Archive for July, 2012

Traveling Lifestyle

Posted on July 30, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Often when people asked me where we live I would reply, tongue-in-cheek, “Delta Airlines.” It often seemed we spent as much time in airports and on planes as we did at home. However, since retiring we have the margin to drive on most of the trips and enjoy the journey instead of rushing back to the office to take on the burdens of the world. With so much time away from home, I still do not acknowledge that I actually live in Clinton, Mississippi but say we pick up our mail and do our laundry there!

We haven’t slowed down much from a lifetime of travel. Serving as area director for South and Southeast Asia our final years on the …

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Is the Lord Your Shepherd?

Posted on July 27, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The 23rd Psalm is probably the most well known and most-quoted passage of Scripture.  It is a beautiful exposition of God’s love and his provision and care for us as “the sheep of His pasture.” We relish the image of a caring shepherd totally devoted to our welfare and giving us assurance of eternal security.

But do we daily experience His peace and rest in the stress of our daily hectic pace of life? Do we rely upon Him to provide for our needs, or do we busy ourselves trying to make ends meet in a fragile economy, worried and anxious about the future as our savings and investments erode? Do we trust Him to guide our paths or frantically …

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Ramadan–So What?

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Most Americans would be unaware that Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, has begun. Many would only be casually aware that this is one of the five pillars of Islam; the date changes each year due to the lunar calendar but faithful adherents fast from dawn to dusk until the month concludes with the Feast of Eid.

Having studied Islam we were familiar with this expression of piety but learned much more regarding its practice during the years we lived on the mission field. In the more fanatical countries fasting is compulsory though in most countries allowances are made for foreigners and non-Muslims. All do without food, but the more devout don’t drink water and some don’t even swallow their …

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Rocky Mountain High

Posted on July 24, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

What a week! It has been a spiritual high as well as the actual altitude. We are enjoying participating in the international conference of Antioch Ministries International with 750 personnel from around the world and church plants in the U.S. Begun 15 years ago, Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas set out to be a church body that exists to train and send out missionaries. With a membership now of 3,000 they have over 200 missionaries serving in 25 countries and have started 21 churches from Boston to San Diego that are replicating the mission sending ethos.

Winter Park Resort is located at 9,000 feet where the air is thin and the temperature cool. At night the temperature has dipped …

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Are You Forfeiting God’s Grace?

Posted on July 20, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“I do not nullify the grace of God.” Galatians 2:21

Basic to the Christian life is the understanding that we are saved not by works or personal efforts to become righteous but by the grace of God. However, many fail to realize that we must live by grace as well; the strength and guidance for everything we do, and especially the ability to live a holy life is due to the grace of God. Paul often testified that his gifting and calling as an apostle was of God’s grace.

Grace is God’s unmerited favor; we are undeserving of His mercy, yet He has chosen to save us due to His love and kindness. Likewise, none of us are worthy of …

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Growing Grandchildren

Posted on July 16, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

No, this is not a follow-up post on my gardening and yard work. After reflecting on the excessive heat in the last post we did enjoy rain showers everyday this past week. It is hard to think of anything more relaxing than watching a summer rain while rocking on the back porch with a big glass of sweet ice tea. And now we are headed to cool Winter Park, Colorado for two weeks with Antioch Ministries International’s gathering of personnel from around the world, leaving our friends and neighbors to swelter in Mississippi.

I found it easy to deny reality and hold to the myth of my youthful self-image until grandkids started coming along. Now that they are maturing and …

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Flee, Follow and Fight

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“Run from these things; but pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12

We tend to simplify what it takes to live a successful Christian life. In the minds of most believers one is a good Christian if he goes to church, prays, does what is good, and tries to live according to Godʼs laws. There is nothing wrong with that, but a victorious life of serving God is much more complex. The Apostle Paul writes to his young protege, Timothy, and advises him that contending for the faith is a battle, and that it involves conscientious efforts both negative and positive.

This focus passage in 1 Timothy 6:11 first …

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Truth or Perception?

Posted on July 12, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The previous blog on the illusion of unity in the SBC stimulated a significant level of interest and response. I feel one of the reasons for lack of unity may be the tendency to judge one another on the basis of our perceptions rather than reality.

Forgive the indulgence in personal reflection, but as one previously in a denominational leadership role, I was appalled to find that criticism and misunderstanding was usually based on distorted perceptions rather than truth. Controversy over my election as president of the IMB was tainted by the perception I was “charismatic” though efforts to define what that meant were elusive. I certainly didnʼt hold to neo-pentecostal doctrine, but I did yearn to walk in the …

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Surviving the Heat

Posted on July 10, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The heat has been brutal. With reports of 105 in places like Chicago and 104 in St. Louis, what must Mississippi be like? A week ago when we were in Columbia, SC the temperature hit 109, and we arrived home to find our yard parched in spite of investment in a sprinkler system. Patches of new grass sod didn’t make it, and several azaleas are bare branches hovering over dry, fallen leaves on the ground.

What amazes me in my retirement venture into horticulture is the way certain grasses and weeds thrive in this kind of weather. We had been gone only one week and alien grasses had sprung up in my thoroughly mulched flower beds. Bobbye has been helpful …

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Intimacy with God

Posted on July 6, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant” (Psalm 25:14).

In previous devotionals we have reviewed how the fear of God is the compelling motivation for living a holy and godly life for His glory. It is the source of wisdom and understanding for knowing Godʼs will. The fear of God supersedes knowledge, intellect and human reasoning for guiding our lives and appropriate decision-making. It is also a deterrent to evil as our reverence for and submission to a sovereign God makes us accountable in doing only that which would please and be glorifying to Him.

The Bible reminds us that the fear of God gives meaning and purpose …

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