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This Little Light of Mine

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How many have heard the old gospel song “This Little Light of Mine”?

It’s a song recognized around the world as a favorite of children. Many of you may have first learned this song in Sunday School or children’s church.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

Oh this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

 

Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine,

Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine,

Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

 

Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine,

Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine,

Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Though originally written as a song of love, hope, and devotion to our Savior, This Little Light of Mine was also sung as an anthem of hope and courage during the American civil rights movement of the 1960’s. In fact, it’s still being sung today during times of civil unrest.

America could sure use a little hope right about now, wouldn’t you agree? And we certainly need to shed some light on these times of uncertainty, when it seems that this present darkness is overpowering what little light remains.

Thinking about all of this as I watch the carnage unfolding across the landscape of America, about how desperately we now need the Church to be a beacon of light and a sanctuary of love, I can’t help but be reminded of the words of Jesus when he told the Disciples to let their light shine.  

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.   

15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand , and it gives light to all who are in the house.   

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. [1]   

The Church, that is You and Me, has the answer to the cancer that is racism. We have the antidote within us to calm the fears of a nation bordering on collapse.

The love of God is that light of the world. It is shed abroad in our hearts so that men might see Christ in us. It is given to us that men might see our good works and give praise to God for them.

Now is not the time to hide our lights. It is for such a time as this that God has given you this light, that those stumbling in the darkness may see.

While the politicians and the media are consumed with finger pointing and spewing forth their poisonous venom, the Church must be the Church.

Whether your church’s doors are open or closed has no bearing on who you are in Christ. What God has placed in your heart is not regulated by politicians, but guided rather by a higher Power.

The command to “let your light so shine before men” is in essence the marching orders of every Christian. The light within you is the antidote for hatred, and it must not be hidden from society.

I encourage everyone to pray for the situation in America. Pray that men would desire peace, and that the Lord would send peace that “passes all understanding”. [2]

I know that many today hold to the opinion that prayer doesn’t work. The Bible, however, tells us that “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. [3]

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

Oh this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Don’t let anything stop your light from shining. America and the rest of the world need to see it!

Ron 

[1] Matthew 15:14-16    

[2] Philippians 4:7  

[3] James 5:16 

 

In Minneapolis the Mayor will give you a mask while you riot, but you can’t attend church

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In what has to be one of the most blatant, shocking examples of just how far Satan has infiltrated the hearts and minds of governmental authority in this country, the Mayor of Minneapolis Mn. has decided that giving masks to the criminals destroying his city is safer than permitting the citizens to assemble for public worship.

Attending church, it seems, is more dangerous than the incredible violence now on display in Minneapolis.

Now, let’s try to understand this. In the state of Minnesota, any gathering of 10 or more people is strictly prohibited due to the pandemic. However, the government has NOT stopped the gathering of 10 or more looters, thieves, and other criminals who are plundering the city of Minneapolis.

The dangerous Christians though must be kept from assembling together lest they spread the COVID virus. So, we can steal, set fires, over turn police and emergency vehicles, and in the process shut down an entire city, yet we cannot attend church.

To put this scenario into even plainer words, what is happening right now in Minneapolis is that criminals are being given masks to protect them from COVID-19 while they are gathered in groups of hundreds to destroy the city, but Christians are considered too dangerous to permit them to gather in a church.

All of this is eerily similar to a certain Roman Emperor who allegedly set the city of Rome on fire and blamed it on the Christians. You might have heard of him, his name was Nero.

So while Minneapolis is burning, instead of stopping the violence and throwing the criminals in jail, do you suppose Mayor Jacob Frey is fiddling as his counterpart Nero was alleged to do?

Of course, he may be far too busy to be fiddling around, what with so many dangerous Christians wanting to attend a church service.

Here’s a thought for the good Mayor of Minneapolis. How about you do something radically different and open the churches this Sunday? As a matter of fact, how about you open the churches of Minneapolis and ask these churches to pray for peace over your fair city. I mean, it’s painfully obvious that your current plan to give the criminals masks and force the Christians to stay home on Sunday’s isn’t doing much for your citizens.

Mayor Frey, what do you have to lose by giving God a chance?

The actions of the Mayor of Minneapolis are indicative of just how far removed this nation is from the Godly principles that once guided her. The Church used to be the strength and guiding light of this nation as she worked hard to further the gospel around the world. Now, she is seen as a carrier of disease, too dangerous to be allowed to gather together.

Seems to me our nation is only too willing to follow in the footsteps of the dozens of other nations who are doing everything in their power to eradicate the name of God from their societies. That is, after all, what pagan societies do.

Let’s see if we are just as willing to endure the consequences of our actions, because it is an absolute certainty that consequences are coming.

Ron

 

I guess it really is a small world after all!

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Since the quarantine has nearly all of us home bound and going stir crazy, I thought I would offer up a personal story that might put a smile on a few faces.

I recently came across a Facebook post of a lady playing a solo version of “The Lord’s Prayer” on her violin. From what I gather, she plays in a bluegrass band somewhere in Georgia, and this particular song was just beautiful. 

Through reading a few posts made by others who are her FB friends, I was able to determine that I actually know this person. Well, to be more precise, I used to know this person. Let me share the story with you. It’s going to take a while, so grab your coffee and settle in as I take you on a little journey.

Way back when I was in the second grade, our family home was nearly destroyed in a fire. I don’t remember the exact date, but it was in the middle of winter. I remember that because when the fire was discovered in our basement, we all ran out into the cold night.

Seeing as how we lived in the country, we were several miles from a fire department. By the time the volunteer firefighters arrived on the scene, there wasn’t much left of our home except for the exterior. Everything inside except for a few odds and ends was destroyed. All of our clothes, toys, and furniture was gone within minutes.

Most of the remainder of that night and the succeeding days were a blur, but I do know we all stayed at the home of one of our relatives for a couple of days. What a scary time that was for our family, but we were very thankful to be safe.

Within a few days of the fire my parents announced to all five of us kids that they had figured out a plan for us, since it was obvious we couldn’t live in our home any longer. My older brother went to stay with an aunt and uncle. My three sisters went someplace I no longer remember, and I was sent to the home of a coworker of my dads who lived a few miles from our house.

I’ll spare you the details but suffice it to say I was somewhat terrified at being separated from my home and family, especially as I was now living with a family I had never heard of until now.

As I was about to learn, everything in my life was going to change. Not only was I now living with a family I did not know, this family would turn out to be vastly different than my own. Let me try to explain.

Both of my parents worked in a local factory, which meant that we were by no means wealthy. Far from it in fact. I’m sure that’s one of the primary reasons why we raised our own beef, pork, and chickens. Combine that with about an acre of garden and that’s how our family was fed most of the time.

We lived on about four acres of land in a small three-bedroom house constructed mostly by my dad. We had a couple of barns which held our animals, and this comprised all our “wealth”. So, as I said, we were by no means wealthy, yet I knew that we had a lot more than some families back in the early 60’s. 

My new host family however had precious little when it came to “things”. Other than a few chickens and their own huge vegetable garden, I don’t remember them having all that much, at least compared to what I was used to.

For example, I was used to watching my mom prepare huge meals for the family after her and my dad came home from their factory jobs in the afternoon. In contrast, even though my new family was basically the same size as my own, supper at this new house was a bit sparse compared to what I was used to. Nothing wrong with that, and I had plenty to eat, but it was different.

Where our house had a TV that on a good night could pull in two or three channels, they had no TV. Where we had faucets and running water, they had a hand pump at their kitchen sink. Where we had a nice bathroom, they had an outhouse. 

They also had something else we didn’t have at my house. They seemed to spend a lot of time praying and reading the Bible. I had never been exposed to any of that and didn’t know quite what to make of it.

Supper time began with prayer, as did breakfast. They even prayed before they went to bed! Their only source of entertainment, at least that I could see, was music. And oh, could they play and sing!

This family had four children, three boys and one girl. The boys played guitar and mandolin, while the girl played…yep, the violin. They mostly played gospel music, something I had never even heard of before. At my house, the only music I had heard was country music. Again, it was different.

All of them were very good singers, and this was my first time ever hearing what we now refer to as ‘tight family harmony’. I had no idea that there were actually different parts when people sang, such as tenor, soprano, and alto. Whatever it was, these kids had it in abundance!

I don’t remember how long I stayed with this family, but it was a few months. I really can’t say I remember many details of that time either, except that I was very lonely, and I missed my family terribly.

I had seen them several times over the course of those months, usually on the weekends, but of course it was never for a long enough time. The end of our visits became a dread to me because I always had to go back to my temporary home.

I’m not ashamed to admit that this little eight-year-old boy shed quite a few tears then!

The long-awaited day finally came when they told me that I would be going home the next day, and of course I could think of nothing else. Seeing my family again (even my sisters) was such a joy. Living in our own home again was magical, and life quickly settled down and became normal.

Under most circumstances I suppose that most people eventually move on after a tragedy strikes. As much as possible, the pieces of life are put back together again and as they say, life goes on. New memories are made, and old, painful memories are relegated to a place in our minds where they are best left undisturbed. 

Except that it doesn’t always work out like that. Take my host family for example. Who could have imagined the impact they would have upon my own family? Who could have ever guessed that the father of those kids would soon lead my own father to the Lord?

Seeing the outpouring of love this family had extended to his youngest son, my dad was so grateful that he accepted an invitation to attend church with his coworker, who by now had become a true friend. 

All because of a devastating fire that caused his family to be separated, my dad’s youngest son just happened to end up in the home of a Christian family. This is turn led my dad to church where he accepted the Lord as his Savior. Just four years later, my dad would step into eternity, safe in the arms of Jesus.

Quite the story, isn’t it? Except, as Paul Harvey used to say, “now for the rest of the story”!

Fast forward to my teenage years and I was invited to play on a local church softball team. Seeing as how I loved softball, I jumped at the chance to play. The fact that it was a “church league” didn’t mean much to me, especially since I didn’t even go to church. I just wanted to play ball!

So I rode my bike several miles to attend that first practice, and imagine my shock to find that the guy heading up the team just happened to be married to, wait for it…., the girl fiddle player of the aforementioned host family I stayed with so many years before!

Not only that, but she was the pitcher! Now try to imagine this: I’m waiting my tun at bat and I hear all the other kids having to answer a bible question before they were allowed to bat. Some sort of church requirement, I thought to myself. Naturally, I froze because I knew nothing about the Bible. 

So, I stepped up to the plate, wondering how in the world I was going to answer her Bible question. Would you believe I still remember that question? She asked me “what are the names of the first four books of the New Testament”?

Of course, I had no clue and was totally embarrassed. I started throwing out common names but never did get any of them right. To make matters worse, all of those goody goody church kids made fun of me. Eventually though they felt sorry enough for me and allowed me to participate.

My career as a church league shortstop didn’t last very long however, as it seemed they were not quite ready to have a heathen on their team. Seems I was a bit too rough for their tastes, or so I was told.

That ended my church attendance as well. Why go if they won’t allow me to play on their team was my attitude. This was also the last time I saw the violin player turned softball pitcher. Until I saw that Facebook video, that is.

Of course, this lady has no way of knowing that my dad was heard to pray in church one night “Lord, please save one of my children”. She has no way of knowing that God did exactly that, as I am the only one of five children to be a Christian. She has no way of knowing that the kindness and generosity her family showed me would ultimately lead me to Jesus, and that for the last four decades I have served in just about every capacity there is in church.

As I sit here writing this, I am overwhelmed at how God had His hand upon me all those years. The most amazing thing about that is that I wasn’t even aware of it. How incredible is it that God would direct the steps of a total stranger to accept me as one of their own, and that that experience would one day result in me coming full circle to serve God and minister to His people?

I don’t know about you, but you cannot make this stuff up. Even today, should someone tell me they don’t believe there is a God, all I would need to do is tell them my story. Coincidence? Not hardly.

All of us have a story to tell. Our life has been one page after another that if they were put in book form would provide one incredible testimony after another of God’s mercy and grace. Honestly, I think that all of us are the product of an event or a process that ultimately led us to the feet of Jesus, where we are now connected to the great family of God.

I guess it really is a small world after all, isn’t it?

 

 

Why are you fearful, child of God?

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For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

In times like these, it’s good to be reminded that our hope is not in the things of this world. 

Beloved, God has you in the palm of His hands tonight.

Ron

 

A new chapter

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I thought I would give a little update as to why I’ve not been blogging as much lately. A lot has happened in the past few months, so much so that my family and I have began a new journey, one that we are very excited about.

Due to unwanted, unexpected, and unforeseen circumstances, our family voluntarily removed ourselves from the church we had been a part of the past two and a half years, effective October 5th, 2019. With that, of course, went all opportunities for us to be used in that particular ministry.

While none of this was planned, meaning there was no plan ‘B’, I remain a firm believer that when one door is closed eventually another one will open. I have survived enough wars to know that God is faithful, and that if we in turn are faithful to Him everything will eventually fall into place. I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe one can ask for more than that.

Fast forward to January 2020 and indeed, another door of opportunity has opened. After weeks of non-stop prayer, God has led us to the place He wants us to be, where a new Pastor and church have welcomed us with open arms.

In a word, we could not be happier!

Just to show you how the Lord works and that His timing is always perfect, our first Sunday there just happened to be the last Sunday of another minister who was moving to another state. A door was opened!

We are now regularly involved in the music and teaching ministries of our new church. The fact is, we are busier now than we have been at any time in the past two and a half years, and by all accounts we are about to become even more busy as we acclimate ourselves to the ministries in this local church. We love it!

Our new church is hardly affluent, being located in a more rural area. What it lacks in affluence however is more than made up for by the wonderful, kind people(the majority of whom are of very modest means)who sincerely love God. These are hard working, salt of the earth people. My kind of people.

My wife reminded me the other day that all of this was an answer to prayer. Her exact words were something like “Every night I listened to you ask the Lord to open doors and use us for His purpose, and He has”.

Strange as it sounds, I hadn’t even made the connection!

So there you have it. We are continuing to find joy in this journey of ours, we’re simply traveling a somewhat different path. With that, for the time being this blog has now become a secondary ministry outlet, which means I will be blogging less and focusing more on actual church ministry.

This does NOT mean that I will be abandoning A Front Row View of the Church. I just won’t be posting regularly because I simply don’t have the time to do so. I will still enjoy reading the blogs that all of you post, and look forward to doing so.

Please keep our family in your prayers. Our heart’s desire is to make a difference in the lives of others, and for these same people to make a difference in ours as well.

Be blessed everyone!

Ron

 

‘O Holy Night’

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‘O Holy Night’ has to be at or near the top of my most loved Christmas songs.

From the Classic FM website we learn the history of this beautiful song:

“The music was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847, and was originally set to a French poem, ‘Minuit, chrétiens’ (Midnight, Christians) and released under the name ‘Cantique de Noël’. Placide Cappeau, the author of the French lyrics, was a wine merchant and poet. Although he was never particularly religious, Cappeau was asked in 1843 to write a Christmas poem to celebrate the recent renovation of the church organ in his home town. He obliged and, soon after, Adolphe Adam composed the accompanying music”.

The lyrics have undergone many iterations, and with each new version the artists have placed their own spin on them. In my opinion however, nothing compares to the original.

I find the three choruses to be the most awe-inspiring words of the entire song, beginning with the writer urging the listener to “Fall on your knees”, followed by “He knows our need”, and ending with “Christ is the Lord”.

Believe me when I say dear reader, that there are an incalculable number of sermons contained in these three simple choruses. They contain the necessity of every man humbling himself before his God, the only God who knows our every need, Christ the Lord.

I hope you will join me on this most ‘Holy of Nights’ and “Let all within us praise his Holy name”!

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Chorus
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming;
With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand:
So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land,
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend;

Chorus
He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King! before him bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!

Chorus
Christ is the Lord, then ever! ever praise we!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!

Here is one of my favorite vocalists, David Phelps, performing ‘O Holy Night’.

 

Merry Christmas, Christ is the Lord!

Ron

The politics of evil

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Evil

adjective
profoundly immoral and wicked

Evil appears in many ways in American society today. Whether we categorize it under different headings such as murder, various kinds of abuse, organized crime, or any number of extreme acts of violence, evil abounds in America.

There is one type of evil however that exceeds any of the aforementioned types. This evil is so diabolical as to stagger the imagination. Not only that, it is openly flaunted by millions in this country as their highest example of freedom, liberty, and the power of choice.

This evil has become a type of sinister litmus test in determining one’s political affiliation. Get on board and you are “in”. Resistance is futile however, and will banish any detractor to the category of Right Wing Neanderthalism.

This profound evil not only has a name, but it is endorsed by the full power and authority of the United States government. So powerful is this evil that it has managed to withstand a continual onslaught of legal challenges to its existence.

What is this ‘profoundly and immoral’ evil?

It’s name is ABORTION, and if the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates has its way, this evil is about to take a quantum leap to a level not imagined by any current or previous abortion proponent.

A recent article in the New York Times entitled “On Abortion Rights, 2020 Democrats Move Past Safe, Legal, and Rare” gives us an insight into just how deeply entrenched the evil that is called ABORTION has embedded itself into our culture.

The Times article notes that the presidential hopefuls are embracing what they call “far-reaching” abortion extremism by supporting abortion positions that most Americans disagree with. Most candidates, it seems, want taxpayer-funding for elective abortions, and few support any restrictions on abortion in the third trimester.

So in other words, the fact that most Americans disagree with these extremist abortion positions means nothing. Not only does it not matter that most don’t agree with their positions, these politicians want you and I to pay for them as well because if you are opposed to such an abomination, you quite simply don’t matter.

It is unconscionable that a nation who purports to believe in God could have arrived at such a dark place. Yet here we are, and the truth is that not only have we fallen from the pinnacle of idealistic morality, there are those among us who declare we should be proud of this!

Consider the recent statement from Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, who claimed that supporting the killing of unborn babies for any reason up to birth is something candidates should be proud of.

“They’re setting the tone that this is something we should own proudly, and not just react to when something happens,” Hogue said.

They(the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates) are setting the tone for all of us that killing children in the womb is something we should proudly “own”. Let that sink in for a minute. We should give honor to these people because they are setting the tone for us to proudly “own” the murder of the innocent.

Well, there is one part of Hogue’s diatribe I can agree with. We will “own” this, and we will answer for it when every one of us stands before a righteous God. That includes those who stand in their pulpits every Sunday, belching forth their latest sermonette replete with a myriad of jokes and pleasantries, all while never daring to warn the sheep of the impending destruction that awaits.

“Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead”. 1st Peter 4:4,5 KJV

I don’t know which is worse. The fact that these candidates do not want any restrictions on abortion, or that these candidates actually invoke the name of the Almighty in their speeches.

Actually, this is further proof of just how deeply Satan has ingrained himself in the psyche of American culture. That we could “own” such a heathen practice as abortion while still claiming to be “Christian” is undeniable proof of the following texts:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  2nd Cor. 11:13,14  KJV  emphasis mine

While America is embroiled in bitter division over whether or not the boogeyman (aka Donald Trump) has committed impeachable offenses, the devil is busy at work right under our noses in an all out assault on the collective morality of this nation.

The evil that is abortion has proven to be the single greatest weapon in Satan’s arsenal against America, for it has served to undermine the foundation of our Christian heritage. Think about that, would you?

America has survived a Civil War that came close to destroying her. She has survived two World Wars. She has managed to come through wars in Korea and Vietnam. She is still engaged in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is clear however that the enemy that will eventually conquer America will not come from a foreign power. No, the enemy that will be our undoing is alive and well right here in our midst. It is an enemy more powerful than any nuclear weapon or any army of soldiers.

It is the enemy of…

Evil

adjective
profoundly immoral and wicked

Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
Or a bride her attire?
Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.  Jeremiah 2:32  NKJV

Because My people have forgotten Me,
They have burned incense to worthless idols.
And they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in pathways and not on a highway,   Jeremiah 18:15  NKJV

We have but one hope America. Either we return to God with a repentant heart, or we continue the downward slide into oblivion.

May God have mercy on us.

Ron

 

 

 

 

 

 

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