Home

“I Remember You”

1 Comment

Jeremiah 2:1-2 (NKJV)
1 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
2 “Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I remember you, The kindness of your youth, The love of your betrothal, When you went after Me in the wilderness, In a land not sown.

The Prophet Jeremiah received this word from God concerning the spiritual condition of Israel a little less than 600 years before the birth of Christ.In it the Lord was calling His children to remembrance of a better time,a happier time when Israel was following after the Lord with all of their heart.A time when God had delivered them from slavery and bondage in Egypt and led them out with a mighty deliverance.

So intense was this love between God and Israel that He speaks of it in terms used to describe a marriage.The kindness,or tenderness of their youth,the love that was compared to the deep abiding love between a man and his wife,their pursuing of Him in the wilderness.Israel was young and in love with the Lord,not unlike us when we fall in love.So deep was this love that God was considered the nation’s “husband”.

Yet something sinister has happened to this once inseparable love.Through the passage of time Israel has rejected her “husband” and has taken up after other gods.They no longer needed God for they have long since left the wilderness and have established themselves as a great nation.They have literally forgotten where they came from.Or as I like to say, they have gotten above their raising.

The fall of Israel reads as the most tragic in all of history when you consider that they were the chosen of God.Chosen of Almighty God to receive blessing and favor the likes of which had never been seen before.We cannot fully understand the scope of what has happened to Israel unless we go back and study for ourselves,and I dare say that when we do that we will be stunned at what has happened to this once proud nation.

Beloved, from where I set on the front row I often feel as though I am reliving the pages of biblical history as I see the church of the living God drawing further and further away from Him.Oh,we’re growing in numbers in many places.And we certainly can erect impressive monuments that we call houses of worship.But where are our hearts?Where is the “love of our betrothal”?

From where I set on the front row I see tradition.I see formalities.I see one choreographed  program after another.I see the church succumbing to the great god entertainment.I see an atmosphere of “worship”more commonly found at a rock concert.I see a total lack of respect for the house of God.

I hear the Lord saying “I Remember You”…

Be blessed,

Ron

 

 

 

When God Has Another Plan

1 Comment

I’ve spent my entire adult life either making new plans or working to bring existing plans to fruition. Everything from creating business plans at work to helping my wife plan our annual family vacation,planning is something I’ve always been involved in.Depending on who you ask,I’ve been more successful in some areas than others and I’m sure you can all relate to that.

Yet when it comes to serving God,our best laid plans are often reduced to shreds.All of our planning,strategies,and hard work can be brought to naught when we feel the Lord leading us in a new direction.If you’ve ever been in this place then you know that when you feel the Holy Spirit begin to tug at you to go a different direction, it can be a very hard thing to do.After all, whoever said that obedience is easy?

Abraham was a man who came to a place where he had to make a decision about which way to go with his life. Read with me the Genesis account of this story(emphasis mine).

Genesis 13:1-18 (NKJV)
1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South.
2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.
3 And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents.
6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.
7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”
10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.
12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.
14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are— northward, southward, eastward, and westward;
15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.
16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
18 Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.

Abraham gave Lot the 1st choice of the land before them, and like most of us Lot chose the best of the best. Who could fault him for that? Again, wouldn’t we do the same?

Yet God had another plan for His servant Abraham.While Lot was busy with moving toward the green grass and wells of water in Jordan,it would be easy to say that Abraham got the short end of the stick. But God had something much better than wells and fields in store for Abraham.Instead of real estate,He gave Abraham a covenant, or a promise.A promise that his seed would be as the dust of the earth for multitude.A promise of blessing.

Sometimes God’s plan calls for there to be a separation,or parting of the ways.We can trust Him to have our bests interests at heart if we will choose to follow His plans and not ours.Leaving our comfort zone is never easy but leave we must if we are to continue to grow in Him.

I find myself in this exact same position at this time in my life.The Lord has uprooted our family and we have begun a new journey,a journey that we are taking by faith for we do not know what is beyond the next bend in the road.All we know is that we feel His call to step out and obey.A journey that is both frightening and exciting at the same time.I pray that this is not a selfish request, but we desire your prayers.

Be blessed,

Ron

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 

But Where’s Heaven?

Leave a comment

The other day I was waiting to board a flight, and as the boarding time drew closer and closer the area began to take on the look of a school field trip with so many kids headed for spring break. Curiously, I noticed a lot of smaller children as well but quickly realized from the conversations all around me that they were headed to the home of Mickey Mouse. Now normally when I see that many children on a flight I get a bit apprehensive because we all know how short the attention span of children can be.

So we were soon soaring off into the wild blue yonder and I couldn’t help hearing the little girl in the seat directly behind me squealing with delight about seeing the clouds. “Look Mommy, see the clouds” she exclaimed over and over. Between the shrieks and the giggles she was having a great time. Then she said something that I hope I never forget. For she asked “but where’s heaven?”

Suddenly, all the noise in the plane from the dozens of other children was suddenly swallowed up in the simple,innocent question: “but where’s heaven?” All I could hear was that question, and my own heart was pierced for I suddenly came face to face with my own version of the little girl’s question.

With the stress of work and a hundred other responsibilities,had I forgotten what the ultimate prize is? Can we become so consumed with life that we lose sight of the big picture? I routinely hear parents lamenting the fact that they run from one event to another several nights a week so that their kids can be involved in various activities.We bring work home at night when our focus should be on our families.Do you and I ever stop to ask….. how much is too much?

I remember the admonition of the Apostle Paul to Timothy about becoming so wrapped up in the affairs of this life. 

No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”      2nd Tim. 2:4 NKJV

Make no mistake about it, we are in a war with the enemy of our souls.The battle is engaged and it is a battle for supremacy of the soul. It is a battle for your time.Jesus said that “the thief comes not but for to steal, kill,and to destroy“, yet in the midst of this battle we must never lose sight of the fact that as Christians we are first and foremost soldiers of the cross.And heaven is our future home.

I want to be like the little girl who asked “but where’s heaven”? Shouldn’t we all be looking for a new heaven and a new earth as described by John in Revelation 21:1? 

Be blessed,

Ron

There is But One Savior

Leave a comment

Your way. My way. Their way. All roads lead to the same place. It doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you believe something. There are good people in all churches, all religions.All you can do is your best and hope in the end it was good enough to get you “in”.

No doubt you’ve heard these words from well meaning people,both within and outside the church.Church folk especially seem to have developed their own unique brand of salvation based upon a mixture of theology,tradition,culture,values,etc…Internet forums and blogs are filled with posts and comments extolling the virtues of a common,or one world religion.And I suppose that if all that mattered was what man thought then the idea of your own plan of salvation is likely all that’s needed.After all, one man’s idea is as good as the next right?

But here’s the problem: it isn’t up to us.We are not in charge.We don’t make the rules.In spite of so many voices clamoring to be heard that we are in control of our own destinies,we are not..We are all flawed. and yes, we are all weak. Truth is, we are not “little gods” and we are certainly not God.

We need a Savior.There it is.We cannot save ourselves.When we come to the end of our days and when it matters most…we are helpless to save ourselves.We need a Savior.Enter Jesus.

In John 14:6 we read “I am the way,the truth, and the life.No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus is not someone who merely points to the way; He is the Way.No church,ceremony or tradition can be that way. He is the Way.

Hosea recorded it this way:“Yet I am the Lord your God.Ever since the land of Egypt,and you shall know no God but Me;for there is no savior besides Me.      Hosea 13:4

Jesus is the Savior. He alone is the Way to salvation. Look to Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith.
 
Be blessed,
Ron

 

 

 

How Do We Love?

1 Comment

I talk about Christian love a lot. I believe it needs to be talked about, preached about, sung about, and most of all practiced…. a lot. Love is a gift from our Father in heaven, given freely to everyone who will accept it. But what do we do with it? Do we keep it bottled up inside of us? Do we share it with others? Do we only share it with a select few?

What’s the point of all of this you may ask? Well, I have been observing a very disturbing trend regarding the love of God. I have noticed that it is not so freely given away by we who are the recipients of this powerful gift. To be more precise, we give it to whom we will and we withhold it from whom we will. We have become very selective in who we deem worthy of our love, as if it is up to us to choose such a thing!

Someone told me long ago that love is a verb. It requires something of us, we must do something with it. It calls us to action. John said it best this way: “My little children,let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth“.     1st John 3:18

In other words, we love by doing! To say I love you, or I’ll pray for you sounds nice and oh so very Christian doesn’t it? Often I’ve heard someone mention a particular need that they have, only to have it fall upon deaf ears. We’re all guilty of it. We all fail at times to follow through on a prayer request, or to offer support when we have the means to do so. John told us we were not to love in word only, but in deed and truth. The church is to be an army of doers!

So…..how do you love? 

Be blessed,

Ron

The Cross That Set Me Free

1 Comment

As Easter is fast approaching, I find myself being drawn more and more to the Cross of Calvary. To me, nothing is as precious or more sacred then the Cross that Jesus suffered and died upon. It’s because of this cruel instrument of death that I am free from the chains that once held me bound.

I find it interesting that what some consider nothing more than a piece of interesting jewelry to wear around the neck can also be a symbol of hatred and disgust to others. Indeed, I can think of no other image that stirs the emotions of mankind more than the Cross of Christ.

Scripture presents a picture of the Cross described in many different ways. The Apostle Paul referenced the Cross by associating it with the words Offense, Foolishness, Obedience, Shame, Reconciliation, and a host of others. However you picture it or describe it one thing is clear: without it you and I would be forever lost with no hope.                                                  Image

 

Jesus is my Redeemer, my Savior, my very present help in the time of trouble.

He paid the debt that I could never pay,and for that I worship Him with all that is within me.

Be blessed,

Ron

The Power of God’s Word

Leave a comment

The word of God is many things to many people. To some it is a large coffee table book with important pictures or news clippings tucked away inside it’s big, heavy covers.

To others it is a book of fantasy and fairy tales intended to pacify the weak of mind and heart. Some even refer to it as nothing more than the history of a blood thirsty nation, Israel.

But what does this word mean to the Christian, and is it really important to continue reading such an old book today? After all, there are Christian bookstores full of books with biblical sounding titles written by modern authors that are surely more relevant,aren’t there?

Well, the bible states in Heb. 4:12 that the word of God “is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Now I don’t know about you, but I have quite a large collection of various study aids,both print and electronic. I have many, many volumes of books from which to draw inspiration or help in understanding a particular verse or chapter.

Yet for all of that, I have only One Book that contains a message that “is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

I am so grateful to have in my possession the Word of Almighty God. To think that He made it possible for man to know Him through His word, yes, even to know His very heart, is sometimes more than I can fathom.I am truly humbled by this fact.

What a mighty and awesome God we serve!

Be blessed, in Jesus name.

Ron

The Missing Piece of The Puzzle

3 Comments

Salvation. Isn’t that our end goal, to spend eternity with the Lord and all the saints who have gone before us? Well of course it is you say, why on earth do you think I call myself a Christian if I didn’t believe that there is a heavenly home awaiting me?

I have observed something very odd, or curious, in the church today. Something that has probably always been there yet I hadn’t thought much about it until lately. It’s the phenomenon of salvation without repentance. Think about this for a few moments. There are a great number of well intentioned folks out there knocking on doors, greeting people on the sidewalk, grocery store, and yes the church, whose purpose is to win sinners to the kingdom of God. That is awesome my friend.

It goes something like this: “Hi there. My name is Ron and I’d like to ask you a question. Are you a sinner? You are? Well, did you know that Jesus died on the cross for your sins? You do? Great, now will you receive Him into your heart as Lord and Savior? You will? Fantastic! You are saved! You are a Christian! The word of God declares that you are saved!

Of course this is a very simplified account and I use it here to prove a point. Do you see anything missing from the above encounter? Was there any mention of repentance? Where is the work of the Holy Spirit in my little evangelistic outreach? Do you suppose that one reason why we see so many start out for Christ but fade away is because there has never been a repentant heart?

What I’m trying to say is this: except the Lord draw us how can we be saved? It is one thing to say that I am a sinner, it is quite another thing to experience the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. The result of all this is that we have people believing something (without knowing what they believe). They have never experienced the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.

That’s the missing piece of the puzzle. That’s what I’ve been observing.

How about you?

Ron

 

To Love One Another

Leave a comment

Have you ever thought about Christian love, I mean really thought about it in the light of the scriptures? Most of us would agree that if there is ever a place where love would abound, it would be in God’s house. After all, God is love, is He not? Yet love is one of those words that we throw around so casually any more that it’s meaning has become diluted. We hear entertainers shouting “I love you’s” to their screaming,adoring fans. We hear the phrase “We love you” as the stars of Hollywood stroll down the red carpet. In fact, we hear “I love you” so often that one would think we are a nation that loves everyone and everything.

Yet sadly that is not the case. For all of the “I love you’s” tossed around there is an abundance of hate and evil in this world. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t read or hear of yet another person of authority taking advantage of an innocent child. And these things are taking place in the church just as often as they do in the world! Is that how we are supposed to treat one another?  I mean, where’s the love?

The Apostle John tells us how important love is to the body of Christ in 1 John 3:11-16…

11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.
15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
The message of Christ’s love is the same message that Jesus taught us while He was here; that we should love one another. And how do we know that we have passed from death unto life, or how do we know that we have been born again? Because we love one another. No complex formula.No secret handshake.No magical potions. Simply love one another.
Let me ask you something: are there people in your church who you know to be hurting? Are there people in your circle of friends who have suffered the loss of a loved one and grieving that loss? Would you reach out to them with the love of Christ? Would you be the eyes and ears, the very heart of Christ to someone desperate to feel that they are not alone?
Would you?
Ron

A Generation Who Did Not Know The Lord

Leave a comment

This morning we visited the Vandalia Christian Tabernacle in Vandalia Ohio, where Pastor Todd Hoskins pastors a great church that is full of enthusiasm for the Lord. Pastor Todd brought a great message from Judges 2:10 about a generation that did not know the Lord.

“When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.”
 
As I listened to this message I couldn’t help but think that this generation of Americans may well be the last one that knows the Lord. Of course that sounds foolish, but if we look honestly at the rampant sin that has engulfed our nation we must conclude that we are in serious trouble. It would appear on the surface that we as a nation have forsaken the old paths, not unlike the children of Israel did time after time. Look at what the Lord said to them in Jeremiah 6:16…
 
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”

 
If we forsake the ways of the Lord we are doomed to repeat the sins of the past and we cannot expect our end to be any different then the nations who have gone before us. It doesn’t take a genius to look around us and realize that we as a nation are determined to undermine the foundations upon which America has stood. People today are so unthankful, so rude, so self absorbed, seemingly caring for nothing but themselves. Yet I believe we have a choice to make. We can either bemoan the sad state our nation is in or we can do our part to try to stem the tide. What can I do, you ask?
 
First of all we can pray. Now, I know there are those that will say “well of course we can pray, but I want to do something”! Beloved, when we pray we are bringing Almighty God into the battle! There is nothing greater we can do than that. To call upon the name of the Lord for the restoration of America should be the mandate of every Christian in the world. It’s that serious folks.
 
I believe another thing we can do is to accept the responsibility to mentor someone in the faith. It is so easy to be critical and complain that this one or that one just isn’t doing it the right way, but have you and I stepped up to show them a better way? I well remember some of the saints of my past who have gone on to their reward patiently teaching me and working with me to help ground me in the faith. We need more of that today in the church. We need men and women who have been through the fires to walk along side those who are just starting out.
 
Would you consider doing your part?
 
Ron
 
 

Older Entries