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Can God Handle This?

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I know what you’re thinking; well that’s a really dumb question.God can handle anything.He’s God after all!And everybody knows that God is still God,right?

Well…not everyone knows that.Or believes that.

I’ve been thinking about this for some time,and several recent conversations and “chance”meetings with individuals has urged me to write about it.

What do you tell someone who is standing on the edge of the abyss who doesn’t know that God can handle it?What do you tell someone who looks at you with “that look”in their eyes,that pleading,longing look that is more desperation than anything else?

They’re out there,those people who have no idea where to turn next.And they’re hurting in ways that most of us cannot comprehend.

Frightened.Hurt.Disillusioned.Wondering.Most of all wondering why.Why is this happening? What do I do now?

Most of us,when confronted by life’s challenges will fall back on the scriptures,and rightfully so for therein lies much of our strength and encouragement.Or we will turn to a Christian friend or leader for comfort.

For centuries Christians have garnered hope and strength from scriptures such as these:

For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?   2Sa 22:32 KJV

For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.   Psa 48:14 KJV

For our God is a consuming fire.   Heb 12:29 KJV

All great words to live by.But what about these folks that don’t have scriptures,or words of hope to sustain them?No preacher or minister to turn to?

Connie;who just today stopped by my desk to say goodby.You see,today is Connie’s last day after 30 years of service.I used to be her supervisor,and we shared several laughs and memories from years gone by.She got quiet as she prepared to leave and told me that she was hoping that things would work out alright.I thought that was a strange thing to say on this occasion and just as I was about to inquire she told me that her husband had not been able to work in over four years.Depression,she said.She told me that she had hope that everything would work out,so I asked her what the source of her hope was.”Nothing really”,came her response.She proceeded to explain that “you gotta have hope or else nothing will work out”. Connie is hoping in hope.Doesn’t believe in God.Believe me,I know.

Or Nathan;who just last week answered the call at his post as a local volunteer fire chief only to get there too late to save the two young girls,sisters,trapped inside.Nathan isn’t Nathan at the moment,he’s still in shock at witnessing what no one should ever see.His friends are very concerned about him because the life of the party is mostly silent.Nathan isn’t much of a believer either.Like the majority of the world,Nathan believes his good deeds will ensure his spot in heaven.

Today my office phone rang with a call from Mike,who told me his dad has cancer.Mike is usually somewhat scatter brained on his best day,but today was different.There was fear in Mike’s voice,fear of losing his dad.Mike and his dad have a very special relationship,a relationship forged out of some difficult days from years past.Mike is “religious”. He goes to church on Christmas and Easter to appease his elderly mother.Every once in awhile in a half joking manner he’ll say something religious like “I’ll say a prayer for you”. The rest of the time Mike cusses like a sailor.Actually, I think he could teach sailors to cuss.

Finally,I would be remiss if I failed to mention the text I received today from Gene.Gene is hurting terribly right now because he’s having to do what he’s tried to avoid doing for many years.Gene is having to place his mom in a nursing home.Did I mention that Gene is a Mamma’s boy? He’s taken care of his mom for many years since his dad passed away,and in fact he once told me he’d do just about anything to keep her out of the nursing home.Thankfully,Gene is a believer,and so is his mom.

There are others that I have encountered today,but it is enough.

So what do you tell someone who is standing on the edge of the abyss,who doesn’t know that God can handle it? What do you tell someone who looks at you with “that look”in their eyes,that pleading,longing look that is more desperation than anything else?

You tell them God’s got this.

Because He can handle it.

Be blessed,

Ron

There’s Hope,then there’s HOPE!

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Hope,I really love that word because it speaks of having something to look forward to.It speaks of turning the page,of a new day with new opportunities.

We all have hope of some kind don’t we? Some of us hope for things,some of us hope for relationships,and still others of us hope for a better life altogether.

My wife and I even started a ministry called H.O.P.E.!

I think hope is something we all have to one degree or another.Granted,life can be challenging to the point that we feel that all hope is lost, yet God remains faithful even in the darkest of times.I don’t remember who said it, but someone stated that hope is being able to see that there is light in spite of the darkness.Love it.

In this world today many are questioning “where is that light”,for all that seems to take center stage is darkness.The senseless murder of innocents is increasing at an alarming rate throughout the world,and the pleas of the religious to stop the violence go unheeded.

Unquestionably,the hearts of many have become hardened to the point of unfeeling or uncaring.And it will get much worse.

Jesus said it would be so in the time in which we now live.

Yet…hope remains strong in the hearts of those who have placed their trust in the Lord Jesus.Not just any kind of hope,not just a maybe someday kind of hope.But a hope that is alive!

You see,there is one reason and one reason only why we have this kind of hope and it is summed up in one word:

Resurrection

For it is through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are able to lay hold on this hope.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,   [1Pe 1:3 NKJV]

Empty-Tomb-2

the cripplegate.com

Peter and the rest of the disciples understood that though they had suffered the loss of everything dear to them and had become social outcasts because of their faith in Christ,the faith that carried them from day to day was a living hope.

They had the kind of faith that was alive because they knew that their Lord was alive.And that hope is available to all of us today because Jesus is still alive!He is still alive and He is still offering that living hope to a world lost and headed for Hell.

That living hope is still the driving force that keeps us going through unspeakable tragedy.Hope that is alive is hope that will sustain us beloved!The tempest may blow,the storms of life will rage,our world will be rocked,but that living hope will see us through it all.

But there are those…

How sad that men and women choose to live out their lives not knowing that there is something beyond this life that is far better than anything they could ever imagine.The Apostle Paul said that if all we have hope for is in this life we are miserable!

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.    1Co 15:19 KJV

If you are reading this and you can say that you are without hope,or that your only hope is in this life,I invite you to consider Jesus the Living Hope.

He is the way maker when there doesn’t seem to be any other way.He is the peace speaker in the middle of the raging storm.He is the One and only One that can be called the difference maker.

He is alive,and He offers to all a living hope through His resurrection!

Have a blessed Easter,

Ron

A Day Like No Other

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Friday

We call it “Good” Friday

A day that saw an event that changed the entire world for all time.

An event so horrific and unthinkable as to defy the imagination.

crucifixion

bible-history.com

A day that saw the murder of the world’s only sinless man, who just a few hours earlier had been tried and found guilty of love.

That’s right; found guilty of love.

His only “crime” was that he willingly,lovingly offered Himself as the eternal sin offering that was necessary to take away the sins of the people. He did what was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to do: He did not merely postpone sin from one season to the next.

He eradicated sin.

For all people

For all time.

What I could never do,He gladly did for me.

Precious

Priceless

Matchless

Holy

Oh,so Holy

The Crucifixion of Jesus was the the most brutal,horrific,inhumane,and barbaric method to kill someone.It’s purpose was twofold:

It was meant to kill,and it was intended to humiliate.

Death from crucifixion is slow,deliberate,and excruciatingly painful.After enduring the tortuous anguish of the cross,death from exhaustion and eventually asphyxiation is seen as a welcomed relief.

Crucifixion was seen as the ultimate humiliation.Stripped of his clothing for the world to see was in itself humiliating.The condemned is then hoisted high above the earth to become a spectacle to all who passed by.

Jesus…

Humiliated

Tortured

Murdered

All because of love.

Jesus said this shortly before His death:

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”  John 10:17,18 NKJV

It was Love that was stretched on a cross that day two thousand years ago.

unconditional love

The unconditional love of Christ-Paul Washer

I put Him there

You put Him there

It was Love that kept Him there.

Someone said that love is not a religion,that love is a person.

Love is Jesus

A Day Like No Other?

Without question it was.

There will never be another day like that day.

There doesn’t need to be.

Once and for all,the atonement for our sins has been paid.

Be blessed,

Ron

The Invisible Line

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The Church.

For over two thousand years “The Church”has existed in this present world.What is commonly referred to as the “Body of Christ”has been a key part of society in nearly every country,on nearly every continent,and has impacted billions of people in some way or another.

The Church was born out of the heart of Jesus Christ who came to deliver a message of hope and redemption to an otherwise lost and depraved world.After Jesus was crucified and ascended to heaven,this Churchchurch one man began to replicate itself.Beginning with the twelve Disciples and the converts that they made and continuing through centuries past, this replication has been a continuous process.Whether one man or a thousand,the church has maintained it’s presence among the peoples of the world.

The World.

People of every nation and every conceivable culture make up the world that we live in.There are slightly over 7 billion people in the world today who speak approximately 6500 different languages.No matter what context you use to look at those numbers,they are staggering to comprehend!

crowd

There are a great many voices clamoring to be heard today that declare that we are,or should be, one.You’ve heard them I’m sure.They say that with every technological advancement the world is getting smaller all the time,and no doubt it is.Technology has erased the barrier of distance that has long hindered the world from becoming one people.Technology,for all of it’s greatness,has become the modern day equivalent of the Tower of Babel .One family.One people.One race.One planet.One species.One religion.One Church.

One.

There are  many in the world today who have embraced the concept that we people of the world are all one.World leaders,economists,environmentalists,special interest groups of every type all believe that the time has come to join together for the sake of us all.

Church leaders have adopted this worldly mentality as well.We are being told to lay aside our differences,our denominational doctrines,our various creeds of the faith,for the good of all.The outcome of this “oneness”is the deliberate blurring of the line between the Church and the World.In fact I will go so far as to say that the line is no longer blurred:it has become invisible!

In following this vision of “oneness”we have opened Pandora’s box to the unthinkable:the church has become indistinguishable from the world.Is this what Christ meant for the church to become?Is this what Paul meant when he said this:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among [them]. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”

18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”                     2Co 6:14-18 NKJV

When Paul wrote these words under the unction of the Holy Spirit,the church was in it’s infancy and as with any new work there were things taking place that needed to be addressed.The Holy Spirit spoke through Paul in an attempt to correct the misconception that is was OK for Christians to be joined together with unbelievers,or with those who lived a lifestyle that was in conflict with what Christ intended for His church

Where is this teaching today? I’m afraid to say that it is nearly nonexistent. I must report that such teaching is not at all well received today because the church has adopted the mindset of the world.The church wants to do everything the world does and still be called the church.We want to be included in activities that we know we should avoid.We want to partake of everything the world does and still be called the church.And we will not stand to have it any other way! We want to be one with the world!

The scriptures are clear however that God has called us to a life of separation from the world.In spite of that,the church of today chooses to inch ever closer to living a life of inclusiveness of all the world has to offer.This in spite of the Bible’s clear teaching that we cannot maintain fellowship with the world,participate in it’s sinful pleasures,adopt it’s practices as our own,and still be identified as a child of God.

It is painfully obvious to anyone that what passes for Christianity today would be completely foreign to the Apostle Paul.For all of our lofty,grandiose churches and programs I dare say that Paul would not be welcomed to preach in any of them!He was a man led by the Spirit,and any attempt to “modernize”him to go along with the program would be met with fierce refusal.WomanPileOfMoneyAlter

I chuckle sometimes when I see the WWJD bracelets being worn by people.I don’t chuckle because it’s funny,but because the answer to the question would likely not be what the masses think it should, or would be.Considering that Jesus took a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple because they had made His house a house of merchandise when it was meant to be a house of prayer,what approach would He take today in dealing with a largely backslidden church?

His way is the narrow way.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

14 “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.      Mat 7:13-14 NKJV

There must be a difference between the church and the world.

There must be a line drawn that the church cannot cross over.

It’s there.It exists. It’s not invisible.It’s plain for all to see.

If you’ve crossed that line I pray that you will come back.Come back to the straight and narrow way that leads to life.A way of personal holiness,a way of living that is separate from the world.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.     1Jo 2:15-16 KJV

Be blessed,

Ron

 

 

Dream Stealer

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There have been a few occasions when I have shared with everyone how that my wife always seems to know exactly what to say and when to say it.This past Monday was no exception.

Monday was my birthday and I was feeling a little down about some things while I was at work.My wife and I had shared a few texts back and forth and she figured it out pretty quickly.Wives are like that,you know?At least the good ones are.

At some point during my lunch time I received yet another text from my wife,and I could tell by the length of it a mini sermon had filled the screen of my phone.I’d like to share what she said to me in hopes that it might speak to others,just as it has to me.

“Just heard a quote:if you don’t make peace with your reflection,you will always be at war with yourself”. She followed that with this:”we can’t change our past,but we can leave it at the cross and and move past it…and have peace and thrive.You have a future doing something for the Lord,but only if you stop living in your rear view mirror.Trust,believe….our future is only going to be as sweet as you expect and believe that it will be.Don’t allow the enemy to steal any more of your dreams”.

I think I’ve read this a dozen times since Monday and it’s still as powerful as the first time I read it.

Our reflection,or the man in the mirror can be a tremendous hindrance to our progress in the Lord,but only if we allow it to!Haven’t many of us commented that our greatest enemy is often ourselves?To overcome,or gain the victory over our own self doubts is necessary if we are to do anything for the Kingdom of God.

We all have a past.A past that many of us wish we could somehow wipe away never to be remembered again.But there is a powerful adversary who knows every minute detail f our past,and his job is to make sure that we don’t ever forget it.

It’s important that we understand this.As Christians we acknowledge the fact that the sins of our past are no more.As far as the East is from the West,that’s how far God has cast our sins away.

Yet Satan,the angel of light,our adversary,is determined that our past sins continue to have a stranglehold on every facet of our lives.This is the battle that everyone must fight.God has forgiven.Satan says “no He hasn’t”.

Our sins were nailed to the Cross beloved.Once and for all our sins were purchased by the blood of Christ.I think we would all do better if we reminded Satan of this from time to time.After all,our weapons are more powerful than his!

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal,but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.   2nd Cor 10:4

Because our sins were nailed to that Cross we are free to move beyond them,justified before a Holy God as though we had never sinned.That should be what we focus upon.That alone should be our battle cry.

My sins,your sins,all of them are in the rear view mirror.They are behind us.The only way you can see them is if you turn around and look for them.

How about you? Have any big dreams for God? Unfulfilled dreams? Dreams that you continue to hold on to?

As my precious wife reminded me,”don’t allow the enemy to steal any more of your dreams”.

Be blessed,

Ron

Website Deleted

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I wanted to pass along an explanation to the readers of this site that it’s sister site Whitedministries.com” has been deleted. Until I get the new site up and running this is the only blog that I have.

All of us have been told from the beginning when we first started to use computers to “Back Up”our work. Well, I failed to heed that advice and it cost me a years worth of hard work. I had hosted Whitedministries.com on a very popular and highly recommended hosting site,and spent a lot of money in doing so. I foolishly thought that the hosting site’s back up protocol would be sufficient.

WRONG!

A simple,errant mouse click wiped out my entire site,and the hosting site claims they cannot restore it. So,it’s time to move on.

I will continue to use this WordPress account which hosts my “A Front Row View of the Church” blog. When my new web site is finished the blog will move to the new site.I will also have the opportunity to write in depth articles,as well as share many lessons and messages.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and understanding.

 

Ron

Priorities

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Priorities. We’ve all got them don’t we?

For most of us,priorities are fluid in that they are constantly changing and evolving.

If you’re like a lot of people,your priorities will usually end up on an itemized list like this:

No doubt your list will differ from my list. Yours may look more like a top ten list,while mine may have just a couple of items on it.For many, priorities revolve around family or career,or perhaps your education.Some people are very good at putting their priorities on a list,while others of us struggle to sort it all out.

Whatever it is that makes your list will become a goal that you must work hard to achieve.After all,nothing is given in this life.If you want it you have to earn it.And that takes work.A lot of hard work.

Jesus talked about priorities too.In fact,He even told us which ones should make it to the top of our lists.You can read all about it in the book of Matthew,chapter six.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.   Matthew 6:19-21  NKJV

Lets look into these verses a bit deeper.Notice the first words Jesus said were for us NOT to lay up treasures,or our priorities, on this earth because they were subject to destruction.Subject to failure,destruction,loss, and disappointment.Isn’t that the nature of things here on earth?

Now,if you and I were to compare these words of Jesus to our personal list of priorities,or our list of treasures,would we find that our list is in harmony with His words?

Or would we find that our personal list of priorities are pretty much dominated by earthly,or material things?Not saying we can’t or shouldn’t have priorities while we’re on this earth,but is your list of priorities dominated by them? Is your list out of balance? Many of us are probably like that aren’t we?

Life definitely has a way of twisting our priorities around.

  • Bills to pay
  • Dr.visits
  • Job loss
  • Divorce

All of these and countless others are life events that can turn our world upside down,and along with it our list of priorities.Which tells us that focusing the majority of our priorities on earthly things will leave us longing for something better.

Which is why Jesus tells us exactly where out treasures,or priorities,should be.He said they should be in heaven,because in heaven there will be no destruction of them.

Heaven.That place that you heard about as a child but maybe no longer believe in.That place where there is no night.That place where every tear is wiped away.That place where sorrow and pain will never make an appearance.

That place.Jesus told us to place our treasure,or our priorities,in heaven.

Maybe Jesus understands more about our nature then we like to let on.Maybe Jesus knew something about what motivates us.Maybe that’s why Jesus said this:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

Your treasures,or your priorities, will capture your heart.If your treasures,or priorities,are carnal than your heart will be as well.If our focus is predominantly on self or what we can get,it’s a sure bet that our heart will be intently focused on those things.

Funny thing about Jesus.He never left us guessing as to whether or not there was a “middle of the road” position to take did He? That is clearly evident with these few verses as well, for if we are earthly minded,our heart will be also.Oh,we may give a token thought or action to things above,but our first priority,our best efforts, will be geared towards the things of this life.

If we are heavenly minded,our heart will be also.Our hearts are fixed on heaven,on things eternal.We look forward to that day when we leave this life and step into a new one,one where things are not corrupted.Where thieves do not break in and steal.Where the Lamb is the light of the city.

Priorities.We’ve all got them don’t we?

Mine are changing with the passing of time.Having been a Christian now for 40 years my priorities have been to be a good provider for my family and to make heaven my eternal home one day.And I can see more clearly than ever before that both my treasures and my heart must be on things above.

The important things are the things that last,not the temporary things that we work so hard to attain.One day all of those earthly,temporal things that we prioritized in this life will sift through our fingers like grains of sand, and be gone.

They don’t seem all that important when you look at it this was,do they?

Laying up our treasures in heaven,having our hearts fixed on heavenly things,these are the things that stand the test of eternity.

Priorities.Where are yours today?

Be blessed,

Ron

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