Lost Sheep

Posted: May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

All throughout the Word of God there are many analogies made about a sheep and the shepherd.And one truth seems to emerge in every situation,and that is that sheep and shepherd cannot exist apart from one another.They need one another.So much so that their lives depend upon one another.shepherd-carrying-sheep1

A few days ago I sat in a funeral home along with many others who had come to pay their last respects to one of the lambs that had seemingly wandered off into the wilderness.

I listened intently to the Pastor’s words as he tried to say something that would bring comfort to a grieving family,but my mind began to think about something Jesus had said about sheep.

10“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.12“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.                        Matthew 18:10-14 NKJV

We in the church are so quick to give up on one another.We seem to have the attitude that we cannot be bothered by the struggles of others.Our time is too precious.After all,we all have our own battles don’t we?

How have we become so self serving,so callous to the the cries of the lonely and desperate?How is it that our ears have become deaf to the pleas of the addicted and abused?Our eyes blind to the sight of the sin ravaged lives of those around us?

Do you know of a “lost sheep”,one that has strayed from the Shepherd?

Perhaps you’ve noticed that a certain seat has been empty more than normal.Or maybe someone you used to talk with on Sunday morning’s hasn’t been around in a while.

Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives that we don’t even notice that one of God’s lambs has gone missing.

Until it’s too late.The wolf has attacked and yet another lamb is killed.And we’re left to ponder what went wrong.

For far too long the devil has lied to us and told us that it’s the Pastor’s job,or the job of a staff person to go after someone who may be straying.
The truth however is that it is the responsibility of every Christian who knows of someone who is struggling to do everything in their power to lead them back to the safety of the flock.This is what Jesus meant when he said we were to leave the ninety nine and go after that one who had wandered.
Why does the one matter? Because that one matters to God.He said it was not the will of the Father that even one of these lambs would be lost.
If the one lost sheep is that important to God,how important should they be to us?
How I long for those days of my past when those who aligned themselves with Christ did so in real,tangible ways.When love was actually demonstrated.When a handshake or a promise actually meant something.When an “I love you”was something that originated in the heart and not the lips.
When Christ,not self,was the object of our service.
How many more lambs will wander off before we say “enough”,and leave the ninety and nine to pursue them?
Something to think about on this rainy Saturday afternoon.
Ron

The Lord’s Controversy

Posted: April 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

I have always been a voracious reader and have interest in many subjects in addition to the scriptures.For example;I love to read historical accounts of the people who settled this nation and learn how they overcame immense odds in a time without technology as we know it today.

The concept of a nation divided against itself as it was during the Civil War is another subject I love to read about.What was a subject barely touched upon in history class I now have the luxury of studying to my hearts content thanks to this marvelous thing we call the internet.

I am also a lover and seeker of truth who long ago came to the conclusion that while truth may be found in the pages of many great works,there is no truth that can compare to the truth found within the Bible.

Funny thing,this word truth.Funny in that according to some there are varying degrees of it.But if that were so,wouldn’t that make it less than true?

And if it’s less than true,doesn’t that make it a lie,and not the truth?Sorry…back to the point of all of this.

The Bible is a book of truth,often very hard to swallow truth.It’s pages are filled with joy,compassion,mercy,love,and much grace.Wonderful,awesome truths!

Yet it’s pages are also filled with things we don’t like to hear about.Things such as wrath,judgement,punishment,you get the picture.Truths that make us wonder,that make us question,that make us shudder.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Bible only spoke about the nice things,the pretty things,the easy things?

Yes,that would be nice,but then the Bible wouldn’t be a book of truth would it?

Like the world that we live in today,ancient Israel found itself having wandered far from the truth and because of it God declared to them that He had a controversy with them.

That’s what God does with His children when they step out of line and refuse His gentle nudging them back into the fold.He calls them out,just as He did here in the book of Hosea.

Hear the word of the Lord,
You children of Israel,
For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:
“There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.
By swearing and lying,
Killing and stealing and committing adultery,
They break all restraint,
With bloodshed upon bloodshed.
Therefore the land will mourn;
And everyone who dwells there will waste away
With the beasts of the field
And the birds of the air;
Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.
“Now let no man contend, or rebuke another;
For your people are like those who contend with the priest.
Therefore you shall stumble in the day;
The prophet also shall stumble with you in the night;
And I will destroy your mother.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
“The more they increased,
The more they sinned against Me;
I will change their glory into shame.   
Hosea 4:1-7  NJKV
The Lord told Israel that there was no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.What a horrible statement…no knowledge of God in the land!
Not only that but He goes on to say that “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”.
God told His people that because they had rejected knowledge they had also rejected the law of their God.
These are harsh words aren’t they? Stinging words of rebuke.Crushing words coming from the very God who loved them so.
Words of truth.
Which brings me to the point I wanted to make with this post:are we who claim His name today really any different than the children of Israel who had abandoned the Lord?
Does the Lord have a controversy with His church today?
Something to think about on this very rainy night.
Ron

Yet another Easter has come and gone and Christians all over the world gathered to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.A time for all of us to pause and reflect upon God’s love for mankind.A time to remember the love of the Father who so loved you and I,as impossible as it sounds, even before we were born.

That He would give us the best that He had….

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16   KJV

God gave us,you and I,his only Son.

I don’t know about you but when I read that verse it stops me in my tracks.How in the world could I be worth such a price? Doesn’t God remember how awful I was? Has he forgotten that I was unlovable?

Well,actually…..He doesn’t remember that “me”.

A week from now I won’t remember the tie that I wore this past Easter Sunday. I won’t remember the songs that were sung at church. I’ll probably remember only bits and pieces of the sermon I heard.For sure I won’t remember an Easter egg hunt.

But I WILL remember what Easter represents. I WILL remember how I who was once so lost discovered an unimaginable grace one night so long ago.I WILL remember that there is a name that is so different than any other name.A name that causes demons to tremble.A name that causes the angels of heaven to bow down and worship.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”    Acts 4:12   KJV

Only one name can lead us to eternal salvation.Jesus…what a lovely name.

Be blessed,

Ron

Change is Coming

Posted: April 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

Good morning everyone! Just wanted to inform the followers of this blog that I have moved the blog to:

http://www.whitedministries.com/

This is being done to allow me to greatly expand the blog and gain better control over it. Please be patient as I will be experimenting with many new things as I try to make the new site more professional, informative, and ultimately a greater source of inspiration and encouragement. At some point I will wipe the slate clean but I haven’t figured out yet how best to do this while maintaining the integrity of the site.

For the next few weeks I will continue to post at both locations but of course will eventually stop posting at ronwhited.wordpress.com, which is the current home of A Front Row View of The Church.

Please change your bookmarks to the new site address http://www.whitedministries.com/

Thank you and have a blessed day!

Ron

How Long Has it Been…

I was thinking of this old gospel song recently.It was written in 1956 by Mosie Lister at a time when he began to reflect upon his younger years,a time when prayer seemed to be more common.“How long has it been since some people have talked with the Lord?” he asked himself. Maybe you’ve never heard this old song and if that is the case,would you at least think upon the words for a few moments?

1)  How long has it been

Since you talked with the Lord,

And told Him your heart’s hidden secrets.

How long since you prayed?

How long since you stayed on your knees

Till the light shone through?

How long has it been

Since your mind felt at ease

How long since your heart knew no burden?

Can you call Him your friend?

How long has it been

Since you knew that He cared for you? 

(2)  How long has it been

Since you knelt by your bed

And prayed to the Lord up in heaven?

How long since you knew

That He’d answer you,

And would keep you the long night through?

How long has it been

Since you woke with the dawn,

And felt the day’s worth the living?

Can you call Him your friend?

How long has it been

Since you knew that He cared for you?

Written by Mosie Lister

I know that these types of songs are old and outdated in the opinion of many church leaders today. Yet from where I sit on the front row of the church,I see people desperate to know that God loves them and these songs offer encouragement unlike most of what is written today.

I see wounded souls hungry to know that God is real and that He cares for them.I see the masses carrying burdens they were never meant to carry,exhausted from their journey,struggling to find hope in a world gone mad.

I see so many,many people listless and lifeless with no joy and no peace.Not knowing that there is One who longs to be their friend.Their comforter,their advocate,their shelter from the storms of this life.

In times like these….we need a friend that cares for us.

As the story goes it took Mosie Lister about fifteen minutes to write what was destined to become a classic gospel song as the words literally flew from his pen.That’s just like our Lord.

Listen friends,it doesn’t take God long to do what you need Him to do.Call upon His name,ask Him to care for you,to love you,to show you a better way.

If you will do that you will find Him to be a Friend that is closer to you than any friend or family member can be.

Be blessed,

Ron

You’ve heard it all before,right?

Good enough…

Follow the rules…

More works…

More faith…

Fall in line…

All of us who know Christ have been told some variation of the above.

Maybe it was when you joined your church.

Maybe it was what you were taught as a child in Sunday School or some other bible class.

At some time in your life you reached a point where you just knew that you could never be…

Good enough………….you could never…

Follow all the rules……………you just couldn’t do…

More works………………..you grew weary of trying to somehow have…

More faith…………………and you simply couldn’t bear to…

Fall in line…………..and be like everyone else.

And then you found it. A verse in the Bible where Jesus was talking about a vineyard,and suddenly it all made sense!

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.   John 15:1-4 KJV
Did you find it???
Now lets look at this again but this time through the Amplified Bible
1 I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].
4 Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.
Do you see it? It’s right there in verse 3. Jesus said that you are already cleaned because of the word that He had given you.
The Word that…
Makes you Good enough…
Teaches you that rules won’t save you…
Increases our faith every time we read it…
Separates us to fulfill His calling upon our lives…
What freedom! What perfect liberty we enjoy in Christ!
Free from religious rules and laws.Free to follow His footsteps wherever they may lead us.
Already clean!
And all I had to do was say “YES” when He knocked upon my heart’s door. Isn’t God good?
Be blessed,
Ron

Seasons

Posted: March 22, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Yesterday was the 1st day of spring and after the cold winter we experienced here in Ohio,it couldn’t be more welcome! We did a bit of shopping south of where I live and it was 68 wonderful degrees,and the bright sunshine was truly beautiful to behold.When we came back home it was “only” 54 degrees and it felt cold after enjoying the earlier warmth of the day.But as we say here in Ohio,if you don’t like the weather… just wait a day and it will change!512px-Four_Poplars_in_four_seasons (1)

Experiencing the changing seasons is not unlike the changing seasons of life when you really think about it.In fact,everything about this life is constantly changing.Even the scriptures remind us that this life is an ever evolving cycle of change.

King Solomon,considered to be extremely wise beyond his years spoke of this in the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes when he said this:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
According to Jewish tradition Solomon wrote the Song of Solomon during his younger years, Proverbs in his middle years, and Ecclesiastes in his later years.If that is true it would make sense that in his later years he would begin to understand that there is indeed a season for everything in life.
Solomon had experienced the major highs of being a servant of the Most High as well as the major lows of this life brought on by his own idolatrous ways.If you read about his life it is apparent that at the end of his days he was disillusioned with materialism and earthly pleasures as the road to happiness,and in fact he never again recaptured the joy he once knew.
All of which has me wondering this Sunday morning if any of us are really that much different than this once wise king? We start out in life thirsting for knowledge and once we reach a certain level we seek even more.All the while ignoring the fact that there is but One TRUTH,Jesus Christ.
Or maybe we start out with a grand plan to acquire great sums of wealth,only to accomplish that goal and realize it did not yet satisfy us.Sort of like the man in this story from Luke chapter twelve…
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
Always looking for more….
The next great adventure over the horizon
The next opportunity
The next romance
The next promotion
That’s the thing about Seasons
They bring with them the winds of change
A shift in direction
A realignment of priorities
As I write this I have had a season of change handed to me and it is unclear to me what this new season will entail.My future plans had been set and I have been working towards accomplishing those plans for some time now and the end was in sight.What is that saying about “the best laid plans…?
Or as my pastor stated “it may be that God has been in the arrangements all along and is directing all of this as an answer to prayer?”
Maybe,just maybe…. God has another plan?
But such is this life,is it not?
To every thing there is a season…
How we respond to the seasons of change will show the world our true character.
It will reveal to ourselves if we are who we say we are…
Only one thing is certain and that is that God is God and that will never change.Seasons come and seasons go but He remains the same.
Is there a more sure foundation upon which to stand than that?
Be blessed,
Ron