BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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MINISTRY BLOG LINK: http://pandevidamin.blogspot.com

AUTHOR BLOG LINK: http://rlkeller-christianauthor.blogspot.com

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Stop by and check them out from time to time to see what has changed. May God's blessings to you be abundant. rlkeller


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Thursday, March 31, 2011

FEARING GOD


Psalm 25:12 “Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.”

FEAR (def) - awe; reverence; respect.

Fearing God is not fear in the traditional or historical sense, but rather fear in a spiritual sense. To have awe or respect for someone is to honor them because of who they are or what they have done. In God’s case, it is respect and reverence for both who He is AND what He has done. As children of God we have nothing to fear unless, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we are disobedient to His word. They were punished, but even in the punishment there was compassion.

Proverbs 3:11&12 says: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, … .”

Honestly, who would you rather have discipline you, someone who loved you or someone who disliked you? Disobedience comes in many forms, however, the result is always the same. What comes into play is the Biblical principle of “sowing and reaping”. Sow seeds of discord or disobedience and you will reap your just reward. In Hosea 8:7, speaking of a disobedient Israel, the Lord said “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” Yet if you obey the word of God you will have nothing to fear and find peace.

If you revere and respect your Heavenly Father, He WILL instruct you in the ways that you should go. He will guide and direct by His Holy Spirit so that you might end up where He desires you to go. You see God will never send you to a place that He is not already at. Because He is an infinite spiritual entity, with no beginning and no end, He is with you now and where you will be tomorrow at the same time. It is pretty impossible to wrap our minds around such a concept, but the scripture is clear, Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

If there was something God could not do, He would cease to be who He claims to be, the Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent Creator of the Universe and man’s first breath. He is all seeing, all knowing and all places at one time. That should inspire us to do great things, because we know by His own word that anything we attempt, when led by the Lord cannot fail. Psalm 127:1 says “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders’ labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” In John 15:5 Jesus clearly said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Seek the will of God in your life. Respect and revere Him with a sense of awe. He will guide you and bless you as a result.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

GOD'S RECONCILIATION


2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

RECONCILE (def) 1.To re-establish a close relationship between (two parties or individuals); 2. to settle or resolve.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 tells us about what God did to bring about reconciliation between His creation and Himself. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, the only one who was sinless; the spotless lamb, as it were, to satisfy the Levitical Law (OT) …

Leviticus 23:12 (NIV) “On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect, … “

… was made sin. He took on all our sin. Think about that. The weight of our own sin times infinity … an incalculable number of sins. This is a weight not one person should have to bear, yet Christ bore it voluntarily. Now I can think of many things that I would volunteer for, some things perhaps not all that pleasant, but I don’t know that I would voluntarily take on the punishment of even ONE person, let alone the punishment for all mankind. I don’t even think I can imagine in my wildest dreams what that must have been like. We try to comprehend, but I think we are incapable of understanding.

What Christ did for us has a value so great that nothing on this earth can compare to it. We need to take the journey to the cross in our minds to even begin to see all that Christ did. Carrying a heavy wooden cross through streets with crowds both weeping for Him and hurling insults at Him … and this was after He was scourged.* He was made to carry the cross after a large amount of His blood had already been spilled. He was weakened by the loss of blood and had to receive relief, as His cross was carried the rest of the way for Him. As if He was not in enough pain, He was nailed to that cross with steel spikes. They pierced His flesh. He did not have just a few scratches on His body like He had just fought with a cat and gotten clawed badly. He was beaten black and blue and had His flesh torn and lacerated. We don’t want to think about the gore involved. We don’t want to have to look at it. But I believe it is important to not just glance at Him in His beaten and bloodied state, but study Him. See the peace that He exudes in the face of such brutality. May we never, ever have to endure anything near as gory and inhuman as that.

Study the death of Christ so you know and never forget all that was paid for your salvation. Your reconciliation to God was grace and mercy personified. We must allow ourselves to be compelled; we must allow the Holy Spirit to gently grab a hold of us so that we can see with the eyes of our spirit the immense price that was paid for our sin. It is no wonder to me that to reject Christ results in being cast into the lake of fire for all eternity. Ponder these things, for they are weighty issues. Know that God does not wish that anyone would perish, but that all would have eternal life. Do not turn a deaf ear and blind eye to what is being written here. Your future depends on it.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND LISTEN TO HIM INTENTLY.

* A scourge was a whip with leather strips that were covered with beads of lead,and jagged pieces of bone and metal. It was a weapon of cruelty. When Christ received 39 lashes the jagged bone and metal dug into His flesh and violently tore out chunks of His flesh. It had been determined by the Romans that 40 lashes would kill a man, so they gave Jesus 39 so that He would still be alive when they hung Him on their cross.

Monday, March 28, 2011

CHRIST AS RANSOM


1 Timothy 2:5-6a (NIV) “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”

MEDIATOR (def) - one that reconciles differences between disputants.

RANSOM (def) - to pay a stipulated price and so obtain the release of (prisoners, property, etc.); to set free (prisoners, property, etc.) upon receiving the payment demanded; to redeem; rescue Christ ransomed men from sin.

When there is a dispute between two or more parties, many times a mediator will be called in to bring the sides together. They oversee the negotiation that takes place until an agreement can be reached. This is what Christ was to us. He was and is our savior, by virtue of His death on the cross. Plus He was the go-between; the only thing separating us from God and the fiery hell we deserved. Christ lobbied for us as a lawyer would lobby for his client. He spoke up for us to the Father. He represented us and voluntarily took our place, taking the punishment that was meant for us due to our disobedience of God’s Law.

The rule set forth by Almighty God Himself was a blood sacrifice to pay for sin. In the OT, the sacrifices made only covered the sins of God’s people, they didn’t remove them. Christ’s blood did what no animal sacrifice could do, wash away any sins committed. It stands as the definitive act of mercy and grace as administered by our Heavenly Father. God’s Son pay the ransom owed for our sin. It was a debt we could never pay. It is only once we realize that fact that we can begin to understand what Christ’s ultimate sacrifice means to us.

To put it into modern ways and means, we are the ones who deserved the lethal injection; we are the ones who deserved to be executed. So the One who knew no sin, became sin for us. He took on the burden of all of mankinds sin. Not just yours and mine, but all of mankind. What a tremendous, unthinkable burden that must have been. And what had He done to deserve this punishment? Nothing. He wasn’t forced to do it. He willingly went to the cross, but only after He had ministered on earth for 3 years; healing the sick, causing blind eyes to see; making lame men walk; raising dead to new life; meeting the needs of the masses that followed Him.

Reflect on the price that was paid for your soul. Understand that this life on earth in this tent of flesh is temporal. There is an eternity. There is a place we will go after we pass from this world. We can live as we choose, ignoring “the gift” of sin cleansing through acceptance of Christ and all He did for us or we can indulge in all the pleasures this world has to offer. The pleasures of this world are for but a season. Someday a payment will be required of us. The payment has been made, but many will not receive it, brushing it aside as if it were nothing.

If someone offered you a million dollars cash right now you would take it in a heartbeat, but because you cannot see God and His Creation all around you, you scoff at it. Consider God.

When you are alone, ask Him with sincerity in your heart to reveal Himself. He wants you to find Him far more than you may want to be found, not realizing your need of Him. Place your trust in the One Who can change your life forever. The end justifies the journey taken. You will never be the same and you will never regret your decision.

TAKE A WALK WITH THE KING AND BE BLESSED.

Friday, March 25, 2011

ALL HAVE SINNED


1 John 1:9-10 (NIV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

I believe we can safety say with few exceptions that everyone has at least one redeeming quality. Something that is good in them, no matter what evil they may have done in their lives. I knew someone once who was just a vile human being. While he claimed to be a Christian, the fruit inspector in me saw only withered fruit on his vine. Yet he loved children and dogs. He was a different person around them. With adults you could truly say he was a person who “didn’t play well with others”.

Do you sin? Did you know that if you claim to be void of sin or do not accept the fact that you are a sinner, then you are deceiving yourself. Now we know that once we receive Christ we are cleansed from our sins past, present and future. Christ’s sacrifice was once for all for all time. No further blood sacrifice is necessary to cleanse the sinful soul. However, do not fool yourself into thinking that you are now incapable of sinning. If you do, you are ripe for the picking by an enemy who is “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

God gives us the power to avoid sin through His Holy Spirit. But to think you are never going to sin again is wrong thinking. If you are not where you should be in your walk with the Lord, then you are not much of a threat to the enemy, who only seeks to destroy that which God has built up. However, if you ARE striving to please God in all you do, living for Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, then you will be tested by Satan. God allows it to teach you to trust Him more. How will you react? Will you stumble, will you fall, will you fail miserably as I have so often in my walk with Christ? You might. Because we will never be literally perfect except in God’s sight until we reach heaven, our natural inclination may very well be to slack off on our Bible reading, skip our prayer time, stay home from church and end up doing that which does us no good spiritually or any other way. No, chances are we won’t run out and murder someone, but we will watch things we know are inappropriate; read things that do not edify or encourage; go places that we shouldn’t; do things we know we shouldn’t be doing. We call it fun. And while that may be true in many or even most cases, there are some times that we are simply asking for trouble to find us. Conviction is raging in our mind and body. We know. But we do it anyway. We won’t get carted off to hell for it, but it will stunt our spiritual growth until we get back on track.

Now I am not saying we aren’t allowed to have any fun. Far from it. We just have to redefine what our fun is. Fun as defined by the world involves, now more than ever, drinking, partying and having sex if you are part of the younger generation.
If you are older if might be adultery or lying, cheating or swindling others in business dealings. We sin. Don’t kid yourself. But God wants you to reach out to Him in those times and be cleansed again. Don’t let His grace become a cheap thing in your life. When you think of thinking, saying or doing something that you feel convicted about, picture in your mind’s eye what Christ willingly went through for you. He did that without hesitation, and if it were necessary, would do it again … for you and me. Don’t be the one putting the nails in his hands, for when we do that which we should not be doing, we crucify Christ all over again.

God loves you unconditionally. Don’t live your life without God at the helm of your ship. Don’t be a believer in name alone. Take your walk seriously and find the joy and peace God provides when you obey Him.

LIVE FOR GOD AND OTHERS TODAY AND BE A BLESSING !!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

GOD'S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE


Romans 6:6-7 (NIV) “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

The words ‘set free’ bring to mind all sorts of images. Releasing an animal from a trap it had been caught in; being released from prison after a person had “paid his debt to society” and many others that might come to your mind based on your own personal experiences. So then, with these positive images as a backdrop, what a joy it is to know that if a person has received Christ and His sacrifice as their own they are ‘set free’. And they are ‘set free’ from something very specific. It is not arbitrary*, but rather something very personal. Something you have been carrying as a mill stone around your neck. It is your sin. Those things you have done against God. Oh you more than likely didn’t knowingly say “take that God” while you were doing it, but ignorance has no place here. You see we are all born with a sense of knowing what is right and what is wrong until we are taught differently.

Sin is a cruel task master. It wears you down and wears you out. It is a very heavy weight to carry and over time it will grind you under its’ heel. The Bible is clear on what is considered sin against your Creator and what is not. It is clear as to what God requires of us. It really isn’t much considering the price that was paid to compensate for that sin.

ROMANS 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”

ROMANS 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Before we knew Him; before we were even born, Christ paid the price for our indiscretions.** I lived 24 years of my life without God leading the way. I lived all those years not knowing that Christ was the Son of God and that He died for me … and the truly sad part about that is that I grew up going to a Presbyterian Church in Red Bank, NJ. My mom and I went every Sunday morning. I even sang in the choir until I was 17 yrs old. Never heard anything about Christ being crucified on a cross. How tragic. It was through a campus ministry called Chi Alpha that I came to know the Lord and 32 yrs later I have never turned back. You see, at 12:30 am on my birthday, March 21st, 1979, I sat at the campus ministers kitchen table and prayed with him. In that simple prayer, like a drug user admitting his has a problem, I admitted my need for a savior and He cleansed me in my spirit. The Holy Spirit entered into me and I have never been the same since that day. I am not perfect and the old man tries to take the lead at times, but as long as I look to Him for strength and guidance, the old man remains dead.

It’s like that illustration you may have heard … you have a black dog and a white dog living inside you. The black dog represents your old sin nature and the white dog your ‘born again’ nature. The dog you feed the most is the dog that will be stronger and control the other dog. If you feed your sinful nature with things that are not edifying to your spirit, then you will be inclined to go down a path that you will come to regret. Feeding the new Godly nature results in peace, joy, hope etc. It is not an easy road, this road to heaven. It is narrow and there are many distractions that attempt to pull you off course, but the more you feed your spirit man (or woman), the safer you will be as He leads you home.

You have been set free. Don’t become bound up with ungodly things again unnecessarily. It doesn’t have to happen. God will allow it if you insist on having your own way, but you will learn the hard way that God knows what He’s doing and everything He affords you is for your eternal and many times, immediate benefit.

Knowing all this, WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* Determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle
** Foolish, rash, thoughtless, reckless, hasty, unwise words or actions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

FAITH TESTING


James 1:2-4 (NIV) “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

This set of verses used to confuse me. Consider it ‘pure joy’?? Joy in the face of trials?? It’s true enough when the scripture says ‘whenever you face trials of many kinds’ and not ‘if’, because you WILL most definitely face a variety of trials and tribulations in this lifetime.

PERSEVERANCE (def) - Steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness.

Did you know that the trials that you go through are pre-ordained and orchestrated by God? Now to be fair, there are some trials that we bring on ourselves as a direct consequence of our actions and while God may not have orchestrated that, He allows it as a means to an end. You’ve perhaps heard the phrase “everything happens for a reason”. I ascribe to that theory and would even tack on this addendum: “everything happens for a reason in God’s economy”.

What do I mean by that?

To me, ‘God’s economy’ means everything that falls under His control, which is literally everything. So all the things that happen to you on any given day are no surprise to your Heavenly Father. He knows your every thought, your desires, your deepest, most intimate secrets. He knows what you need, even down to what you need to grow spiritually. This is of paramount importance to God.
A small body of water, without a source to feed fresh water into it on a continuing basis, will become stagnant. So will ANY of us if we do not receive a steady stream of ‘water’ from God.

We have many lessons to learn as a Christian. We learn them through sermons, through reading scripture, through praying, through fellowship, through wise counsel and we learn important lessons from trials. There is a key factor in the learning process: we must, over time, learn to ask ‘what would You like me to learn from this, Lord’, rather than ‘why me?’ or ‘not this again’. It takes time to get to that place. Don’t be too hard on yourself, because it doesn’t come easy. Our natural inclination is to say ‘oh no, not again’ when something seems to go wrong. Just 1-1/2 years ago, when I was laid off from my job, the first words to the HR director with tears in my eyes were, ‘oh no … what am I gonna do now?’ It was through tear filled eyes on my way home in a driving rain storm that I uttered the words ‘Lord, I am trusting You to see me through this. Teach me what You want me to know from this and let me learn my lessons well.’

Now I am no spiritual giant, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I want you to know that God not only saw us through a 13 month stint of unemployment and some difficult financial times, but taught me many, many things about Himself and myself. I am a better man today because of the trials I have gone through. But I had to submit to His will and trust Him to provide and sustain not only me, but the one God gave me a responsibility to care for; my lovely wife.

So when you face a trial and it seems that the only thing you can do is to go through it, then strap yourself to the mast of the Master’s ship and ride it out. He will provide for you and sustain you and if you are attentive to His voice, will teach you marvelous things that you would never have known if you had stayed on dry land. Don’t be afraid of your trials, embrace them as learning tools and you will come out shining like the sun. Remember; exercise your faith and trust.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

GOD DOESN'T HAVE FAVORITES



Ephesians 6:9b (NIV) “ … he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.”

“God is no ‘respecter of persons’, which means that he doesn't judge people based on their skin color, wealth, or ethnicity. “ (www.gospel.com)

I think it is pretty normal for a person to have his or her favorite things in life. We favor certain individuals over others because our personalities seem to mesh with theirs well. We like or dislike certain people based on their upbringing, their appearance, their financial status. Good thing we aren’t God.

The scriptures are clear in this matter. He plays no favorites. He doesn’t like any one person over another. We have been created equal in His sight. What we do with the opportunities He has laid before us determines the path we take in life, but we all have the same opportunities. Any obstacles to them are either caused or allowed by God for a specific purpose. I stopped trying to figure out the minutia of His will and ways a long time ago, finding it a fruitless endeavor. It then becomes what I have been talking about for several months now … faith and trust.

Through the years I have seen so many teachers and preachers portray the Gospel in such intricate detail, making it seem extremely complex. I don’t see it that way. Oh it used to be mysterious to me. Something I could not get my arms around. Then this last year or so I had an epiphany of sorts … it became clear to me that we either believe that God IS and that He is an entity we can trust in and rely on for all necessary things, or we don’t. It really is that simple. Everything we believe after that is reliant on that core belief. If God doesn’t exist, then everything else is moot … there is nothing else to discuss on the subject.

But let’s just suppose that God IS real, as most of us reading this now I would imagine, and accept the fact that He is worthy of our trust and faith. Then we must know that God loves us unconditionally. Do we understand what that means? Do we understand that the Creator of the Universe deeply loves us to such an extent that He has placed NO conditions on His love? It is unbridled, merciful love, despite who we are, where we are from, what we look like, where we have been or what we may have done. NO conditions. There are very few, if any, condition free things in this life, but in God’s economy, there are no conditions placed on His love for us. Now the trick is that we must strive to do the same to those around us. Even the most undesirable ones among us, for they are only undesirable to our human sensibilities, but they are beautiful to God. Love as you are loved.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, March 21, 2011

GOD: KNOWER OF THE HEART






A person is known by what he says and does. It is all we have to go by when we assess an individual’s sincerity regarding a given matter. We cannot know the motive behind their words or actions. We only know what we are told and even then, cannot always be sure it is the truth. Oh, we speculate. We form our own conclusions based on unproven information, but we do not truly know what is in a man’s heart.

Matthew 12:34 (NKJV) “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

You’ve no doubt heard the catch phrase “Garbage in – garbage out.” It is a computer term which means just what it sounds like it means. The computer program runs only as well as the programmer who entered the information in. Therefore, it stands to reason, that with your brain being ‘the computer’, whatever you feed into your brain will come out in your words and in your actions at some point. It is inevitable. Even if we know what a person has been feeding his mind, the best we can do is examine him by our own perceived notions and sensibilities. What seems right to us we equate as being normal and we measure others by our definition. How incredibly short-sighted we all are. And I am the worst offender.

While there is nothing wrong with being what I like to call a “fruit inspector”, determining if a person exhibits the fruit of the Spirit thru the life he or she is living, we are incapable of determining the condition of their heart. God can. God is the only One who can. We are not god because we have an unhealthy tendency to become arrogant and prideful when we reach what we perceive to be a high level of spirituality. God Himself and God alone can be judge of a man or woman’s heart motives. He alone can show the proper compassion for the suffering soul that struggles with life’s issues, while trying so desperately to put up a defense barrier. People don’t trust others outside their own comfort zone and at times, they may not have anyone they feel they can trust.

This is why we need to strive to be true ‘disciples’ of Christ.The term ‘disciple’ in NT Greek means “a learner”. Look hard at yourself in the mirror and allow the Lord to show you your depth. Allow your roots to sink deep into the rich irrigated soil of God. Allow God to show you how to leave the judgment to Him. We will never be able to know the true motives of a person, but we WILL enjoy greater spiritual discernment, which is very important. We should seek to love as Christ loves; forgive as Christ forgives; show mercy, grace and compassion to those who need it most. God will deal with those who are not living right. We must make sure OUR hearts are pure before God. Our concentration should lie there and not on the heart motives of others. What are you feeding your mind?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!