THE DC MEN- A Décima Poem

The DC Men

‘The powers that be’ say stay calm,

and wait till a little later.

But now’s the time that is greater.

Keep 119:60 a just Psalm,

carried out in your righteous palm.

Look at that divinely sent ten.

Are they kept bye those DC men?

If only they’d done as they should

we would be saying ‘all is good’,

But now….off to the lion’s den.

 

 

I used LATER as a Synonym for NEXT. I didn’t like the first poem I put out.

HERE is some of my recent poetry related to Black Lives Matter to scroll through.

Standard Poetry Image for Friday

My entry for this week’s Décima Poetry Challenge No. 9 NEXT. (A New Challenge here on ronovanwrites.com)

 

© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.

To Smile, To Live: A Haiku.

To smile is to live

A life filled with potential

Is one of God’s gifts.

 

 

© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.

Politics or Praise, what’s in your church?

Lately I’ve been doing research for a series of posts I plan to do in regards to why young people and even some older people leave the church, the Christian church. The reasons have been many and not all that surprising for the most part. After all, those that don’t like Christianity are happy to give you the reasons on air whenever they get the chance.

I will get in to each reason later, but it recently occurred to me that they all had something in common. Those in leadership positions of the church, elected or simply held in high regard, let the members of the church down. Why, because they are looked up to as examples of what a Christian should be. The fairly new Christians, and that is of any age, often see hypocrisy occurring when people forget they are a church and begin acting as though the church is some power organization that one needs to control or be a part of.

I’ve been part of a church that went from having to park on the grass and sitting in folding chairs of a 300+ capacity church to having only 100 show up for service. All because of politics. Most often it is because someone didn’t like the pastor and when that one influential person leaves, all those that are on that person’s side, follow suit. By the way, he was an amazing pastor who got my father back into church after being out for over 30 years.

While everyone is involved in the politics, as opposed to praising and praying, the people of the church are not being fed spiritually nor being fed the knowledge of scripture. Two very important things in a Christians foundation of belief.

Another thing that happens is members see the infighting and power struggle of the church and can’t help but notice the hypocrisy occurring. The gossip, the whispers, the sometimes outright lying. The causing of conflict and discord in the church.

Those involved in the conflict are so caught up in what is happening that they don’t realize they are failing others. They see their needs as being the most important needs, but they explain this away by saying it is also best for all those in the church. Is it really?

I am a fan of the Simple Church. It is a book by Thom S. Rainer and talks about how to cut out all of those things that a church doesn’t really need. In other words, back to basics. I heard him speak on this at a SBC conference once and the end to all the headaches of what was occurring in my church looked to be in sight. I’m a peacemaker. That’s what my spiritual gift has been identified as. That is one reason a lot of my posts seem to give a bit of two sides of things and rarely have an edge to them. As the head of the Deacons, and Sunday School, and Youth Director, I embraced the Simple Church.

For us it was almost too late. But we still survive.

I am not speaking about conflict in the church just be talking. It really dose run people off. If this is all you have experienced in a church, or the majority of your time, then why would you want to stay there?

With that I give you the following passage.

Proverbs 6:16-19

There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
        haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
        a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
        a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” NIV Translation

This is a list from lowest of the things he detests to his most. Note his most despised thing, those who cause conflict or discord within the church. This doesn’t mean those who ask questions, because one who believes wants to know as much as possible and needs to know in order to be able to give answers when asked. This means those who are out for some kind of control or want to get their way in a dispute.

When whispers and gossip begins to spread and your church numbers begin to dwindle , there is something wrong. Look in the mirror and see if you have the heart of Jesus for all members of your church. If you are not happy in your church, then find another one, but leave quietly. Don’t leave with a roar in an attempt to break a church down. Because when you do, the young Christians, and I mean young as in new to being a Christian at any age, only see hypocrisy and the discord caused. They do not receive the spiritual energizing and feeding they need with their fellow Christians that is so important, especially in the early stages.

For those thinking God only spoke to the Jews in the Old Testament about conflict and lying and gossipers, check out Romans Chapter 1 and see what He says they deserve.

Finally, I give you one of my favorite verses.

Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Emphasis mine.)

This is the Old Testament and means Christians and Jews alike, should be still and remember that what we can do is finite, what God can do is infinite.

Be still can mean that people who believe they can do good works to show they are good and mighty are foolish because they do not give God the credit for their ability to achieve.

Christians should be still and observe all that God has done and can do, and realize that we shouldn’t sweat over things we can’t control. Do what is within your control, and as you do so with God’s help, you will be able to discover there are more things in your control because you have grown. This is what young Christians should be able to look forward to, not a conflict torn church that denies them the opportunity, or perhaps a young person thinking of asking Jesus into his/her heart and walks away instead because of what they see.

The Garden of Earthly Delights. At least that’s its name this century.

Last week I began a new, hopefully, weekly bit of a challenge and cultural growth posting called “Guess That Art!” In this challenge you’re not to cheat but to see if you know what it is and comment, comment about what you think of the art, and even write a piece of poetry inspired by the art and share it through a link in the comments.

The at below is called The Garden of Earthly Delights by Dutch artist, Hieronymus Bosch, born 1450 and died 1516. The work is actually known as a triptych because there are three individual panels/paintings. The triptych was painted sometime between 1490 and 1510, so when he was between 40-60. He is well known for his iconography. I believe that is what makes his work so interesting and engaging. Also it gives it a futuristic feel, especially when you consider the pieces is over 500 years old. (The painting has been known by other names throughout history.)

The first panel is a scene of the Garden of Eden and most often interpreted as the moment God introduced Eve to Adam who is just coming awake from his surgical procedure. Click the link to go to an enlarged view of the panel that you can see the details and interpret the symbolism of the artists imagery. The man had a serious opinion about some things it would seem. Click here to see the first panel.

The second or middle panel is similar to the first panel with the continuation of the horizon and terrain. It might even be possible that the second is future of the first when you look deeper. There is an obvious air of sexuality in the middle panel and thoughts have been it is a warning of where the world is heading. You get a feeling of condemnation from it and when you look at many of the individual scenes it becomes apparent what he may have thought. The large pink tower in the upper left corner is one that I was a bit surprised by. Click here to see the middle panel.

The third panel is the result of what Bosch saw as humanity’s wild forays into indiscriminate selfish pleasure. This is either a Hell on Earth or actual Hell. I especially find the pig nun disturbing. Click here to see the middle panel.

What are you thoughts and interpretations? Share in the comments. Friday I will be sharing another work that I came across during some research.

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch

Here is what the work looks like when the panels are closed. If you look closely you will see what is thought to be God in the upper left corner looking down on earth as light is first appearing over Earth.

Creation_Garden of Earthly Delights.

The Power of Positivity.

The power of positivity. In order for it to change your life you have to understand a few things and apply it across the board.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. That was the verse I was given to study upon. Not a lot to go on there and of course I did as I always do and went to the book itself and read the verses leading up to and following it.

“12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” James 1:12-18

That’s a lot to throw at you but I liked it. It’s something I’ve reminded people from time to time when things have looked bad and they’ve looked weary at church. This always leads into questioning about what good is happening in life. The bad things can be powerful because they can loom large. One reason problems can be large is because we give so much power to things. It’s like when you have that one favorite TV show and you MUST see it every week. Then it gets cancelled. You feel it’s the end of the world. But then what happens? You find a new favorite.

But sometimes big things are big things. You still can’t let them control your entire life. The worry about them affects the other areas. Eventually that one thing ends up destroying everything else.

You know, some people like to use that old idea of a grain of sand turning into a pearl when they talk about how an irritant can bring about something wonderful. Well, that irritant is in one spot, it doesn’t move around to all areas of the oyster. The oyster lives a fine and happy life with a pearl.

It’s a struggle to work against the negative. Or it can be. Put with practice, focusing on the positive, you end up having the positive weed its way into the negative areas. It’s always better to go into a job interview with a good and positive attitude than a negative one.

Ronovan

Romans 1:16

One Master.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

A lot of people look at Christianity as a way out. Some, even preachers, would take a verse like this and say, “See, you don’t have to worry about anything. Do what you want and you’ll be fine.”

The only thing is, this verse is part of a letter to the Romans and you can’t take one line of that letter out of context. So I read the whole section it was included in even though I was given just that one verse for the day to study over.

There are basically two masters of the world, sin and righteousness, or bad and good. You are either a servant of one or the other. Sometimes you’re going to mess up and do something that falls into the camp of the other, but when it comes down to the end, you’re going to have to answer to whoever the leader you serve.

Not being under the law doesn’t mean a Christian is above the law. It’s a reference to the Old Testament laws. There were a LOT of them. Jesus fulfilled those laws with his sacrifice. By a person becoming a Christian they agree to follow the one who already took the fall for us. We still have to answer to God when the time comes. Like I’ve said before, “Give me the smallest piece of Heaven and I’ll still be in Heaven.”

We each make a choice as to what master is going to be our primary leader. I’ve personally chosen God/good/righteousness and depending on the grace of God to forgive me for my failings. Some may say there is no such thing as God. I’d rather believe there is. And why not, right? There is no harm. At least not for those who are real Christians, and no harm from real Christians. We are not supposed to force our beliefs on others. As far as I am concerned we aren’t to make laws that force those beliefs either. But I will be honest and say if there is a vote for something that is against my beliefs, then I’ll vote against it. Too many people get upset when a vote doesn’t go there way. I haven’t had a vote of any kind that has harmed me in any way. But that’s where legislation gets in the way. They don’t let the people vote for things, even simple things. I think they might be surprised how a vote would turn out.

Well, I’ve rambled there a bit, but I hope you get what I’m saying, or at least get something I’ve said.

Much Respect

Ronovan

Boast in your weaknesses.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Sometimes you need to go to the book itself when you’re given a verse to read for the day. So I did, and read what led up to this statement by Paul to the Corinthians.

I like Paul because he’s not afraid to talk about his own failings, although he keeps his main failing, the ‘thorn’ in his flesh a secret, he still admits he has one. So what does the verse mean?

I look at myself as an example. I have Fibromyalgia which is also known as Chronic Pain. I have Chronic Fatigue, migraines that are always present, with variance in intensity, light and sound sensitivity, a sleep disorder, as well as spinal problems and other health issues. Why do I even look at those weaknesses in delight? Or perhaps the insults I’ve received at times?

Because with the help of God, those weaknesses, insults, and persecutions didn’t stop me from doing something I’ve dreamed of for decades. In fact, because of those weaknesses I may  have accomplished my goal of becoming a published author.

I took what life gave me and worked with it. I didn’t say that because my life isn’t the norm, that I couldn’t accomplish something. Even today I don’t know when I will sleep, when I will be awake. Sometimes I sleep three hours out of 48 and I will turn that into something useful in writing. What better way to describe sleep deprivation than being in it?

Anyone can brag about something they’ve done. But boasting about a weakness is something else. Overcoming hardships to be normal or even being extraordinary is something to talk about, but it’s mainly something to look to and realize help was given along the way. God directed me to write a book, or a few really. Within three months of an accident that changed my life forever, I’d written a book that I am about to shop to agents. I shouldn’t have been writing anything, but I had this need inside of me to challenge myself to accomplish something I’d never done before, write a romance novel. So it turned out to be a coming of age novel more than a romance. I still did it.

Having that helping hand to guide me, to support me, to lift me up when I fall backwards, is something that I know I can rely on and makes me more fearless in what I do. I am not afraid of weaknesses or failures. I use them.

Much Respect

Ronovan

It isn’t that easy.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)

If you’ve been visiting my site long enough you may have seen that verse before. It’s what I call my Life Verse. I have a couple of them. If you’re a Christian you’ve probably been asked what you’re Life Verse is. Imagine if you’re in your 20s, have been a Christian for like 2 years and are asked that. Your first thought is, “No one said that I had to have one of those when I got dunked in the water!”

You have to be careful and not just throw out any old verse.

A few readers have already clicked away by now, but the rest of you will find out what I’m writing about today.

I just finished going through one of those lists things, you know like ’10 Famous People Who Eat Chalk’ or ’23 Celebrities Who Used to be Famous’.

This was one about celebrities that we didn’t know were atheists.

There were some sad revelations: 1) I didn’t know who some of the people were, 2) Some are agnostic, not atheist (It’s okay to have questions.), and 3) Some you could just see being a Christian gets in the way of what they want in life.

One of the things that sparked me to write is what one person said. It was something like “It would be great if I were a Christian, then I could do anything and ask for forgiveness and be okay.”

That’s the voice of someone who hasn’t lived as a real Christian. When I do something wrong, yeah, I ask for forgiveness, but I don’t feel okay. You see, I’ve disappointed  God and insulted Jesus’s sacrifice. (And yes, you are supposed to put an ‘s for possessive when the name ends in s, I looked it up. Although either way is socially acceptable. Thus ends the editor voice version of me.) You can let a lot of people down and feel okay, you can get over it. But when you’ve done something bad, even if you get away with it, God knows, and you know God knows. Even when you say “Sorry!” you know God still knows.

It perturbs me when I see people speaking about the ease of Christianity. If I were not a Christian I would only have to deal with myself in those moments. I could forgive myself and move on. Now, I don’t wallow in my wrong doings. I know they are there. They come back to me at times. No, God isn’t reminding me. I remind myself because I know the injustice I’ve done to the one that made it possible for me to live without having to deal with what death brings. I will stand before God and answer for what I’ve done. The gifts in Heaven God had for me will be taken from for each of my wrong doings. But I will still be in Heaven. Even if all the gifts are gone, as long as I have one tiny spot in Heaven, I’m good.

Even that, I don’t DESERVE. Christians live like anyone else, except we carry a load that others shake off at times. If any Christian says they don’t have a load to carry then I would question them a little. I am able to lighten my load through prayer, Bible study, and trying to live my daily life the way I think Jesus would have me do it. Things will still happen to me here on Earth. Problems will still be faced. Sadness will still come. But I know at the end I’ll be good.

So it saddens me when I see comments about how easy it is. It saddens me to see people not wanting to be Christian because they don’t agree with something in the Bible. There’s a lot I don’t agree with but I understand the why of it during the time of it. That mainly applies to the Old Testament. You might realize at this time I am a New Testament guy. Jesus came to fulfill what was said in the Old Testament, about all those laws and things. Christians really have one law these days, follow Jesus. If you are a follower of his then you do what he taught. And he taught pretty good stuff. He’s the one that argued with the people who misinterpreted the Old Testament. He’s the one that helped people on the Sabbath. He’s the one that ate with the undesirable people of the time.

It isn’t easy inside or even out these days. Saying you’re a Christian can make people treat you differently, make jokes happen, bring about frowns. But I take it all in stride. That’s one thing that is easy with God. With God, you can face anything with a smile and head held up.

Faith of Inclusion.

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3)

Some people don’t like the Apostle Paul. He’s too liberal, to revolutionary. Paul’s my favorite and I’m pretty conservative about a lot of things. Then again, I’m pretty common sense about a lot of things as well.

Did you know that the early Christians didn’t see themselves as a new religion? As far as they were concerned they were Jews. They were Jews who believed the Messiah had come. Honestly, you can’t get much more Jewish than believing in a Messiah. That’s not a Gentile thing.

Paul sort of forced the hand of other Apostles. He went outside the box and started in on the Gentiles, the non-Jews. He did as Jesus did and reached out and spoke to non-Jews. Surprised at that? Think about the Samaritan woman at the well, the Roman Centurion.

One thing I like about Christianity is the inclusion factor. I know, another surprise for some. For Christians who follow the Christ path and the Bible, we see how we are all sinners, we all do things way beneath deserving of Heaven, Salvation, and anything else to do with Jesus and God. Even after accepting Jesus, God knows we will still do wrong things but He still made the sacrifice.

“Oh, but He knew Jesus would be resurrected!”

Have you ever felt the sting of a whip? Let’s say you have, now magnify that by millions. Each lash of the whip carries with it the punishment of millions. Imagine the agony. Imagine what goes through the mind during all of that. I personally would be like, “Did I sign up for this?”

Paul did a wonderful thing by reaching out to us. He didn’t say that if you do this and then stop you’ll be kicked out or killed. He also didn’t say it would be an easy job. A lot of us Christians talk about how difficult it is to be a Christian. We talk about following teachings that are so not in line with the ‘cool’ way of doing things. I’m good with that, no problems. Being cool is only a thing I’m trying to be as opposed to being burning forever. What is most difficult about being a Christian is failing every day and knowing God sees it. Living with that, knowing I disappointed Him and Jesus. Lot of guilt there, not so much I’ll hide in my room and flog myself until my skin bleeds. No repeat of the Scarlett Letter here, even if I were a preacher.

I’ve learned to let go of a lot of the guilt and live a carefree life in many ways. It occurred to me, okay it occurs to me every time I start feeling guilty, that God knew even before He sent Jesus that I would fail. No, I’m not cheering when I fail, but in those dark moments, I grab hold of that thought and it pulls me up.

Inclusion. God included me in His decision making from the very beginning. I’ve been included in His thoughts from the beginning. I’m included in His plan.



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Freedom to be free.

Do you know how to lead a fearless life? Fear means you have a problem with the end results of something that is going on. One thing that most people fear the most is death. They may not realize it but they do.

I don’t fear death. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to die and if someone was aiming a gun between my eyes I would be wetting myself so much Georgia would be the new location of the Great Lakes.

No, I mean I am not afraid of the results of that final destination. If I die, I’m not afraid of being dead. A lot of people will tell you that they are just going to be worm food so why be afraid. That’s what they say. Have a conversation with a great many of those people and you’ll find the story is different.

I’m not afraid because of the whole Christian thing. You see, Jesus on the cross, resurrection, ascension and all of that gives a chance at freedom. People wonder what it means by freedom when it comes to Christianity. The freedom we have is that death has no hold over us because we know where and who we belong to.

If I hadn’t accepted Jesus as my Savior, my Lord then I would fear the torture I would have to face for all the sins I’ve committed.  Instead, I try my best to do my best and will be judged and given a few less gifts in Heaven than I had to begin with. Each time I sin, I get a gift taken away. My idea is, put me at the back of Heaven against the wall and I’ll take it.

Before Jesus, before accepting him, I lived under the control of sin, and what that sin would do to me in the end. Some people don’t believe in sin. They think it’s just a point of view as to what is good and what is bad. I could give some examples and see what you say, but I’m not that sick of a person and some people are sick enough to disagree just to be jerks about it.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

What this verse is telling us is this, don’t let the things of this world control you. Alcohol, porn, any other vices, illegal activities, all of it, don’t let any of it be something you think you have to do. What control does it have on you? You’ll die without it? What are you doing with it? Are you truly living with it? You’re afraid or feeling ill with it. Let it go. Be free.

You will slowly begin to feel better. Will your life be better? Maybe not. No one can promise that. However, you will be a better person.


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In God’s Sight.

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Romans 2)

Some might find it odd that Romans is one of my favorite books of the Bible, what with it being so controversial at times. It’s only controversial because of the way people take verses out of context and how a letter has been divided into chapters. Maybe I’m being a bit repetitive with my whole dividing books into chapters thing, but I think it’s worth saying, and saying often.

This verse is the one that came up today for me to study and I thought I would share it with you. Let’s look at all of it, and this is Paul speaking to the early church in Rome.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

A lot of people ‘hear’ the words of the Bible. Many people even sit in church two or three times a week hearing the Word of the Lord, yet walk out to the parking lot and immediately do the opposite of what they had just said Amen to.

Some of you may have heard that if a person claims to be a Christian they need to do things called works to show they are Christian. I’m not that flavor of Christian. I do believe you need to show in your way of life that a change has come over you, that you are no longer a person that things a certain way is okay to act. What I’m talking about here is living like what Jesus said we should.

A Gentile is a non-Jew. God reaches people around the world through various means, even dreams. He reaches people through their heart. When you see someone being ill treated, even in a minor way, and it tugs at your heart, that’s the goodness of God that’s written into your DNA. We all have that code to unlock.

It’s a shame when professed Christians do things completely opposite of Christ. I share from time to time good words here on my blog. I like to encourage people. I like to give hope. I like to inspire. I like to show a side of Christianity that is nonjudgmental. The only person I can judge is another Christian when I see them doing something against the Word of God, and even then it’s only to say, “Hey, brother, maybe you should take a step back and think about what you’re doing.” I’ve done lots of things in my life, thus I know I’m far from perfect. That lack of perfection gives me the ability and inclination to speak out at times to others to say, “I changed. If I did all of these things with a decision, so can you.”

The world doesn’t become a better place when you become a Christian or if you decide to simply use the words of the Bible as a guide to a good way of living. Actually you see the world with a different pair of eyes. That new world is far worse than you ever knew. You see the problems, you see answers, but you know people think your solutions are just Jesus Freak brainwashing.

A lady from another country commented on a recent post about how her own faith leads to thinking much like my own, and words much like that of the Bible. Gentiles are given God’s words and will in so many ways. Who knows, maybe He spoke to someone and said, “Put this down, tell your people this.” I am not above saying God won’t use anything good to do his will.

Do good. Do what Jesus says. You can’t go wrong. Even Gandhi loved the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapter 5.

Casting Crowns has a great song about how people in a church don’t really do what they are hearing.


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KEEP ON LOVING.

1Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13)

Beautiful words, aren’t they? Some may even be surprised they come from the Bible. There are people that don’t realize there are two parts of the Bible, a historical half and an application part. I always like to point to the fact the ugly parts of the historical being included as being signs of how true the Bible is. If all those who put the Bible together wanted was a positive point of view without any negative parts for people to point fingers at, they would have left the Old Testament out.

But more about those words up there. I have a friend visiting the south this week. A stranger to this country and especially this part of the world. Southern Hospitality has reined and dispelled some naysayers to how Americans are, and how Southerners might be. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t get adopted into a family here before she makes it to the airport for her trip back home.

As a Christian, living in the Bible Belt of the nation, I like to think some of the verses above seep into the culture. Even those not attending church, not reading or believing the Bible, are exposed to the behavior of Christians. Some say these characteristics are only basic polite gestures. If so, then why don’t all parts of the world do the same? I’m not saying all parts of the world don’t have nice people, every part of the world does have nice people.

What I’m saying is, here in the South we have this culture of politeness and respect for one another that even the young get eventually. They like to act a certain way in front of their friends but once away from them, they slip into the polite culture. They KNOW how to act.

Or perhaps it’s that they act that way around adults who don’t jump to a conclusion about them. Perhaps it’s to those adults that treat them with respect and pleasantries they will reciprocate. If anyone can find fault in the words above, well, it would be interesting.

Just because we have a loved one in prison does not mean they cease to exist. And as for those suffering, have you not suffered in some way that you cannot empathize?

The scripture at the beginning of this post are the first verses of Hebrews Chapter 13. As some of you who have read me long enough may know, I don’t like the chapter divisions of the Bible.

The end of Hebrews Chapter 12:

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

The above is the paragraph right before the paragraph I started off the post with. I like to show previous verses at times to show context and how one leads into the other.


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Renew your mind and the rest will follow.

For the “Change” theme of the Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge this week, which I chose, I wanted to share one of my favorite verses.

“2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2a)

A lot of people stop at this point in the reading. I’ve heard this partial verse preached on a number of times, but I always have my Bible out to read further. You see, I understand something many preachers don’t preach about.

The writings of the Bible were done as letters, not books, chapters, and verses. One sentence leads into the next. I like what some pastors say, if you see a “Therefore” in the Bible, it means it’s “there for” a reason. With this verse, you look at the next sentence.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2b)

Now that your mind is not polluted by the goings on of the world, you will be able to see for yourself the truth of God’s will. Polluted is a strong word. However, I’m not certain what other word to use when I think about what happens when the TV, movie, and music influences begin their work on an individual. Tiger Woods didn’t become a sex addict by watching Bugs Bunny or Andy Griffith. He became corrupted by everything around him that fed his ego and appetites.

In the Bible there have been headings added within the created chapters. This can break up meaning at times.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3)

Here you see a continuing explanation of the Romans 12:2a. Paul is reminding us that even with the renewing of our minds, our new unpolluted selves, we are still not higher than anyone else, and are only as good as we are by the faith God has given us.

We need to be on guard to not allow the pollution in. We worry about the ozone layer, climate change, and landfills, but we care little about the one true unique resource on earth, ourselves. Each of us is unique. You could have a twin and they are not exactly like you even if they look and sound like you. Perhaps they even walk and move like you do, they are still not exactly like you.

You are thinking unique thoughts. Those thoughts can be for a good reason or not. Not every thought needs to be for the betterment of the world. Dreams and fantasies exist to help our minds cope with a world that is not like we are.

There are people out there who hear the word Christian and automatically think of stereotypes brought about by a small, but visible/vocal minority. It’s kind of like when they have that local on the ground interview about a robbery or natural disaster and for some reason the news reporter picks the most illiterate and socially inept person they could find to put in front of the camera. That’s what happens with Christianity. We end up with the vocal and media seeking individuals representing us.

Christianity is a personal thing. One on one. It’s not a group think, or a group mind thing. It’s not the exact same thing for any two people. My thoughts differ from others in my own home. I have a more understanding nature than some. I look at things below the surface and don’t pass judgement. Yes, I will say something is bad when I believe it is bad. Beating a child is bad. If you say it is good, then I think you have a problem. If you say that it might be okay for the society that person doing the beating lives in, then I say that society is bad. If that is being judgemental, call me guilty. I generally take things on a person by person basis.

Change. Do you want to change how you think, what you think, what you think is acceptable? Renew your mind, however you want to. Hit your reset button about what you think is acceptable. I’m not saying become a Christian. I’m saying reset your humanity button. Do you watch porn? Do you look at images on the internet? Do you watch or listen to things promoting degradation of women? More than likely you do and don’t even think you are. That means you support it.

The rest button is a hard thing to do. You’ll hit it several times. But eventually—eventually, the habits you develop from your intentional training of your mind will lead to a permanent change in your heart as well.


You can check out my other Change post on the prompt post HERE, as well as seeing links for other entries.


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Intentionals happen.

I’m a praying man. At times in my life I had lists of names and specific needs to pray for. These days I don’t pray as often as I should. I still have my conversations with God, but not nearly as many as I need to have.

When I had those, not only daily but deeply and intentional, prayer times, my world was good. That isn’t to say everything went my way. By having the talks, I was reminded that God was bigger than me. God knows more. God understands more. God knows where things lead in the end. God isn’t the reason things go bad.

I’ve seen where a decision is made and the result be disaster while at the same time seeing where it would be if the other decision had been made. I was able to accept things as they happen, knowing in the end I’m okay, and that one event may be disaster but not oblivion.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5)

Many people don’t like the idea of praying. They don’t like the idea of God. Conversely, some don’t like the idea of meditation because they see it as anti-God. For the latter, let me say this, what do you think having quiet time with God is? What do you think Jesus did for those 40 days?

I like to combine prayer and meditation, talking to God and cleansing the mind and soul. While some of you focus on the breath, others focus on God.  You can see a breath in winter. You can see God in action around you.

When I was praying without ceasing, continually, I began to recognize the voice of God, and his handwriting, around me. Solutions to problems became clearer because I was able to bypass the clutter and noise of the world.

Prayer is one of my favorite subjects. I talk about it here on RW sometimes. Call it what you like. I enjoy talking to God. I enjoy having that best friend who listens without a judgmental tone of voice or look of eye. After all, God already sent Jesus to sacrifice for us. I accepted Jesus, thus I have no qualms about telling God everything. I mean, really, who already knows everything anyway?

Sometimes getting things off my chest helps. Sometimes it takes longer than a quick prayer, or even several long prayers. That’s my fault. I’m the one needing to deal with it, not God. There may be some feeling of remorse inside me that I have yet to realize God has forgiven already. That’s one place where ‘pray continually’ comes in. By praying continually, we keep in mind the forgiveness of God. We then let those problems we have inside.

When I was fully engulfed in my prayer like, the world was the most beautiful place it could be. I would take a walk and see the beauty of God’s work all around. I would see what some called coincidences, and I called intentionals happening. You see, I don’t believe in coincidence. There are two forces in the world. Either the good or the bad is happening at any given time. The simplest action we may see as being nothing has some repercussion somewhere else or some-when else. The question is, is that for good or bad?

With my prayer life in the right place, I am more closely in tuned with God and no better what the best decision will be. I may not be right every time, no one is, but I have a better chance at it.


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Be still … know … breathe.

I’m tired. It’s been a long year in many ways. Many years ago, I went through a phase like this. At that time, I had a good support system in place. I was heavily involved in ministry. The type ministry and how many types don’t matter.

One night there was a gathering of the church leadership for prayer. We divided into small groups in the sanctuary, and within the group, each one of us had to pray for another person, and pray specifically. My partner was the youth minister and worship leader I had help bring to the church.

My problem was I didn’t know how to say no. I was the young and willing man in the church as well as business. In church if you are in your 30s your consider one of the young folk, that can even extend into the 40s. This inability to say no and wanting to help ended up with a very frazzled and sick Ronovan.

The youth minister prayed for peace to come into my life. The next week I was leading the youth on a concert trip to see Steven Curtis Chapman, arguably the king of contemporary Christian music. He sang a song that night, and I knew it was no coincidence.

Ever sense that night, one of my life verses has been Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

We forget sometimes and worry about things way beyond our control. Stress hits us from every angle. Do you ever think, after the fact, of how insane some of the things we worried about were? Life is too short to worry about everything. What the Psalmist means is to remember God is in control of the ultimate outcome of the world. Bad things happen because of bad people and being in the wrong places at the wrong time. Put your eternal life in his hands. Nothing can take you from the hand of God once you give yourself to Him. When you pass own, you are with God. Nothing here on earth can stop that. Hurt me, harass me, do all types of damage to me, and I will still end up fine because I know God has me.

I may stress for a moment, but then I center myself, shake the stress off, and get back to my core.

John 16:33 Jesus speaks to the disciples.

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus never said life would be easy here on earth. He never said that to his disciples or anyone that ever heard him speak. He said the exact opposite. Christians would be persecuted because of him. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11. As part of the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount, you know it must be serious.

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I try to take away something good with every situation. My son and I were throwing the baseball a couple of weeks ago, as I am sure some of you saw the picture. Man did it get bad. I never got upset. I thought it was funny. I even looked at it as a learning experience I could use for my writing. I never had a black eye before. I now knew the pain of it, the coloring, and all of the things that goes with having a black eye.

My lack of stress helped with my son handling it as well.

Working on a positivity habit is tough sometimes. Habits take time to acquire. Eventually they take. I’m almost back in my zone now, and can breathe again. Now for the creativity to start up and have fun.

I don’t often speak about my faith here on the site lately. Life’s been busy. I do try to live my faith through what I do on my site. My faith is important to me. It’s important in every aspect of my work I do. Even in books I either plan to or have published, my goal is and was to put out something that has a core to it that will show the humanness of people and the war they wage with life and how sometimes they can’t win alone but need upbringing they have had, lessons they have learned, to turn to that will help them succeed.

Have a great Sunday, week, month, year, life, and eternity.

Ronovan

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Moments of Challenge.

As you all know, I don’t participate in may of the various pass it on blog things. You know, as in ‘do this and then have people do the same thing.’ One I don’t mind doing is the Three Quote Challenge. I’ve done it once before and I’ve been asked to do so again.

Susan Langer has asked me to join in this time. Many of you know Susan from her blog Susan’s Personal Blog where she enjoys doing various challenges and offers services to help other bloggers and writers.

I’ll give the rules and such at the end of my run of quotes. If you want to know them right now, click HERE to visit Susan’s post and quote. Do so anyway to support her blog.

My quote today:

My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.”-Psalm 73:26
Asaph, Worship Leader for King David.

Lately, life seems to be throwing things my way to challenge me in my writing life.

  • Where is the time for it?
  • Do I take short cuts?
  • Do I resort to the tricks and gimmicks to make things more successful?
  • Do I devote even more time to blogging and writing than I do now?
  • Do I compromise my beliefs and character for gain?

Those moments of challenge may come at you from any direction. Asaph was talking about looking around and see people of less than respectable practices seemingly prospering while those who lived on the straight and narrow path struggled.

Eventually, he figured it out. Although we see a visage of prosperity for a time in this person, in the long run, those who follow the right path, the right decisions will be more satisfied and happier because of how they have achieved what they have, and because of where they end up. We know we have not burned bridges or broken lives along the way. Our conscious and heart are clear.

Psalm 73:26 Image

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Newborn Hope.

The newborn babe brought,

Fresh hope of things yet to come,

beyond description.

Hope by Ronovan Hester

For my Haiku Challenge #80.



Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling by PS Bartlett and Ronovan HesterRonovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in February 14, 2016. He shares his life through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

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Life’s Plan-Life’s Purpose.

I have a lot of ideas. Too many of them actually. It’s very difficult for me to stay on one path to the goal of completion. The reasons are partly medical and partly a need to grab hold of that next big idea I have in my mind before it slips away.

Life's Purpose Image by Ronovan.

We do a lot of planning. Perhaps years or even decades are put in to a plan but then the plan comes to an end. The bad part about the end is that we didn’t have that in our plan. Although it isn’t  always a bad thing when your personal plan comes to an end.

Proverbs 19:20-21

Listen to advice and accept discipline,
    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

The many plans we make are not always for our best. We travel along, sometimes staring out the window at the monotony of life passing us by and are mesmerized into complacency and routine. We believe what is may perhaps be all there is.

I have moments of indecision. I don’t mean indecision of the mind, but of the heart. No, not about love, I am certain of those parts of my life. But there is indecision about creations and taking the right step that tear at my heart. My mind does a good job with decisions and filing them away properly. It knows what to do, but the heart is the part that throws plans into chaos.

Fortunately a verse came to me today, a verse of the day, the one above. Those plans in my heart that tear at me? I need to learn to let them go. God knows the best plan. He even tells me the plan, I just don’t either always know the language/manner he’s speaking in, or am just not hearing it.

A great many things have happened in my life. One is about a young man I played football with. He was a star athlete, super intelligent. He had it all. Then one rainy game he tackled a player and with the wet uniforms, field and everything else, his neck broke.

The young man was a leader in many ways. People looked up to him. There was a bright future ahead for him. He was also a Christian.

Our team was losing badly, it was late in the game, and the other coach had asked our coach if he wanted to call the game and end it early. Our coach said no. It almost would appear that things were working against my friend from fulfilling his purpose for God and for life.

He has graduated from college, is now driving his own van, still paralyzed from the neck down, and travels to do speaking engagement to sports groups and FCA groups. That’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He doesn’t drive himself to those events, just wanted to make that clear. He’s my age and just recently was able to get a van and go through everything to be able to drive.

But God has a purpose and he uses indecision, and attempts to take away a bright and shining star to make them even brighter, IF that star chooses to move forward and upward with the purpose and the plan. My friend could have went through life in his wheelchair and no one would have said anything about it. But he had a support group, his parents, and all those who knew him to encourage and be God’s language in my friend’s ear.

I didn’t know where this was going when I first began writing. I thought it would be about my efforts to write novels. Then I put the scripture in. After that the part about my friend came to mind. He leads a more enriched life than most of us do and he is a benefit to more people than all but a handful of us will ever have the opportunity to. Well, that is unless we realize what the purpose for us is.


Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

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Not a Martyr. Not a Hero.

I wasn’t planning on posting anything about a certain issue here in the U.S. but I will now. A clerk in the state of Kentucky refused to give out marriage licenses to same gender couples, stating it was against her religion. From my understanding she was then told specifically by the courts not to interfere with her employees passing the licenses out.

As a Christian I am to follow the law of the land as long as it does not keep me from following the Word of God.

Apparently the court actually gave the woman a way out. Although she was the head clerk and in charge and was supposed to sign the licenses, they said she didn’t have to. She simply needed to stay out of the way and not issue them herself.

She chose instead to do something a Christian is not to do. She forced HER Christian beliefs onto others, other workers. I say HER because her understanding apparently differs from mine.

She is not a hero or martyr for Christianity. That’s my opinion. She chose to make herself an example. The government where she lived could have fired her. Not a Martyr or HeroBut instead it was arranged for her to work around the law.

Every Christian has their own interpretation of what Christianity is. Even non-Christians have different opinions. But his is mine. I believe what I believe and I don’t force it on anyone. Each persons beliefs, relationship with God or not, is their own PERSONAL thing. By doing what this woman did she actually did exactly what the Bible said would happen, she gave people cause to speak against her and against Christianity.

I wanted to say something. I have. I’m done.

Added 18:23 EDT 9/13/2015

Reading some of the comments, I believe there are a few misunderstanding what is being said here. I am for her right to stand up for her beliefs in regards to what she does with her OWN job. But when she stands in the way of the court order that stated to allow her subordinates to issue licenses, that is when she forced her belief onto others. She in effect was making them do what her belief stated. Although some of them are Christians as well.

For those who are thinking I must be a liberal politics leaning person, I’m not. I am conservative. But what I truly am is Jesus led. Someone asked what would Jesus do in this case. Jesus would tell his opinion and then move on. He would not stand in the way of a couples personal decision to follow the law of the land OR be with whomever they chose to.

 

 

 

 

 

Much Respect-Much Love

Ronovan



Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

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How Young People Can Be Our Examples.

Sunday Thoughts has returned. My views on my Christianity and how I see it through reading the Bible and not listening to the dividing of interpretations.

Today let’s talk about how young people can be examples to us old folks, well maybe older folks.

There are so many problems in the world today that I don’t even bother speaking about them here any longer. They exists. We know they exists. I won’t give those movements, or murders for celebrity sake any further exposure by putting their names in my writing. That’s partly why some do what they do, they know they will go out in a blaze of glory and be on the news for several hours–at least–and then mumbled out for a few days following.

Instead of glorifying them, unexpectedly so, by naming them, people of all ages should help others not go that route.

How?

There is really only one way to do that and that is by being an example.

No matter your age, you are an example ALREADY. You may be an example for good or for bad. I don’t want to hear arguments that there is no such thing as something being good or bad and that it is simply something based on ones personal views. I am certain many people reading this could  come up with examples of what is bad. I don’t want to think about the examples that come to my mind. So let’s move on to being more productive.

I periodically am in touch with former students and some say how much they look up to me and appreciate me. The funny thing about that is I’m envious of them and what they have going on in their lives. Great college experiences are being entered into. Futures are waiting to be discovered and shaped. And I don’t shy away from expressing that to them, that appreciation of them.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”-1 Timothy 4:12

Here you see there is no age to being an example. We can learn from the young as much as the old. My son, who has learned from me a great deal of his, will say or do something and I learn from him. The young see things in a way that is less colored by years of experience and wounds.

Those wounds are caution signs for us, but they can also be false signs in some cases. There are exceptions to every situation–every rule. We can’t spend our lives living in fear of the exceptions and miss out on the exceptionals.

I’m not saying we should ignore our past experience in favor of youthful belief, but I am saying we can capture that belief in moving forward with caution instead of either not moving at all or moving backwards.

How does this all make to improve the world?

We continue to be open to the world, to communication, to experiences, to views. We refuse to let a bad experience dictate how we view similar situations. Yes, I mean we don’t allow past moments to let us not like people of a certain color–as one example. Think about it. If we did that we wouldn’t like any skin color at all.

And there we are. The problem. We really don’t trust very many people to the extent we need to. We don’t trust situations. Jadedism is one of the worst isms out there. We just don’t believe the good because we only witness the good being debunked in the news. The true good is rarely if ever reported with as much gusto and zeal as the bad.

Young people will listen to young people and follow young people a lot more freely than us old folk. Even us old folk that try to be a good example. Us old folk can be examples too, and perhaps help with the old folk problems as well as the young folk problems by not giving fuel to problems. We fuel things, as well as young people fueling things, more than we all realize. Young and old working together will make it work.

Much Respect-Much Love

Ronovan

Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

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