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Thankfulness Can be Short Lived…

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Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year.I hope everyone paused a few moments to reflect upon the blessings we’ve been given.I’m thankful every day (not just one day) for a roof over my head,a warm house,plenty to eat,and a good job to go to every day.

I am very much aware that compared to the majority of this world I am rich beyond measure.I also believe that if you live in America, you most likely share in these riches at some level.We are truly blessed.

To have the unparallelled freedom to worship God and to have a Bible in my home are treasures I do not take for granted.These things are gifts from God and God alone, and I am both humbled and thankful.

Which brings me to the second thought of this post,which is our tendency to be less than thankful,even greedy at times.

Have you noticed?

We turn “thankfulness” on and off like we do our TV’s. We go from heads bowed around the family Thanksgiving table to within a few short hours joining the mad rush to the mall.Only this year it’s been made even easier so we can start earlier than ever before.After all, no sense wasting precious shopping time setting around with the family when there are bargains to be had.

I wonder if we can see what has happened to us in America? Do we comprehend the breakdown?

We bemoan what has happened to the family unit in this country but in truth we contribute to it by our own greed.Think about that for a moment.

We will get up hours earlier than normal to stand in a line in the freezing cold to get that perfect gift,but we won’t spend a few extra minutes in the company of our loved ones getting to know what’s going on in their lives.

Now,lest you think I don’t like saving money,rest assured that I most certainly do like saving money. But at what cost? I hear people all the time speaking about their busy schedules and how there doesn’t seem to be time for the things that matter,yet these same people are the ones clamoring to be first in line when the doors open!

I guess I’m getting old because “things” don’t excite me much any more.I place a higher value on things that cannot be bought in the stores.Things like quiet evenings at home surrounded by loved ones.There is a blessedness in that like nothing else.

I love listening to my daughter laugh out loud,the sound of which brings an enormous smile to my face each time.I love talking with her,listening to her opinions about things that I didn’t even know she understood! I am so very thankful for the times I have with her.

I love the home my wife has created because it is an atmosphere of peace and love.Try buying that at Macy’s!

I’m thankful that I am married to a woman who understands me and let’s me be me,as I do her.There is no price to place on a home where the love and peace of God dwells.

I am beyond blessed,and for that I am so thankful.

In spite of the ills of the church,it’s failures(that’s us folks),it’s many shortcomings…..I have a sure Foundation in Christ Jesus.He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Can’t buy that at any price.Sorry,that price was already paid.

And for all of these things I am thankful….. and I endeavor to remain so.

Be blessed,

Ron

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Christ, and Christ Alone…..

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I’ve been reading and thinking quite a bit lately about the single most important “thing” in this life,and most certainly the life to come. This “thing”,for lack of a better term, is “Salvation”.

“Salvation”. No matter how you describe what happens at the end of this life,every Christian has this hope within them that by the grace of God they will be…

  • SAVED
  • REDEEMED
  • RESCUED
  • SPARED
  • RANSOMED

Call it by whatever name you, your church, or your denomination calls it. The meaning is still the same.

Abiding within the Christian is a promise from God who cannot lie that we are going to be saved.Awaiting us is a new home in Glory,and an eternity that will be spent in His presence. Never again will our bodies suffer disease.Pain will be a thing of a past that we will no longer remember.

For the rest of eternity we will never know the heartbreak of a loved one going on before us. Every tear shall be wiped away,for in that place of eternal joy there will never be another tear of sadness or grief shed.

Sounds great,doesn’t it? So how do I get this Salvation?

Well, it cannot be earned or bought with money. You can never do enough good deeds to receive it. No one else can get it for you. It’s something that millions,perhaps billions have attempted to gain but in spite of their best efforts to buy it,earn it,or steal it have fallen short of the mark.

No friends,this Salvation is made possible because of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the Cross. In other words,the price has already been paid.Now if that isn’t the best news you’ve ever heard!!!!

So how can you know that this is real and not some made up tale from long ago? How about we search the scriptures for some proof?

The apostle Peter delivered quite a message to the chief priests,rulers,and scribes the day after he and his fellow disciples had been imprisoned for teaching the people about Jesus. In this message,which I have included below, Peter spells it out very plainly in whose name comes this salvation I am speaking about.

Acts 4:1-12…

1:And as they spoke to the people, the priests, and the temple commander, and the Sadducees came on them,
2:  being grieved that they taught the people, even to announce through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
3:  And they laid hands on them and put them under guard until the next day, for it was already evening.
4:  But many of those who heard the Word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
5:  And it happened on the next day that their rulers and elders and scribes, gathered to Jerusalem,
6:  and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest.
7:  And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name have you done this?
8:  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and elders of Israel,
9:  if we are examined today on a good work for an infirm man, by what this one has been healed,
10:  be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, in this name does this man stand before you whole.
11:  This is the Stone which you builders have counted worthless, and He has become the Head of the Corner.
12:  And there is salvation in no other One; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.   Emphasis mine

Well there you have it friends. Salvation comes from Christ and Christ alone. No other name that has ever been spoken can save you except Jesus Christ. Praying to or calling upon any other is futile.

Christ, and Christ alone…..

Romans 10:9-10
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Romans 5:1-2
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Be blessed,

Ron

“You’ve Never Seen This One….”

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That’s what someone told me last night as I was watching the sunset on the beach. I had just commented to a lady who worked at the restaurant and had stopped working to gaze at the sun setting that it seemed kind of silly for a bunch of grownups to be so excited about watching it.Cameras,cell phones,even video cameras set up.People scrambling to get the best spot to take that once in a lifetime shot.I mean,the sun setting happens on a pretty regular basis doesn’t it? You’d think these people had never seen a sunset the way they’re acting!

That’s when the lady turned to me and said “You’ve never seen this one”. Honestly,I was stunned at her reply,or maybe it was that her reply stunned me back to reality.You see, it’s been pointed out to me recently that I am so busy and so consumed with my work that I am no longer a participant in life,but merely an observer. OUCH!

That dear lady had never seen me before yet she did not hesitate to point out to me the various shapes of the clouds and innumerable colors that all but seemed to set the sky on fire.Funny what you miss when it’s often right in front of you, isn’t it?

I’ve thought a lot about that,not being a participant that is. Going through the motions and all.And you know what? It is 100% true. I’ve been going through the motions at such a pace and for so long that I have all but let life leave me behind.Wow!

Life passes us by pretty quickly doesn’t it? Everywhere you turn it seems we are consumed with ourselves to the point of not even realizing that there are others all around us longing for just a little bit of our time and attention.Thinking of that brings this scripture to my mind:

James 4:14 (NKJV) whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

I don’t know about you but that’s a very sobering thing to comprehend.We do not have long upon this earth and as good stewards of the time we’ve been given, why should we sit on the sidelines?Why shouldn’t we be an active participant of the life God has blessed us with?

All of this has given me a renewed sense of the magnitude of blessings that have been given to me.Where sometimes I get so distraught when I’m faced with defeat the better choice is to remember that in the big picture I have won far more than I have lost.

Oh, and that sunset on the beach? This is what I’m talking about….

??????????

And for the record, I was among the ones jockeying for position with all the other “tourists”.

Be blessed,

Ron

“No Man Cares for My Soul”

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I’ve heard this message many times and felt it necessary to share. May our Lord break our hearts once again and place us upon the Potter’s wheel to mold and shape us into something He can use to reach others.

The Hope Blog

This below was originally posted in August of 2013. My friend Teeky in the UK put up the attached video in conjunction with the Sanctuary Conference they held that year. I listened again to the audio of the pastor speaking, and all I can say is, yes. This is the entire root of our problems among Christians who are content to carry on without real love for anybody but themselves. This is it. Here’s the post from 2013:

Since posting on the subject of the love missing among Christians, I have heard from several people who are really hurting. One woman in our area has health problems that now keep her from her large, bustling Baptist church that she had been a part of for years. In the several months that have passed since she has had to stop attending church, not one on the large pastoral “team” has bothered…

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Our God is an Awesome God!

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There’s nothing like contemplating the vastness of the ocean to get me thinking about just how big God must be. Of course,our finite minds cannot being to comprehend this but still I can’t help but wonder about the power necessary to create something like this:

DSCN3477

Sitting on the beach taking this all in,I am reminded that we serve a God who is big enough to handle any problem I bring to Him.Nothing takes Him by surprise and it is impossible to escape His love for mankind.

No matter how puffed up I may become or dare to think I am above reproach,the vastness of the sea reminds me that I am as but a speck of sand in the grand scheme of things!

1st Chr 29:11

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

Be blessed

Ron