Malachi 3:6 (ESV) 6  “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

Just some personal musings from the heart this week.

Muse- To Ponder,consider,study,contemplate.

 Look at that verse. That word "therefore" is relevant to the truth God is speaking. It means "for this reason,or"because of." Insert for this reason in the verse. I do not change; for this reason ......are not consumed. The strong implication here is that the children of Jacob and by rote all humans DO change. And it's only because of God's steadfastness and mercy that we are not consumed. And herein lieth the lesson.

I was speaking with an attorney who happens to ride my bus on a daily basis. We talk about stuff on his ride from office to courthouse. In the middle of a question I had asked,he answered me with another question(what attorneys do best) His reply was"What changed?" The circumstances are not important here but my reply was"nothing." He looked at me and said "there's your answer."

You see that's what happens isn't it? How so Ronnie? That's what the devil tries to do. He's done it before and is very adroit at it. Whaddya talking about Ronnie. Look at this.

Genesis 3:4-5 (ESV) 4  But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

He changed the truth of God into a lie. He spoke HALF TRUTHS and distorted what God had told Adam and Eve. O.K. Ronnie what's your point. Well,the same thing is happening right here and right now in our world. Where we live. We are and have been changing in an attempt to stay politically correct or culturally relevant. How many times do you hear those two phrases over the airwaves,through the print media and in the pulpits? You feelin' me here? You see folks it isn't God or His Word that has changed. No,no. Well, Ronnie what is it? IT'S US! We're the ones who have changed. Now don't misconstrue. All change is not bad,not by any means. But, I challenge you to take a look back at the world in which we live and tell me that change has not taken place. But NOT in God's World. His nature,His Truth,His Word has not changed.

You see we as Christians have different likes and dislikes. We have different views and perspectives. We come from  different circumstances and different cultures.We interpret His Word in different ways.The truth of God and His Word may have a different application in our lives,but His Truth never changes. Let me try and give you an example of what I am trying to say.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that the true worshipers would worship in spirit and truth.

John 4:23 (ESV) 23  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Well,there are people that worship God quietly with reverence,then there are folks who worship exuberantly with a loud voice.(smile) It doesn't so much matter how we will worship,but it's the fact that we worship at all. You see we have preconceived ideas about HOW we should approach God in worship. The enemy will be sure to cause a division about what is the RIGHT way to approach God,and if we allow it,we will be so caught up in proving that our way is right that we end up arguing instead of worshiping! Amen?

Some folk will tell you that God requires ten percent of your income. Others will say you must give cheerfully and generously.We can debate that from now until Jesus comes. All the while the important point is that you BECOME A GIVER! If you are sincerely looking at how much,ask God. He has any number of ways to answer that question. Just as in the old days,God is still pleased with sacrifice. The only difference is the content of the sacrifice. Now it is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. It is the sacrifice of selflessness as best as we can offer it.The list goes on and on and on.

God doesn't NEED us to DO anything! He can make the rocks and stones cry out if He so desires. He owns ALL THE GOLD AND SILVER and the cattle on a thousand hills.



He's going over all the earth looking for someone whose heart is blameless before Him. Blameless? Yes. As my friend said the other day,not sin free, but SINCERE.
Someone who will seek God because they want to.Not from duty or compulsion,but FREELY. They simply want to be around God no matter what. If we want to be Godly then we have to be around God don't you think? Just He and us.  

How do we know what is the right way.Well,in my experience,about 99.99% of the time it is plainly spelled out in the Word of God. If you really want to hear the pure truth,get by yourself with a Bible.Begin to read it and allow the Holy Spirit to speak truth to your heart and mind. Let him illuminate you as to how His UNCHANGING truth applies to your life. TALK TO HIM.That voice in your heart will ALWAYS confirm what is written on those pages. If we,you and I will make that a discipline in our lives; if we will discipline ourselves and it takes discipline,to still ourselves......TO BE STILL BEFORE THE LORD, then He will train us to discern what His truth is for our lives. And when the enemy with his half truths comes calling,and SURELY he will,we will be better able to resist the temptation to change what God has spoken to us. Remember,what He speaks to us in the dark will stand in the light of day.

Psalm 42:1-2 (ESV) 1
 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
2  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

God Bless

Friday, September 8, 2017

No Dawn

No Dawn                                                           11-8-17

Proverbs 19:3 (ESV) 3  When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.

 I sat this week past, and listened to a friend of mine recount the drama in his life that was  due to the pain and tribulation of some loved ones close to him. Pain and tribulation that was largely self inflicted. I smiled as he did his best Fred Sanford impersonation of "the big one" I laughed as he staggered about clutching his chest and looking heavenward all the while saying that this was it,this was the big one.I sat in disbelief as this gentle soul became a little less gentle while regurgitating the events of his week. In between the smiling,laughing,and shaking my head in disbelief,I was reminded of the above verse. The reason being the fact that my friend has many times tried to introduce God into the solution while speaking to his hurting loved ones,only to be met with the usual response of rolling one's eyes,and being rebuffed for bringing God into it. I have used this verse in the past and once again it seems germane to this conversation today. And herein lieth the lesson. 

This is one of those verses that cuts directly to the chase doesn't it? No beating around the bush. It has been and still is personally applicable to my life and I would wager to your's also. We go out and do foolhardy(a nice word for stupid or worse, rebellious) things and when the consequences of such foolishness comes knocking,we get all hurt and mad with God! Wait a minute!! What did God do to deserve such blame?God didn't go buy that car or house that He couldn't afford. God didn't go out and have one too many and get behind the wheel. You fill in the blank with whatever folly fits. IT'S NOT GOD'S FAULT IS IT? And this is where we compound matters and get into trouble.

As I read the above verse,for some reason I checked the Scripture references on this verse in my Bible. I rarely do this,but on this day the Bible referred to Isaiah the 8th Chapter. I turned over there and read these words. 

Isaiah 8:20 (ESV) 20  To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

Some context here is helpful. God is angry as He sometimes was with the children of Israel. He's trying to warn them off before He pronounces judgment on the nation. He explicitly is instructing the Prophet to not walk in the way of the people.  You see the people of that day were going about doing what we do today. How's that Ronnie? Well,they were heading headlong toward destruction while seeking the counsel and direction of everyone BUT God. You see that is what happens isn't it? We do something foolish. Or worse we get involved in sin and sin takes us a little farther than we want to go.Suddenly,we are in it's clutches with no way out. And many times we will go off seeking help in the wrong places,all the while blaming our only source of help. God Almighty. If we persist,things get darker and darker. Our lives have no dawn. There is no deliverance from the darkness that envelopes us. Ever been there? Well, I certainly have.

We are to blame for our misery,but our heart RAGES against the LORD. I remember my mentor Pastor Doug telling me that God was the LAST person that I wanted to get mad with. Not because He was going to destroy me. No. It was because He was the ONLY ONE that could HELP me! Ya feelin' me here?

I will leave you with an old cliche heard many times from the pulpit and oh so very,very true.

When you or I sin. When you or I do something supremely stupid. When we are laying face down on the pavement wondering where the truck came from.....when the piper must be paid, don't RUN AWAY from GOD no,no. RUN TO HIM!! Should not a people(that's you and me) inquire of God?

Don't roll your eyes and blame Him. Look up and ask Him for help.Amen?

Isaiah 1:18-20 (ESV) 18  “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
19  If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
20  but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

It's like the dog biting the hand that feeds him.

Psalm 51:1 (ESV) 1
 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

God Bless

Friday, September 1, 2017


Priceless                                                 09-01-17

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.

Read Pastor Doug's message on No Good Thing,timely message and fits perfectly with what happened to me this week. May be a little long today please bear with me.
Priceless. Remember the commercial? It went something like this. Dinner at The Four Seasons $250.00. Cruise to the Caribbean $1500.00. Look on your son's face when he gets to meet his all time favorite sports legend.............PRICELESS!! Let(name the credit card,I don't remember) make it all possible. Remember that one? That above verse came to mind as I enjoyed one of those priceless moments this week past.

I saw a man so ecstatic about something that God did for him that he reminded me of a young calf or horse when they get let out of the stall to run. You know how they do. They run and jump and frolic about. Absolutely thrilled to be free. That's the picture that came to mind as my friend told me his story. Let me start at the beginning.

I have mentioned my friend Shields a time or two in my posts. Shields is a former neighbor of mine whom God got a hold of a few years back. God Almighty has changed this man's life. Let me stop here and get this off my chest. People can disagree with your doctrine, they can disagree with your confession or the way you choose to worship God,they can disagree with your lifestyle ......on and on and on.But let me tell you something... the one fact that they can't disagree with is the POWER of a life that GOD has changed from the inside out. And when GOD decides to bless you as HE did my friend this week past,it closes the mouth of all the critics,boo birds in the cheap seats and naysayers. Amen?? Now.....I feel better. Read on,it gets much better.

About three years ago my friend Shields and myself along with my wife Shelley decided to start meeting once a week for about an hour to do nothing but pray. We would come together on Tuesday evening and pray for all sorts of things.Our needs ,wants and whatnot. But,mainly it was intercessory in nature. We especially focused on our children. Shield's children,my children,Shelley's children. Well,time progressed and we got many answers to prayer. Then not too long ago Shields who is in his late 70's had a couple of mini strokes(mini??) Anyway,the strokes,while not debilitating,slowed him down a good deal. We had been faithful in prayer on those Tuesday evenings,but after the strokes it changed. Not being able to get around as easily, Shields became some what of a shut-in. He did not have many visitors during the week and had gone down hill physically,so our hour of prayer slowly became an hour of visitation and fellowship. Nothing wrong with that.We talked about world events,politics,Jesus whatever. But,the fact remained that we were not praying on Tuesday night anymore. And herein lieth the lesson.

As I told you we prayed for our children in these times. What I didn't tell you is that Shields had not seen or talked to any of his three boys in TWENTY THREE YEARS. You heard me......TWENTY THREE YEARS. Not as much as a word. He wanted so badly to be able to reestablish contact with them; but,it seemed that it just wasn't in the cards. A lot of water under the bridge,and better left alone. Or so Shields thought.

As is my custom, I go over there Wednesday afternoon(our time has changed also) to see Shields for our weekly visit.I sit down and he asks me a couple of questions about his cable bill and what not, then he says he has something he wants to tell me. O.K. I say..shoot.

Very nonchalantly he tells me that he went to church this past Sunday. Enjoyed seeing the people,music was good,Pastor had a good message you know the usual small talk.Then he says after he got home,and while he was standing at the kitchen sink,he heard a knock on his door. Understand,Shields is totally blind in one eye and has about 40 % vision in the other. So,as he is walking to the door he is trying to see who it is,but can only make a shape out. He opens the door,the figure still a blurry blur. The person before him says,"You don't know me do you?" Shields trying to put the voice with a face responds with "No,I'm sorry I don't." The blur then says "I'm Chris Templeton your son." ...................

Stunned silence. Not really knowing what to do or say,Shields awkwardly invites this man whom he has not seen in TWENTY THREE YEARS into his home.The young man starts to unravel a tale about why he is there. A story that only GOD ALMIGHTY could have put together. Those details aren't important,but,it seems that after twenty three years,Chris has now moved to Knoxville and lives about 10 minutes from his father. He's married with a good job and wants as he puts it"to get to know his Dad." Wait there's more.

Chris as he is introducing his wife to her Father-In Law.informs him that he will be traveling back to Murfreesboro to get Shields Jr. and Kevin. He is going to get his brothers and they are going to have a family reunion of sorts. As Shields tells it,He was so overwhelmed at it all that he questioned Chris about whether his brothers would even want to see him. Chris,Shields said, flexed his arm muscles and jokingly said "they had better."

Well,I'm sitting there,jaw hanging open,and I notice something. Shields has been telling this very matter of factly,for "dramatic effect" he said.(smile) But,as he pauses I see tears welling up in his eyes,and here is my point. He says" Ronnie,I have been sitting here since Sunday afternoon and all I can get out to God is "Thank You." I am so overwhelmed they are the only words I have. You don't know how many times I have told Him that over the past three days. I don't have the words to express what I feel. All I can say is Thank You.""

Then he asks me if I want to now what he is thinking at that exact moment. I tell him that I think do but I want him to tell me anyway.Very matter of factly he says"we need to start praying again." I agree and next week Shields and I will get back to praying

Brothers and sisters, God answers prayer. Even when you have stopped praying for a season! I am still as I write this,MARVELLING at how good our God is.Let me tell you something. If nothing else happens to my friend until the day God calls him home,Shields Templeton no longer thinks that God loves him and hears his,no.Shields KNOWS that God hears and loves him and that He truly does reign in the earth. 

Every single one of us needs  to get alone before the Lord Of Hosts and pour our heart out to Him. As my friend Pastor Doug says, He will withhold no good thing.

Psalm 84:11 (ESV) 11  For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

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