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

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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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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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