Friday, October 9, 2015

Still harvesting Deuteronomy (14-31:8)

You are the children of the LORD your God...

you are a people holy to the LORD your God.  Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession...

Be joyful...

When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you....

For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory...

until the high fortified walls in which you trust fall down...

With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those miraculous signs and great wonders.  But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.  During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.  You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink.  I did this so that you might know that I am the LORD your God...

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of the law...

The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live....

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.  It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it...

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him...

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you...

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged...


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Never Means.....Never

The news gets worse everyday.  It's challenging not to give in to despair, to hold on, to not give up, give in, or give out.  I wonder, how does God do it?  How does He see everything that goes on in this wicked, wicked world and still love us?

You and I both know that if you or I were God we'd handle it all differently.  We'd be driven by law or grace, surely not both at the same time.  We'd either be condemning and display our wrath, or pat our little creation on the head and say, "You're so sweet."

I can unfollow, unfriend, ask to not be shown this, or simply go off the grid where I am oblivious to anything that causes my blood pressure to rise and my spirit to faint.

God can't.

God won't.

Isn't that awesome?!!!!

When I've had enough, God hasn't.

When I've run out of words to convey what my slug brain tries to voice, God's words echo - over and over and over again.

Never will I leave you or forsake you.


Never will I leave you or forsake you.





Never will I leave.

Never will I leave you.


Never will I forsake.  You.


You know what never means both in English and in Greek and Hebrew:

Never.  No way.  Absolutely not.

When all else is falling to pieces and breaking our hearts and spirits, God is still there.  When the news is grim and getting grimmer every hour, God is still there.

Never.  No way.  Absolutely not will I leave you or forsake you.

Never means never.

Not a hard one to remember, just a hard one to see amidst the evil that is trying to swallow us up.


He's got this.



For further study of the things God says "never, no way, absolutely not" about.

Genesis 8:21; 9:11,15; Jeremiah 32:40; Lamentations 3:22; 
Exodus 14:13; 31:6,8; 34:10 Joshua 1:5; 10:14; Psalms 9:10; 28:5; 34:5; 94:14; 
Isaiah 28:16; 45:17; 58:11; 60:11,20; 65:20
Matthew 13:14; 16:22; 24:21, 35; 26:35; Mark 10:15; 13:19,31; 14:31; Luke 1:15; 18:17; 21:33; John 4:48; 6:35, 37; 8:12; 10:5; Acts 13:41; 28:26; Romans 4:8; Galatians 4:30;
Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 2:6;
Revelation 3:5, 12; 18:7, 21,22, 23

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our story in His-story

What will history say of us who live during this time?  What will we tell our grandchildren and, Lord willing, our great grandchildren about this time?  What questions will they think of asking us as they study this time period?  When they open their history books to the pages marked 2015, what will they say to their classmates and teachers about us as they are taught about the days we are living in right now?

I wish I could go back and talk to my ancestors, not just the ones I knew personally, two great grandmothers, but I'd like to talk to those who were the first to take the risk, the first to leave Germany - their families, their friends, their work - all to come to America.  What in the world, I would ask, was so bad that you were willing to give up everything to come to a place where you knew no one?

I wonder if they could put into words the reasons why, or if they felt a little like I feel right now, at a loss to put into words that make sense how they viewed the world in which they lived.

You and I are born into this time of history through no choice or desire of our own.  No other time period held a spot with our names on it except this one.  This is the time period in which a Heavenly Father lovingly placed us to live and move and have our being.  It wasn't by chance that any of us ended up here.  It wasn't by chance that we were born into the family we were born into.  It wasn't a coincidence that we were placed in the exact spot where we sit today - I as I type, you as you read.

We were placed here for a reason, part of a Divine plan, for a specific purpose.

What we have suffered, are suffering, and will suffer is not out of our loving Savior's sight.  It is part of a bigger plan any of us could even imagine.

The question is:  How will your role be talked about two hundred years from now?  One hundred years?  Fifty years?  Twenty?  Ten?  One?

Is the fight you are in the fight God has called you to be in, or is it the fight you've chosen to be in because you didn't like the place he picked for you?

Deep thoughts, I know.  Too serious, I know.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the ancestors before us could have told us why they did or didn't do what they were chosen for?  Maybe I'm the only one who wonders such things, maybe I need to drink more or work more or just stop praying so much then none of this would ever get in the way of my own attempt to avoid my calling.

What will be said of us as history looks back at our time?  Will our faith be recognized or our fear be more noticeable?  Will our hope be a beacon or will our fear stamp it out?  Will our courage be empowering or will our fear hold us back cowering?  What will our descendants say of us?

I know what I want them to know about me.

She believed God and followed Him with her whole heart, soul, mind and strength.  I've got a long way to go, but he keeps giving me eyes to see the light for just the next step.  It's time to think pass the troubles of today and ask God to show us how he is using them for the future.  I think it's time anyway.  He may be telling you something different, but that's what I'm hearing.

How will you be remembered in your history book?



Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Permission granted

I'm a little twitchy as I write this.  At risk of much rebuke by those much smarter to me in the areas of the Apostle Paul and Ancient Greek thoughts and customs, I get a little twitchy.  My RN degree does not cover the words that are banging and thrashing around in this mind of mine.  But they've been there, at the forefront for quite a while, and today is the day I've got to begin to let them be free to have their say.

I will confess up front, I am taking two passages right out of a greater context and not spending time looking at the historical and cultural angles.   I'm sure they are very valuable, but I am doing what many claim is the wrong thing to do (myself included).  I am picking a verse(s) and going with it.  What I pray you do is read the context surrounding it, and I highly encourage you to do so.  I am going to take these verses and put them smack dab in 2015, without apology.  If this is the day we part ways, so be it.

These words were not highlighted in my bible years ago.  In fact, I have never highlighted them on paper.  But God has kept them highlighted in my mind I guess.

And is the day for exploration.

Everything is permissible for me - but not everything is beneficial....Everything is permissible for me - but I will not be mastered by anything.

Everything - all that exists
Panta - all the whole, every kind of

permissible - allowed or permitted by laws or rules
exesti - permitted, lawful, possible

beneficial - producing good or helpful results or effects; producing benefits
sympherei - am profitable to, combine in a way that brings a profit (gain), especially by a concurrence of circumstances that results in benefit or advancement

mastered - one having authority over another
exousiazo - to exercise authority over, I am ruled, am held under authority

constructive - helping to develop or improve something; helpful to someone instead of upsetting and negative
oikodomeo - to build a house; I build, build up, edify, encourage

If you want to look two verses up, the two verses in all of the Bible that use these sentences, I'll wait. 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23.

Panta is exesti - but not panta is sympherei.  Panta is exesti, but I will not be exousiazo.

Panta is exesti - but not panta is sympherei.  Panta is exesti, but not panta is oikodomeo.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News, tells us Jesus has defeated the powers of sin, death, and the devil.  Grace has entered our world.  Grace, the undeserved favor of a Holy God now rests on each and every person from the beginning of time until the last breath is breathed.  There is no sin that has not been covered, paid for, and thrown away as far as the east is from the west.

If you trust that Jesus' Victorious work on the cross has done all that you can never do, you can rest completely in God's grace.  There is no sin that you have committed or will commit that is not covered under his Victorious work on the cross.

You can lie.  Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can steal.  Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can cheat.  Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can kill.  Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can overeat.  Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can abuse your spouse.  Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can think only of yourself twenty four hours a day.  Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can live a life totally separated from seeking God's will.  Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can have sex with someone of the same sex.   Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can blow up three buildings and kill thousands of people.  Because of Christ, forgiven.

You can do anything and everything your sick and evil heart desires.  Because of Christ, it is forgiven.

But the question is, how is doing any or all of these things beneficial to me or those around me?

If I lie and Christ forgives, does that make lying beneficial?

If I steal and Christ forgives, does that make stealing beneficial?

If I cheat and Christ forgives, does that make cheating beneficial?

If I kill and Christ forgives, does that make killing beneficial?

If I abuse my spouse and Christ forgives, does that make abuse beneficial?

If I think only of my self and Christ forgives, does that make selfishness beneficial?

If I live a separate life outside of God's will and Christ forgives, does that make life without him beneficial?

If I have sex with someone of the same sex and Christ forgives, does that make homosexual sex beneficial?

If I blow up three buildings and kill thousands of people and Christ forgives, does that make doing so beneficial?

"Oh, but Ronda, the good that comes from _______, _________, or _________, how can you judge someone or something who does this? "

I can judge because I have done a lot of these very things and they have not been any benefit to me.  In fact, the opposite.  

So if you are rejoicing in permission and see only good benefits, ask yourself this....Is everyone else, besides only me, benefitting from my freedom?

You want to keep killing babies legal because the good that goes on is more important?  Ok.  The truth is the benefits aren't all that great.  There are mothers and fathers and grandparents and siblings who mourn the loss of those innocent lives.  Is that the good you are thinking of?  Oh, that's right, it's the free mammograms.

You want to make it legal for marriage to be redefined?  Ok, in Christ, forgiven.  The benefits?  Hmmmm.  Nothing that you couldn't have gotten without redefining thousands of years of one covenant.  There are legal documents called wills and Powers of Attorney nowadays.  But ok, we'll look for the benefits.  I'm sure they're there.  I'm sure one little mandate by one Court is making your inner struggle go away too.

You are at risk of being called a hypocrite if you say these things are ok in your mind.  If these things are ok you have to say EVERYTHING is ok.  Go ahead, Paul said it.  But he took it a step further.  He put checks and balances in his statement.

Not EVERYTHING is beneficial.  Not EVERYTHING builds someone else up.  And that is the goal of EVERYTHING we are to do.  

That's what Jesus did.  He did what was good for everyone.  He did what was going to free EVERYONE.  He made the selfless sacrifice for EVERYONE and was VICTORIOUS on a cross used to defeat him. 

There is NOTHING you can do to save yourself from the consequences of EVERYTHING his sacrifice gave you the freedom to do.

Your choices have consequences.  What you support, what you vote on, what you voice or don't voice   - your actions, every single one, has consequences.  Just as there will be consequences to my writing this, I'm sure. 

I love you too much to not tell you this.  I don't care if you unfriend me, unfollow me, burn my book, whatever.  I don't care. 

I care about you and I don't ever want you to say to me, "Why didn't you tell me sooner?"

Jesus loves you so much more than I ever will.  His love forgives what we humans could never forgive.  He doesn't say "don't" to be mean to you.  He says it to protect you.  To protect your heart. To protect your soul.  He loves you enough to tell you the truth about the choices you are making.  I must have courage to do the same.

You are His precious child.  His love is deeper than anyone or anything can ever give you.  I pray you know that.



Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  
Do not be deceived:  
Neither the sexually immoral 
nor idolaters 
nor adulterers 
nor male prostitutes  
nor homosexual offenders
 nor thieves 
nor the greedy
 nor drunkards 
nor slanderers 
nor swindlers
 will inherit the kingdom of God.  
And that is what some of you 
But you were washed, 
you were sanctified, 
you were justified
 in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
 "Everything is permissible for me" - 
but not everything is beneficial.  
"Everything is permissible for me" - 
but I will not be mastered by anything.  

In the whisper of faith the size of a mustard seed, you are forgiven and set free.  Walk, no RUN through the prison doors Jesus opened for you.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Can you hear God singing over you?

He is you know.  Singing you songs of comfort and encouragement, cheering you on, drawing you nearer and nearer to him.

I can't wait to hear the tune, but mostly I wish I could hear his voice, like I do when I hear a song this side of heaven.  I wish I could...and I almost can....but then it gets covered in white noise and commercials and distractions.  Oh the distractions.  An's worst enemy.  It's not that we're low on distraction, it's the opposite.  We are overwhelmed by distraction.

I wonder if there's a lot of that pseudo ADDing going on in the world right now.  We can't hear Him singing over us because of all the things that we are getting distracted by, that are filling our ears and our minds and our eyes.

Take a breath, close your eyes, shut off the tv, the computer, your iPad, the radio, your phone, and just listen for His voice.

Can you hear it?  He is singing.  If you listen closely, you can hear him singing softly and oh so tenderly his love song to you.

You are mine.
I love you.
There is nothing you can do to change my love for you.

He delights in you like a new parent over their newborn child.  He sings sweetly, softly, holding you close.

Can you hear Him?


Zephaniah 3:17