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When Was The Last Time You….

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When Was The Last Time You….

Prayed for someone?   I mean really prayed for someone.

Not the social media “prayers going out to you” kind of prayer.

No,I’m referring to the kind of praying that finds you in a secluded spot alone with the God of this universe.The kind of praying where it’s just you and God and everything else takes a back seat.

I’m sure all of us have people in our lives whose names we bring before the Lord.Some of them are likely to be in serious need,perhaps with their back to the wall. Serious needs require serious prayer.

If you know someone like this(and I know several),I think we have an obligation to get alone with God and pray for them.

After all, it it were you or I,wouldn’t we hope that someone cared enough to get serious with the Lord on our behalf?

Be blessed,

Ron

 

 

Does Anyone Else Feel This Way?

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I’m tired.Very tired.

I’m tired of church done the way church is always done.Church that is predictable and boring,altogether unlike the King we serve.

Emotionless church.Dry,dead,going through the motions because this is what we do,lifeless church.

You know…church that is so structured and programmed that if the Holy Spirit didn’t show up for a month no one would even notice.

I’m tired of church cliques.You know the ones I’m referring to.The little groups who only speak to members of their own group or at best give a cursory acknowledgement that you actually do exist. I’m weary of the hypocrisy of it all.

I’m put off by people in church leadership positions who are not leaders but followers at best.I’m frankly disgusted by people who assume titles of authority or go through the procedures to get the framed diploma to hang on the wall,yet will not lift a finger to help someone in need or worse yet have enough of the love of Christ within them to offer up a simple word of encouragement to one who is struggling.

I miss the early years of ministry when I didn’t know any better than to simply trust God to do what His word said He would do.Back before I ever figured out that God’s church was divided into hundreds of groups all vying to be known as the “One True Church”,and all failing miserably.I miss the simplicity of following Christ and loving people.I miss the spirit of expectancy that came from not knowing what the Lord had in store during a particular service. 

But mostly what I miss is intimacy with the Lord.

I may not be able to do a thing about everything else,but intimacy with God is something I have control over, and I sense Him calling me to draw closer.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Be blessed,

Ron

 

 

Going Home

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It’s been a wonderful vacation here in sunny Florida but the time has come to head back home and resume a “normal”life…whatever that is!We will miss the beaches,the great seafood,the pool,and most of all the laid back and stress free existence we’ve enjoyed this past week.But alas,as someone once said:”all good things must come to an end”.Gee,I wish that phrase had never been uttered!

Of all the wonderful things to rejoice about over this past week the number one thing for me was to see and hear my wife smiling and laughing again.Those of you who follow this blog know that this past year has been one of extreme grief and stress for her due to losing her father last June.While at the beach today she acted like her old self,full of life and fun and for this I am humbly grateful to our Savior.

I realize how all too often we take the little things in life for granted,and my hope is that all of us come to cherish those things in life that are so important to us and endeavor to live life to its fullest each day.

Be blessed!

Ron

 

I Should Have Listened…

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To that still,small voice that was tugging at my heart.Let me explain.

Two years ago I was in Venice Florida and decided to take a walk on their brand new fishing pier.The previous pier had been destroyed by a hurricane so I was anxious to see the new pier that has recently been constructed.

While walking on the pier with my family we came upon a gentleman named Joe who was sitting on a bench handing out fossilized sharks teeth to all the passing children.I guess I should explain that Venice is known all around as the sharks tooth capital of the world.People come from all over to dig through the sand in hopes of finding a large one and once in a while a truly large specimen is uncovered.

I introduced myself to Joe and we made small talk as the kids wandered about the pier and I learned that he and his wife had recently moved from New York to Florida.I also learned that Joe had stage four cancer.

After a few more moments of chatting it was time for our family to eat lunch at the local beach front restaurant called Sharky’s,so I bid Joe good-by and walked inside to grab some lunch. All through lunch I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to ask Joe if all was well with his soul, yet I dismissed the notion by telling myself I would track him down after lunch.Which I never did.

Fast forward to today and I’m back on that same pier.What do you suppose I found? Image

A bench dedicated to Joe.In the same exact spot where I first met him.Joe was gone.There would be no second chance to speak with him about his soul.No second chance for me to obey that still small voice.For all intents and purposes,I had blown it by not obeying what I undoubtedly knew was the Lord prompting me to go to him.

Joe has hardly left my mind all day today.Of course I am saddened to learn of his passing and of course my heart is heavy for his family.But more important than all of that is what of Joe’s eternal soul?Did someone else step in to do what I failed to do?God only knows.All I know is that I cannot have a do-over in this matter.It is done for all of eternity.

Listen beloved,the whole point of this is for me to encourage you to act upon those gentle nudging’s of the Spirit.When God lays it upon your heart to do something,no matter how insignificant you may think it is,please do it.Don’t be like me and put it off thinking you will get around to it.

You just might find that you never will.

Ron

Christianity About To Become Extinct In Iraq

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If you keep up with current world events at all you are likely aware that the ISIS(Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)are on the offensive in an attempt to gain control of the nation of Iraq.The ISIS method of achieving this is to make a surprise attack,inflict maximum casualties and spread fear before withdrawing without suffering heavy losses.Isis is highly fanatical, killing Shia Muslims and Christians whenever possible.

So you might ask what in the world does any of this have to do with me?Well as a Christian this interests me greatly because of the effect that ISIS is having on decimating the Christian population in Iraq,not to mention the mass slaughter of innocents who simply want to go about living their lives as peaceably as possible.

During the past 11 years nearly half of Iraq’s Christians have fled the country to escape frequent attacks by Muslim militants targeting them and their churches.In leaving,Christians are abandoning communities that date back to the first centuries of Christianity,including Chaldean, Assyrian and Armenian churches.

So why is any of this important and what does it have to do with you? It’s important because the demise of Christianity we are witnessing in Iraq will no doubt eventually spread to all Middle Eastern countries.If you are a student of prophecy you will no doubt grasp the significance of this as it relates to the coming war for world domination.

The Christian church in Iraq is in serious trouble.Please join me in praying for these persecuted brothers and sisters,as well as the many thousands of innocent people in harms way.

Be blessed,

Ron

When Will We Ever Learn?

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I read an article on the Christian Post today that deals with Benny Hinn asking his supporters to start giving $1000 donations to his ministry so they will then be able to enter into a whole new dimension of “favor” with God.Supposedly this comes from Solomon’s offering of 1000 sacrifices to God.

How is it that “Christians”will actually believe this stuff?How in the world did the church become so ignorant of the Word of God that it would believe this is actually from God?

Doesn’t anyone actually read their Bible any more? If you do, can you please explain to me how the church is so easily duped into believing that the favor of God is actually something you can earn?Can anyone give chapter and verse for this?

WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN???

If you really want to do something for God,please take your $1000 donation and give it to a food bank or a shelter for abused women and children.How about buying groceries for a few families for a month?Or how about an anonymous gift to someone you know who is in dire need.Just do SOMETHING but give it to those who are fleecing the flock! Please!

Be blessed,

Ron

God’s Creation Never Ceases To Amaze Me

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Spent some time at the beach this morning.It doesn’t seem to matter that I’ve seen this same stretch of beach dozens of times,I always see something for the very first time.Like starfish for example.They were washing up on the beach for some reason and I’m assuming they will die there.Image

 

True to form though,my wife thinks she can save at least some of them so here she is scooping one up to toss it back into the ocean!

Looking at the things God has created and the incredible complexity of it all only increases my thirst to know Him more.I am amazed beyond words at what the hand of God has made,whether it be a sea creature or us in His very image.Sometimes i wonder:just what kind of power does He possess anyway that He could do such wondrous things?It’s way beyond my ability to comprehend so all I know to do is exercise my faith to believe that He is who He says He is!

Praise be to God,

Ron

A Fresh Perspective

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I’ve finally managed to schedule some time away from the grind so the family is spending a week on the Gulf coast of Florida with our toes in the sand and sunscreen liberally applied.

It’s always great to get away from the routine and stresses of life and this year is no exception.This is the first year my wife has not wished her Father a “Happy Fathers Day” as he passed almost one year ago and the grieving is not yet over for her.She has been under a constant barrage of stress and I truly believe that prayer and the love and support from our family has sustained her.

Which brings me to something that I feel the Lord has been dealing with me about for several weeks and that is our lack of a prayer life,both in our personal lives as well as in our churches.Oh sure,I know that we pray.But do we set aside time to really pray to the Father?

From where I sit on the front pew I often wonder what happened to that time in the service when we would gather and pray one for another.Sometimes I think we don’t do things like that because it would require us to open up to one another about what’s going on in our lives,but since we have been bombarded with teaching that says we aren’t supposed to have any issues that just wouldn’t do now would it?

Yet I feel the Lord giving me a fresh perspective on the importance of prayer.Not the Facebook kind of prayer where people flippantly toss around “I’ll pray for you”or “prayers being sent for you”.No,I’m referring to the kind of prayer that changes things,the kind of prayer that assails the throne room of Almighty God.

My wife recently gave me some sermon notes written by Jim Cymbala,pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle that deals with the very thing that the Lord has been dealing with me about.Here are a couple of paragraphs that speak to the topic at hand:

“The writer to the Hebrews nails down the most central activity of all Christians: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). It doesn’t say, “Let us come to the sermon.” We in America have made the sermon the centerpiece of the church, something God never intended. Preachers who are really doing their job get people to come to the throne of grace. That’s the true source of grace and mercy.

To every preacher and every singer, God will someday ask, “Did you bring people to where the action could be found . . . at the throne of grace? If you just entertained them, if you just tickled their ears and gave them a warm, fuzzy moment, woe to you. At the throne of grace, I could have changed their lives.”

God has chosen prayer as His channel of blessing. He has spread a table for us with every kind of wisdom, grace and strength because He knows exactly what we need. But the only way we can get it is to pull up to the table and taste and see that the Lord is good. Pulling up to that table is called the prayer of faith.”

TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD,by Jim Cymbala | June 7, 2014

Prayer is not only important,it is critical to our well being and success in all that we have been called to do.For me personally,if I do not spend quality time alone with the Father I feel myself being drawn away by the cares of this life.And dare I say,if I do not pray regularly God Himself becomes an afterthought!

If there was ever a time when we have much to pray about it is right now.Won’t you join me is approaching the Throne of Glory?

Be blessed beloved,

Ron

Did You Know That Satan Desires To Have You?

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Have you ever thought about this,the idea that the enemy of your soul actually desires to have you?The Devil desires of course to have every Christian… but especially you!

Scripture makes it very clear that the Devil is the enemy of every child of God and one who would like nothing more than to defeat you in your walk with Christ.He knows he has but a very short time to do what he is to do,therefore the scripture refers to him in this manner:

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…”John 10:10 KJV

In other words,his entire purpose for existing is to work evil and bring destruction to every home and family he can gain a foot hold in.The verse above is actually a very good picture of the progressive nature of how Satan works against people.He comes to steal your joy,your excitement for life,your mission for God,your purpose and destiny.That’s what a thief does, he takes what is not rightfully his and claims it as his own.

Secondly,he comes to kill.After he has stolen all these things from you,your defenses are weakened to the point that you can offer little in the way of resistance.At which point he will have effectively killed your testimony.He will kill your desire for the things of God and you will no longer find the sins of the world offensive.Indeed, you will actually begin to take pleasure in those things you once abhorred.

Lastly comes the end as destruction comes to claim yet another victim.So how do we fight against this very powerful enemy?Lets look at something else that Jesus said to one of His disciples:

31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”            Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV) emphasis mine

Jesus spoke these word to Peter just before He was to be crucified.Now please get this;Satan had already stolen one of the disciples (Judas)that the scripture might be fulfilled.Now he wants another one,and if Jesus had not prayed for Peter who knows what would have happened.But God had another plan didn’t He?

Just like with Peter,He has another plan for you and I! Beloved,Satan may desire to have us but he cannot because we have a Savior who is standing guard over us to protect us from the fiery darts of the enemy.I don’t know about you but I am glad God is on my side whenever I am in a battle with the adversary!

Be strong in the power of His might!

Ron

 

 

What Does The World Really Think Of Us?

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Seriously….

Wars and rumors of wars… False prophets… Famines… Deception… Lawlessness…The love of many growing cold…

Really?

Jesus spoke very plainly in Matthew 24 about these things as He was describing the condition of this world just before He would come again.

I certainly get that. I’m neither blind nor deaf. I know what’s going on in the world. I expect these things to be happening all around me as the world pulls farther and farther away from the gospel of Jesus Christ.It is impossible that it could be any other way.

I did not however expect to see these very same things taking place in the Body of Christ. Let me explain….

My family and I frequently visit other churches as we are always looking for an opportunity to minister through word & song in as many places as we can. In our travels we occasionally come upon some pretty “unique” congregations that on the outside appear to be just another church,but once inside all bets are off!

Take this one for example: I was ministering in a church one evening and I couldn’t help notice that the church was very neatly organized,or divided,right down the center aisle.At first I thought little of it but as the service wore on I began to notice that there was a distinct difference between the two sides.

Well, determined to finish the message and deliver what I felt the Lord had sent me to deliver I kept going until I reached the end of the service.At the close of service I felt compelled to ask the people to come forward and pray. Now keep in mind that I had never been there before this so I had no way of knowing if this was an acceptable thing or not.

Imagine my great surprise when after a few moments of awkward silence one by one both sides began moving to the front of the church,tears streaming down their faces.People started hugging one another and asking for forgiveness as if there had been some terrible wrong committed.I soon learned that this church was indeed divided right down the middle.Were they ever! 

This congregation had been so divided that one side had not spoken with or fellow-shipped with the other for some time!Can you imagine this taking place in the house of God? Is this not unbelievable or what?

That’s why I titled this post “What Does The World Really Think Of Us?” I expect division outside the house of God. I know that tension and strife are the norms outside the church of God.What DOES the world think of us when we act like this?

From where I sit on the front row…..I just want to weep.

Be blessed,

Ron