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

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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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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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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A spark enflames. My Sunday Thought for Today.

“4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell”.-John 3:4-6

This passage is one that is used often about what trouble our words can cause. This is the message given most often from the pulpit about these words.

ron_ballgame_blackandwhiteAs we all know, I am a bit different. I look at this and say “So with my words I can spread a fire of encouragement and love.”

Some see my words of encouragement  and even my “Much Respect & Love” as a means to another end. They think I am after something. Of course I am. I want to encourage people. I don’t use those words unless I mean them. I respect everyone until they give me a reason not to. I love everyone regardless. Yeah, I know, “Ooooo, the Christian loves everyone, even the murderers.” Well, yeah. I’ve written about that before. I love God’s creation, I just don’t love what the creation does . . . and it went on from there to explain more but I’m not getting into that today. But I don’t throw the L word around much. For one thing I know people take it the wrong way.

Well, I’ll tell you this. Call me different. I got no problem with it. Don’t judge me just because you have experiences with others. And finally . . .

Use your words to start a fire. Spark encouragement everywhere. Spark love everywhere. Spark friendship everywhere. Spark trust everywhere.

 

Much Respect and Love

Ronovan

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Sex and Hell: My Sunday Thoughts, Enter at Your Own Risk

You ever notice I have strange ideas about things? It’s Sunday and that means Bible thoughts are swirling through the old lost mind. Christians annoy me. They really do. What? That surprises you to hear me say? Well keep reading and see what the old amnesiac has to say.

Sex.Couple kissing and embracing hands on faces

  • If you have it and you’re not married then you go to Hell.
  • If it occurs outside a man woman marriage then the people go to Hell.

You know if I had thought of that in my early to mid twenties when I started searching for a church I would have just said, “Forget it, if I’m going to Hell already then I ain’t gonna bother with it.”

Oh I know, you are thinking, “Ronovan, you forgot about the part where if you get Saved by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you’re okay.”

No, I didn’t forget it. Nope. Thought about it the entire time.

So here is where I am coming from. Do we all sin? I know some of you are saying you don’t believe in sin and so forth, but okay then. Do we all do bad things, like breaking the laws and such?

Yeah, I see some of you nodding your heads, trying to stay awake and it’s not working. Just like in a church on a hot day right before lunch time and the pastor is preaching the same sermon he has 5 times before and he’s been there less than a year.

If you break a law and you go to court, you end up paying a fine of some sort, be it money or time in jail. Now after you get out of jail or have paid a fine then you are free to go on your way.  That’s because that’s what the rule book says, the law.

Well Christians we have a rule book, a book of law so to speak. Yeah, the Bible, the Word, the Good Book.

  • It says in the Bible that Jesus came for ALL of our sins.
  • It says in the Bible that if you accept Jesus then your sins are thus forgiven.
  • It says in the Bible you have to be perfect from that point forward to stay Saved.

If you agreed to that last one we might need to have a little talk. Because there is a verse in there that says . . . hold on let me find it.

Here it is, John 10: 27-30

27″My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”-Jesus

Notice that, “No one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” No sinner can snatch you, not even yourself. Once you are in the Father’s hand you are His. You may slide back into a life that you crawled out of, but all the Father asks is that you try to be better. That you try to do better. No one can be perfect, if they could then Jesus would not have had to come in the first place.

Now I am talking to my Christian friends here. We need to stop judging and fudging. Stop judging people and stop fudging the Word of God. “But Ronovan it says in Romans 1 that . . .” Stop right there. Have you ever read Romans 1 and 2 together without the chapter breaks that later man put in there? Without verse numbers? No? Give it a try and then see what is being said.

If you do you might see that Paul is laying into the early Christians of Rome not to judge those that people today condemn in Chapter 1. He is telling them that if they do then they are judging themselves.

What society do you think made up those first Christians in Rome in the first place?

Yes, sex outside of man and woman marriage is a sin as the Bible says. A touchy subject I know. I am a sinner. Yep. Throw me to the pits, oh, wait . . . I accepted Jesus. I . . . and I don’t . . . I don’t judge other sinners.

“But Ronovan you’re judging us for judging others.”

Nope. I am sharing the Word of God.  “But you judged.” No, what I did was point out something that we have all been taught for so long is more of a ‘tradition’ in the church than an actual fact of the faith.

Pastors around the  world today are preaching on Romans Chapter 1 right now as an end all and be all, because it’s what they’ve been taught according to ‘traditions’.

Does the scripture above mean I can go out and sin all I want to and be fine? Technically yes, yes it does. “Then let me sign up now before I go get with the neighbors wife.” It doesn’t work that way. You have to be sincere. Over time things happen and there are outside influences and life situations and all sorts of things that cause one to do this or that. Ask forgiveness and then try to do better.

“Ronovan, do you still think people that have sex with someone other than who they are married to according to the Bible marriage plan is sinning.”

Yes I do. And guess what. I don’t think that sin is any greater than any other sin. There isn’t a tier system. Jesus died for each and every sin, not just what we consider the baby sins.

 

So what inspired me to talk about this today? I really don’t know. I was going to speak on suicide after a popular video was shared with me but then this hit me. Oh, now I remember, it was part of a conversation I had. I think there was a discussion on monogamy.

Did I say things today to encourage people to go out and have sex with other people? No. Did I say they were forgiven if they had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior? Yes.

I am sure there are some reading this now wondering about me. “What is Ronovan talking about? I thought he was a Christian. He must be one of them Liberal so called Christians.”

I think it’s odd when a person says they believe in something the Bible says that disagrees with “traditions” they are automatically labeled a Liberal. I actually said something in all of that which would make people say I am a Conservative as well.  My actual party if I were to proclaim one is Christ Led.

Not sure if I said anything anyone learned from today. But this is me on a Sunday, sharing my thoughts of how I see what the Bible says. Not everyone has to agree with me, but I am glad I got that off my chest.

Praying you all have a good week and see you next Sunday.

Ronovan

 

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How I continue on. A look inside what makes me . . . me.

I am asked at various times, it is commented in my blog wondering how I do what I do with all of the problems I have.

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[c] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.“-Philippians 1:12-19

Paul is shackled and yet the Word of God is still doing its work through his actions. The Word of God is being spread by those with good and bad intent, but is still being heard.

Some have issues with Preachers such as Joel Osteen. Saying that he doesn’t preach on certain aspects of the Bible. Joel is not a Pastor in the sense of what we normally think of he word. In truth he is a motivational speaker using the Word of God to get the message out. His church has a small group program that takes care of what every Sunday School  or small program does in every church.

What does that have to do with me? Not much as far as how I am able to do what I do, but this is my blog and I have decided to blog my thoughts at times, especially on Sundays.

 

But I do what I do because I don’t focus on what has happened. I focus on moving forward and, yes, I do talk about what is wrong with me but I do so to get it out of me and hope that it helps others to see what is going on in the world and to say those of similar problems that it is okay, we’re good, we can do things.

 

I wouldn’t be here in blog land with so many new friends if not for what has happened to me. I do not hate what has happened, regret, deny, wish to change. I look at it as one part of me that has led me here.

That is what the scripture above is talking about. Paul is saying that he is thankful, embraces, all that has happened to him because it has brought him to this point in his walk with God and will work out for his good, if not here on earth then in Heaven.

 

Am I comparing Paul’s work to what I do. Not at all. But I use Philippians 1:19 as one of my life verses, along with Romans 1:16 and  1Peter 3:15.

 

Terrible things happen in lives, but they’ve happened. Nothing can be done about them. We can either let them work to the negative or to the good. I choose good. I choose good every time.

 

Lord,

I pray today that all of my Friends are safe in life and will find health and happiness.

I pray all things in the name of Jesus who you, Lord, gave all authority in Heaven and on Earth.

Amen

Much Respect

Ronovan

 

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