BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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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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Friday, April 29, 2011

I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES


Job 19:25 (NIV) “I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”

After all Job had been through in his life; the loss of family, property and material goods, he could still look up and say “I know that my redeemer lives …” Isn’t it amazing how little some of us are required, by life’s inevitable trials and tribulations, to endure and yet we lose faith so easily? Is not God the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Did He not say that He was “no respecter of persons”, that what He has done for one generation, He could and would do now? So why do we doubt? Why do we tremble in fear at times over circumstances that come our way as happenstance? We didn’t ask for it. We do not require it for sustenance or provision. Yet, it is upon us all the same.

I am the first one to question my circumstances. I struggle at times with the what and the why. While it is many times not for me to know, I still question. I suppose it is the way I am wired. My faith is stronger than it used to be and I trust God to do for me what is just and good in His sight, yet there are times when the tide of my faith is out and the sand of my uncertainty is exposed. Even in this, I know God understands. He ought to, He created me. While I have filled the pot with all sorts of things, some of which may not belong in there, He made the pot. He knows the pots’ strengths, weaknesses and limitations. It is up to me to fill it with that which will not cause the pot to weaken or crack.

In all of the hustle and bustle of this crazy life that we live, we would do well to always remember not only that our Redeemer lives, but that in His living, He has defeated the death He experienced. Therefore, we who believe in Christ and all that He stands for shall not taste the sting of death. True enough, we may taste the temporal death of these fleshly tents we have been given to live in, but the 2nd death or death of our souls we will never partake in.

When Christ returns, all wrongs will be righted; all injustices will be dealt with; the evil ones shall be punished; the righteous shall be rewarded with an eternity in the midst of God’s heavenly glory. Job believed this. Abraham believed this. King David believed this. Paul believed this. All these men were far from perfect. They doubted, lied, committed murder and adultery and still, when redemption came to them, they embraced it with both arms and did not release it until they were with God in the heavenlies.

What am I saying by that? Perhaps what I am saying is this: don’t be so hard on yourself. Be sensitive to the Spirits’ leading. Respond to God’s challenge to make the necessary alterations to your character. Focus on that which is truly important on a spiritual and eternal level. Don’t become distracted. I get distracted all the time. Be like Christ, not like me … for sure, don’t emulate me. Seek to be like Jesus each day of your life and know in your heart of hearts that, come what may, your Redeemer lives and in the end will someday stand on the earth. Your redemption draws nigh.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

GOD BECOMES MAN


Philippians 2:7-8 (NIV) “… he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death … even death on a cross!”

ke•no•sis (k -n s s) n. Christianity The relinquishment of the form of God by Jesus in becoming man and suffering death.

In a world where people are constantly striving to better themselves and climb the ladder of socially defined success, it is incredulous to me that Almighty God would purposefully and deliberately make Himself NOTHING. He went so far as to make Himself the lowest human form … a servant; a person with no rights or authority. And then willingly allow Himself to be led to a criminals cross to be crucified and as a result die. It is one thing to die for a friend, but to die for a people who do not even know You is pretty amazing. It defies all logic. Yet this was God’s plan all along.

We call it a ‘criminals cross’ because that was the common way of putting those who broke the law of the land to death at that time. So even though Christ was not a criminal, He was treated as one in the manner by which He was killed. Eradicate the problem. That is essentially what the religious leaders of the day were doing. Everything about Jesus; His words, His actions, flew in the face of the Pharisee’s comfort zone. They had control over the religious people around them. They determined what God wanted and didn’t want. They defined His laws. They set the temple payment system for the covering of sins. When Jesus came along, just like He eventually overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple courtyard, He overturned everything the Pharisee had set in motion. Instead of rationally discussing matters of the heart with Jesus, they almost immediately plotted to get rid of Him. Christ needed to be eliminated. Unbeknownst to the religious leaders of that day, it was God’s plan for that to take place all along. He knew their hardened hearts and that they were stubborn and stiff necked. He knew they would fall right into line with God’s plan because they believed in their hearts that they were right, even though they were not.

So Christ willingly became like a slave. He did what He was called by God to do. He was obedient to the point of death and it was all for a divine purpose … God knew the heart of man. He created him, so He knew him intimately. He knew that man, if given a choice, would choose incorrectly based on feelings and emotions, rather than on what was right vs. what was wrong. This sentiment is still prevalent today. If it feels good and doesn’t hurt anyone else, then do it. All well and good except for the fact that no boundaries creates a chaotic existence. Unfortunately, we don’t realize the chaos until we are in the middle of it and it is too late. But fortunately for us, it is never truly too late, for God is always willing to reach out and pull us up out of the mess we, ourselves, have created.

A blood sacrifice was necessary to atone or pay for sin. It was the payment system that God put in place to satisfy or forgive our wrongdoing. We have modern day Pharisees who attempt to lord over and control their flocks. It is why the flock must dig into God’s word for themselves to see what is truly required of them as followers of Christ rather than get bogged down in the quagmire of unnecessary rules and regulations to feed someone power trip. Christ died for you, not anyone else. Christ alone. Get to know Him intimately and you might be surprised what is really required of you as His followers and what is not.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DO WE SHUN THE UNSAVED?


Luke 19:7b “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

Like the IRS today, government tax collectors are not liked. They are viewed as strict, restrictive, by the book individuals that seek to take our money when they can. Or at least this is how they are perceived, but one’s perception is their reality. Zacchaeus was one such person … a tax collector for the Roman Government. He was not welcome in common social circles and despised by the general populous. He was short in physical stature, so when Jesus came to town and was walking by, he scrambled up a nearby tree to catch a glimpse of this Messiah.

When Jesus spied Zacchaeus up in the tree, He told him to come down for He would be coming to his house for a meal. Imagine the pride and excitement Zacchaeus must have felt being called out of the crowd like that. The interesting part in all this is the verse listed at the top of the entry. Anyone would have loved to have Jesus, the supposed Messiah, as a visitor in their home. The stories they could tell their friends and family. That they had been picked out of a large crowd to host Him. But he called out a man that was vile and despicable to those around him.

How often I have seen non-believers in such a manner myself. How often I have shunned people because of their past or their appearance. Not knowing the facts, I have acted and in some cases still do act in a way that is so UNChrist-like that in seeing this others not knowing any better might question MY salvation.

Jesus came for the sinner, not the saint. We are all sinners, if the truth be known, so He came for us all, yet we deem it necessary to pick and choose those around us that we feel are worthy of knowing Him. I despise my own actions and yet fail to alter them with any regularity. What about you? When you find something distasteful about yourself, do you go about making alterations in the way you behave to better line up with God’s word?

The blessing comes when we realize that God knows this about us already. He is not shocked or surprised to see us act in such a manner. It is in the changing that the blessing comes. If we resist, we continue to fail. God is patient. He guides and directs. He instructs patiently. He is what we such strive to become. Becoming Christ-like, which is unattainable, is something we must reach for nonetheless. This side of heave we will never be perfect, but being more like Him needs to be our goal. May we never be the one saying “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Instead, let it be said of us, for then will we know we are progressing in our quest to be more like Christ.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

SEEK GOD'S WISDOM


Colossians 1:9-14 (NIV) “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

RESCUE defined: 1. To set free, as from danger or imprisonment; save; 2. An act of rescuing; deliverance.

I guess I never really thought of it this way, but I was rescued from death and destruction. So were you. It is part and parcel of the gift of salvation. Our inheritance is sealed. Our eternity, etched in stone. We now fall under the category of those who are born twice and only die once; our 2nd birth being spiritual in nature, which negates a 2nd death, for our spirit never dies.

Paul, the once vile hater of Christians and slayer of same, is now a fierce prayer warrior on their behalf. The Damascus Road episode in his life changed everything. He now asks God to fill these same believers of Christ with “all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives”. Two things are shown to us here: 1) that God will give us those things that we are in need of to live a life worthy of Him; 2) His Holy Spirit is the conduit by which this is accomplished.
What have we been rescued from? These verses tell of God, by His Holy Spirit, through the actions of His Son, Jesus, the Christ, rescuing or delivering us from “the dominion of darkness”.

DOMINION defined: A territory or sphere of influence or control; a realm.

Without Christ, our life is under the domination or control of darkness, which permeates this world. It is cloaked so it is not easily seen by the naked eye, but with the eye of the Spirit, is seen plainly. We have been rescued from this world that we are IN yet no longer OF. This world embraces many things that are blatantly evil and easy to spot. However, the enemy works overtime to come up with ways to deceive those who would strive to avoid such things. We need the full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:13) to combat such an evil attack.

Be wary of the darkness that surrounds you, but rejoice in the light that you reside in. God has you covered with His righteousness. You are safe.
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

WE HAVE RECEIVED GRACE


Romans 1: 1-5a (NIV) “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God; the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we received grace …”.

Here is Paul, the Jew who hated Christians; who had them tortured and killed. Paul who met Christ on the Damascus Road and had an epiphany. The realization of Who Christ truly was had been revealed to him. God had a purpose and plan for Paul. He was to bring the Good News of the Gospel of Christ to, of all people, the Gentiles. Here in the beginning of his letter to the Romans, he sums up the entirety of Christ’s mission, sans redemption. Obviously, redemption is at the core of a Christian’s belief system, but here Paul mentions Christ’s earthly existence, implies His death, explains what raised Him and reveals what we received as a result of all this … unmerited and unconditional favor.

Do you understand the significance of the word unconditional? Unmerited is one thing. Undeserved. Once we accept the fact that we are sinners in need of saving, we realize we are undeserving of the gift God has for all who believe and receive. But to receive love, grace and mercy without any conditions hanging over your head is almost incomprehensible. We make the mistake of looking at things with the finite mind. Understanding that we are incapable of anything without placing some conditions on it or them, we balk at the thought of such a thing directed toward us.

The last phrase reveals something important to the believer: to receive something, we must first accept it, as when someone extends something to you for the purpose of you taking it from them. How many of us, knowing all too well the condition of our own heart and the thought patterns that haunt us daily, struggle with the concept and even more so with the reality, of such a gift. The unmerited, admittedly undeserved love and favor of God is, in fact, the essence of Who God is. He IS love. He IS grace. Every positive emotion, thought and attribute in existence IS what God is.

Take these thoughts with you today and embrace the truth in them. Also, commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ this weekend, more than any other time of the year, for He died with a purpose. He died for you. He died for me. He died to eradicate sin in the lives of those who would believe in Him.

Matthew 28 (NIV) “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Rejoice, for He is risen!

WALK WITH THE RISEN KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

FOR ALL ETERNITY


John 10:28 (NIV) “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

The whole concept of the ‘faith & trust’ belief system is not only believing what you cannot see as if you were able to see it, but that you can rely on the entity you are placing your faith in to provide for and sustain you. So trust in this: you have been given eternal life by the Creator of the Universe … wait; let’s ponder that for a moment.

ETERNAL defined: 1. Being without beginning or end; existing outside of time; 2. Continuing without interruption; perpetual; 3. Forever true or changeless; 4. Seemingly endless; interminable; 5. Of or relating to spiritual communion with God, especially in the afterlife.

You have been given as a gift from the One who Created you a life after you die that fits the definition listed above. Everyone is born once, but God speaks of being born a second time. What folks do not understand, believe and/or comprehend is that for those who do not experience a second birth, they shall die a second time. There is a physical birth and death and a spiritual birth and death. This is where we encounter the whole heaven and hell issue. That is for another time, but suffices it to say, your Heavenly Father offers you life and that more abundantly. The enemy of your soul, Satan as he is known, promises you riches, power, and anything else you desire. The only problem is that he has no intention of giving you any of these things without there being a price paid. And trust me; it is a steep price that no one is able to pay. Satan drew mankind into sin. Christ paid the price for that sin … every bit of it, once for all for all time. What one UN-did, another far greater RE-did.

You can rely on this as well: there isn’t anyone or anything in this created existence we find ourselves that can undo what Christ has done. God has us in His hand and we will NOT be snatched out of it. We may choose to jump, but we cannot be taken. Why would anyone want to jump out of the comfort of knowing God? Temptations abound. Stand tall in the face of them. Do not allow the enemy a foothold, for you will find him to be a cruel task master who will never be satisfied until you are destroyed. The package he presents to you is simply wrapped in pretty paper, but it is filled with sadness and pain. Don’t be fooled by appearances. Claim your inheritance and live.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

STAND FIRM & DELIVER


1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

When a tree is young and just planted, it requires nurturing. It requires fertilizer and water and sun. In many cases, the trunk is held in place by ropes or cables that are staked into the ground around its’ base to help it withstand strong winds and inclement weather. Over time, as the root system burrows deep into the soil, the nourished tree becomes mature, grows tall, spreads out and is strong. Its’ root system has dug far down into the earth, allowing it to maintain stability in the face of all the variant weather conditions that arise. It is able to ‘stand firm’ in the face of just about anything that comes against it.

So it is with us as believers. As we grow in the spirit, our root system digs deep, providing us with stability in the face of tribulation. This is what Paul is speaking of when he ends the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians with this admonition that we see above. Nothing we do in the name of Christ is done in vain. We may never see the benefit brought by our steadfastness this side of heaven, but it is good in the sight of God and shall bring a harvest of plenty to His Kingdom. We are to obey, not challenge His directives. Think of the chaos that would exist if each decision made by the head of a large company was challenged by those under his leadership.

Being the creator of the universe and man’s first breath, He has everything at His disposal and is able to rightly direct and guide us through this maze we call life. God has given us this life to live. We must give ourselves over to His work fully and completely. That may mean full time ministry, but I think most of the time it does not. If you have a calling on your life, you know it. It is inescapable. Like Jonah, you are incapable of running from it or avoiding it. However, your calling may simply be to be the best Christ-like husband or wife you can be. It may be to be Christ to the elderly. It may be shining your light at work, without robbing from your employer with time spent evangelizing. Ministries come in many different forms. God gave us all gifts and He knows how we can best use them. It then all comes down to a ‘faith / trust’ issue. You see, it has always been a ‘faith / trust’ issue. It always will be. Believing in the unseen God and trusting Him to provide and sustain us as His children. After that, it is simply following His instructions. He gave us a manual. It’s His word. We will read a new owner’s manual for the new car we just bought, but will try to maneuver our way through life’s twists and turns without even cracking open His manual of instructions. Interesting how we are about such things, isn’t it? But we can change our focus. We can change our direction. Seek God. Listen to the still small voice of His spirit. Be certain. Don’t go off half-cocked, for a half-cocked pistol will never accomplish its’ intended purpose. Know you are in His will and than stand firm and give yourself over to it … whatever it is. Please Him with your life. The safest place in this whole world to be is in the center of His will.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TAKE THE MEAT & LEAVE THE BONES


1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV) “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”
I found, upon doing a little digging, that the above quote was written by the Greek poet Menander. This tells us that Paul was cultured, in that he was familiar with current Greek poetry and that he wasn’t singularly focused on Christ to the exclusion of all else.

I am a firm believer that truth is truth wherever you find it. An example of that are the Rolling Stones. I have never liked the Rolling Stones. Never cared for their music. Never cared for their lyrical content. However, I believe a small nugget of truth can be found in the chorus of one of their hit songs. “You can’t always get what you want, you can always get what you want, you can’t always get what you want; but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.” Simple, yet somewhat profound. It is a lyric that I have always liked. It isn’t from the Bible; it isn’t prophetic and it wasn’t uttered by a believer. But I believe there is truth in this statement nonetheless. A lady from my past once said, “You take the meat and leave the bones”.

Our scripture today quotes a secular poet, yet states a truth that is inescapable. Your life reflects the company you keep. What you think and say is a reflection of what you feed into your mind on a daily basis. What are you feeding your mind today?

Keeping bad company corrupts your morals. You invariably succumb to peer pressure and begin acting out what you have absorbed from your association with them. Your vision becomes cloudy. Your decision making becomes sketchy. You no longer make good choices that please God. You are feeding the black dog within to the exclusion of the white one, allowing him to take over.

MISLED (past tense of mislead) defined  MISLEAD defined: 1.To lead in the wrong direction.
2. To lead into error of thought or action, especially by intentionally deceiving.

Make no mistake about it; the enemy of your soul WILL led you in the wrong direction, intentionally deceiving you, if you allow him to. In the true spirit of the meaning of Ephesians 4:26, “… do not give the devil a foothold”. Do not allow him even a toehold. But how do we resist this vile tempter?

James 4:7-8 (NIV) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Now here is a truth you need commit to memory.

“Turn your upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face; and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” After Christ, nothing else matters.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

DECLARE AND BELIEVE


Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

DECLARE defined: To state emphatically or authoritatively.
BELIEVE defined: To accept as true or real.
SAVED defined: To rescue from harm, danger, or loss; to set free from the consequences of sin; redeem.
JUSTIFIED defined: To declare free of blame; absolve.
PROFESS defined: To affirm openly; declare or claim.

Defining our terms is important, in that we now understand, without question, what God is telling up through the writer of Romans. This is what the Amplified version of the Bible does. For example, …

“If you (state emphatically or authoritatively) with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and (accept this as true or real) in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be (rescued from harm, danger or loss; set free from the consequences of sin; redeemed). For it is with your heart that you (accept as true or real) and are (declared free from blame; absolved), and it is with your mouth that you (affirm openly; declare or claim) your faith and are (rescued from harm, danger or loss; set free from the consequences of sin; redeemed).”

At times, a verse or verses written in such a manner can add incredible clarity to its’ meaning. Now, on to what it is saying to us as believers. To be set free from the consequences of sin one must state clearly and boldly that Jesus is Lord and accept the account of His death, burial and resurrection in your heart. Notice that it does not say believe in your mind. For out of your mouth come the issues of the heart, not of the mind. People speak their minds all the time, but the real deep issues that people speak of come from the heart. It is where your conviction regarding important matters resides.

It stands to reason that while an unbeliever may give lip service to the issues of faith as a means of getting certain people to leave them alone regarding spiritual matters, this is not what we are speaking of. I also believe that something should be added to the sentiment in these verses. Professing one’s faith is very important. But allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you and guide you into all truth is vital to a prolonged, sustained and productive walk with Christ. It is not just speaking out. I have known people, and I can tend to be one of these people myself, that says little, however, strives to live my life as a Christ-like example to those around me. The phrase “actions speak louder than words” comes to mind.

I see many Christians every day who proclaim to be believers and yet their lives don’t show the fruit to back up such a proclamation. It can be a struggle. We are buffeted about constantly by things contrary to the word of God. Making the right decisions depends on how closely to stick to God and listen to His Spirit. His desire for you is one of spiritual prosperity.

3 John 1:2 (NKJV) “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

As your soul prospers, so shall you prosper, but I wouldn’t necessarily assume that prosperity is speaking of monetary riches. It could, but doesn’t have to. If God knows you can handle riches and use it effectively to advance His kingdom, then He just may bless you in that manner. I know people that have been blessed in such a way and have done great things in the name of the Lord.
Our focus doesn’t need to be on ‘things’, but rather on how healthy our relationship with our Heavenly Father is. Cultivate that relationship first and everything else will begin to fall into place. God wants to bless you. He also wants to use you. He gives all His children special gifts. Find out yours and use it for the Kingdom. It is not all about YOU. It IS all about HIM and OTHERS.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR ...


Romans 13:8-10 (NIV) “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

This portion of scripture looks pretty straight forward. However, it does beg 2 very different, yet important questions that need answering: 1) who is our neighbor? and 2) do we love ourselves?

The Message translates ‘neighbor’ as ‘other people’. The New Living Translation says “Love does no wrong to others”. Other translations use words like ‘a neighbor’; ‘our neighbor’; ‘his neighbor’, etc.

NEIGHBOR defined: 1. One who lives near or next to another; 2. A person, place, or thing adjacent to or located near another; 3. A fellow human; 4. Used as a form of familiar address.

I believe scripture is using ‘neighbor’ as a general term referring to all people. In a traditional sense, a neighbor would be the people that live either directly surrounding your home on each side or those living on your street. But surely it isn’t simply referring to the folks living on your street alone. Taking the Bible as a whole, it stands to reason that it is meaning the former, rather than the latter.

So this leads us to the greater question: Do you love yourself? I tend to have a love/dislike relationship toward myself. I say dislike, because I do not hate myself, but can tend to dislike myself at times. I dislike my thought patterns more than anything else. I don’t have a problem with my words or actions most of the time, but it is my INaction and the things I DON’T say that makes me dislike myself at times. So, my answer to the question is ‘not all the time’. What’s your answer to that question? To respond to Romans 13:10 we really have to do a little self-analyzation.

James 1:22-24 (NIV) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

Knowing what God requires of us and not responding to it only hurts us. It certainly doesn’t hurt God. To simplify the above verses even more, it would be like a man going before a mirror, seeing that his hair is disheveled, he has a 2 day growth of beard and he is in need of a general tidying up and he turns without doing a thing and goes off to a job interview. He is not likely to make a favorable impression, but I think you see my point. If we don’t even like ourselves, we may have a problem branching out and loving others. For many of us, the scripture may need to read ‘love your neighbors as you wish or would like to love yourselves’, shouldn’t it? If the truth be told, yes.

Don’t be so hard on yourselves. Be kind to yourselves. Reflect on the love God has for you. Read 1 Corinthians 13 in its’ entirety … the ‘love’ chapter. It will aptly define what Godly love truly is. Then go about putting these things into practice.
You are not alone. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to change you in the way that you must change to be more like Jesus. Submit to His work in you. Cultivate yourself. Feast on the living water provided by the Holy Spirit. Become all you can be in Christ.

Now go and WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

CHRIST HAS ARISEN



1 Corinthians 15:16-20 (New Living Translation) “And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.”

The Sadducees’ were a religious sect active in Jesus time. They were in opposition to the Pharisees on many political, religious and social issues. While they did NOT believe that there was such a thing as ‘fate’, they DID believe that God does not commit evil and that man has a free will. Where they part company with most other sects was with their firm belief that the soul was NOT immortal, meaning that there was no afterlife and thus, no rewards or penalties after death. They also rejected the belief of bodily resurrection, which was the central tenet of the growing Jesus movement.

An essential part of Christianity is believing that Christ died for the sins of all men (which is meant to be inclusive: as in, men, women and children). Another key ingredient in that belief system is that Christ died on a cross and was raised to new life 3 days later (as it was prophesied in the OT).

Can you imagine what a let down it would be if it was proven that, as the Sadducees’ believed, there was NO resurrection? That you lived, you died and that was it. You ceased consciousness and no longer existed. That would make the Bible as we believe it a lie. If you can’t believe any one thing in scripture, then it calls into question the remainder of the writings. But, as part of our belief system, based on faith and trust, we DO happen to believe that the Bible is God’s completely true, totally God inspired Word given to man. We DO happen to believe that Christ is His only Son and that He DID die on a cross for the remission of all sin. Finally, we DO believe that He rose from the dead by the power of God’s Holy Spirit that raised Him.

Think back on when you first gave your life to Christ. Why did you believe in Him? What has happened in your life since that time? Have you matured spiritually? Have you turned away? Are you living for God? Are you a stagnant pool? One of the blessings and true privileges of being a believer in Christ is that we get to go through our lives with Him. He never leaves us. He indwells us in the person of the Holy Spirit. We are never alone … ever. Even when there is no one visible around, you are not alone. Living for God is a unique journey that rarely gets boring. The key is placing your constant focus on Him rather than that which surrounds you. Like Peter, if you focus on the winds and waves of circumstances you find yourself in, the results can be less than desirable.

Rejoice today that Christ DID die, for without death there can be no resurrection and without resurrection, there can be no 2nd birth. For Christ’s resurrection is symbolic of our resurrection from our old life away from God to our new life in Him. Cultivate your faith and live more wholly for Him who gave Himself for you that you may truly live.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!


REMISSION defined: a. Release, as from a debt, penalty, or obligation. b. Forgiveness; pardon. (www.thefreedictionary.com)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

THE LAW vs. GRACE



Romans 3:19-20 (NIV) “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”

Did you know that if you are not a believer in Christ, with sins forgiven, you are still considered under the Mosaic Law in God’s sight? “Under” it, as in you are expected to abide by it or live according to it. Now those who do not have a relationship with God wouldn’t know this, but that doesn’t change anything. In this case, as with many things in life, ignorance is not excuse. The wonders of God’s creation surround us in abundance, so no one can deny the flicker within them that reveals these things to them in their most private times.

Many times I will look at a verse or portion of scripture in the Amplified Bible, which does just what its’ name implies; it amplifies the verses by providing a variety of words and/or phrases to clarify a verses meaning. Let’s take a look at Romans 3:19-20 to see what it has to offer us.

Romans 3:19-20 (Amplified Bible) “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that [ the murmurs and excuses of ] every mouth may be hushed and all the world may be held accountable to God. For no person will be justified ( made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable ) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law. For [ the real function of ] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin, [ not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character ].”

In this translation we see with greater clarity the true purpose of the Mosaic Law (aka, the Ten Commandments). It is to reveal ones sinfulness to them. Let’s face it, if you have a prescribed set of “rules” to follow, it is pretty easy to know if you are following them or not. And make no mistake about it, the Jews for one knew every word of the Mosaic Law by heart. Once the salvation gift was given in the form of Christ’s atoning, substitutionary death on a cross, then the Law became a requirement to all, for if a person didn’t receive the atonement provided by Christ’s blood, then who or what would atone for their sins. We know that no one is sinless except Jesus Christ Himself and this because He WAS God in human form.

Just as an individual must pay for human laws that they break through jail time (known as “paying their debt to society”), so an individual is required to pay for the sin debt they have accumulated throughout their life. Sad to say, there is no amount of money, high priced lawyers or pleading that can get someone out of paying this debt. It is owed whether the person is conscious of it’s’ existence or not. Any man, woman and child is born with a conscience and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. Our sinful nature gravitates or is drawn to sin like a fly is drawn to honey. The immediate satisfaction may be great, but the consequences are sometimes more than we can bear. It is the Biblical principle of “sowing and reaping”. If you sow corn seeds, you will reap corn … if you cultivate (as in plow and/or fertilize) the soil and water the seeds properly you will have a great harvest, barring any storms that might alter the intended harvest. (Do you see how the last couple sentences relate to our lives: what seeds do we plant in our own hearts and lives?; how well do we cultivate those seeds?; how well do we deal with the trials and tribulations that confound us throughout the growing process, aka, living your life?)

John 16:33 (NIV) (Jesus said) “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.”

How does a non-believer live this crazy life without God? I have no answer for that question. A believer has the history that is recorded in their own mind and heart regarding their walk with God. They know God is faithful. They know He shows no favorites. They have peace as a result. What does the non-believer have to draw from? It is a relative question which has a different answer for each individual. For a believer, though the specifics may be different, the answer is always the same, for God is consistent. We can count on Him to provide for us and sustain us through any and all the bumps we encounter in this life. To trust in God is to rely on Him. Meditate on these things, for in them you will find life and peace.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

GOD'S GRACE BRINGS BLESSING



Titus 2:11-14 (NIV) “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

God’s unmerited, unearned favor is offered to all people. It allows us to live our lives with inner peace. It fills us with discernment and wisdom. It enables us to turn our backs on sin and live a life of self-control. While it is true we must ask for these things and must cultivate them as we would a garden once we have them, God freely gives all good things to those who are His.

You can look no further than Ecclesiastes 3 to find a prime example of seeking and being granted godly attributes. Solomon sought wisdom and discernment to rule the nation of Israel fairly and effectively. Because he asked for this and not for personal riches and good health, nor the death of his enemies, God granted him what he asked for AND the riches and prosperity he was not seeking.

Use your gifts for God’s glory and not for ill gotten gain. Nothing escapes the ever watchful eye of your Heavenly Father. He knows not only your words and deeds, but He knows your motivations … He knows your heart. Those who seek blessings for themselves and themselves alone will be most miserable. However, those who seek blessings so that they may dispense blessings to those in need will be blessed 10 times over. God wishes to bless His children, but His children many times aren’t prepared for the blessing and fritter it away. Seek to be used by God. Seek to cultivate your gifts. Seek to be used to minister to and bless others. It is an important part of who we should be as believers. Living for ourselves or our own families alone can be a lonely, lifeless, stagnant existence. Reach out of your comfort zone. You may find that in blessing others, YOU are the one that gets the greatest blessing.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, April 11, 2011

SEVERE STORM

There is no entry this morning other than the following: Last night we experienced the most ferocious 15-20 minutes of wind and rain we have ever experienced. Marble size hail pelted out house and my car. The TV weather report showed us it was coming, so we were expected something, but not this. In the aftermath of this brief outburst of weather, we ventured out into the street, meeting up with neighbors as we promptly accessed the damage. Our neighbor had her entire back fence blown down and a section of her side fence, which flew into our side gutter and trashed it. I had said a brief prayer regarding the hail ... "Lord, I know they are nothing more than material possessions, but please spare the car from hail damage." We didn't fear for our lives, for apparently, it was a microburst or something of that nature that hit our area. Our little cul-de-sac had a lot of blown down fence sections, one or two broken windows, a trampolene that flew onto a neighbors roof and punctured thru the shingles into their bedroom. Patio furniture was strewn about, but no physical harm came to anyone and despite large hail lying all around the ground, not one dent in ANYONE's car. I will have to chalk that one up to God's mercy, because I do not understand for the life of me how all that hail, that came down with enough force to leave indentations in my neighbor's wooden fence, didn't leave a mark on my car. Thank You Lord for Your protection and mercy, in Jesus' name ... amen. WALK WITHT THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

CRAZY LOVE by Hawk Nelson


[I have to decided to do something different on Saturdays. I will be presenting Christian song lyrics that I think are sound and minister on some level without editorial comment. Let the songs begin ... ]

"Crazy Love"

We're the ones who believe in the things unseen
This home, this party is an in between
We're the ones who fight down on our knees
Who dare to love our enemies
Love enemies

They say it sounds insane
We say that we've been changed
By the power of
Crazy Love
This world, it looks at us
Like we're ridiculous
Baby, it's all because
Of Crazy Love

We're the ones gonna put it all in reverse
Gonna die to ourselves, Gonna live to serve
Cause when you get what you get when you walk by faith
Is it really so dumb to give it all away?
Give it all away

They say it sounds insane
We say that we've been changed
By the power of
Crazy Love
This world, it looks at us
Like we're ridiculous
Baby, it's all because
Of Crazy Love
Crazy Love

We know it sounds absurd
We don't get what we deserve
It's by grace we are saved

They say it sounds insane
We say that we've been changed
By the power of
Crazy Love
This world, it looks at us
Like we're ridiculous
Baby, it's all because
Of Crazy Love
Crazy Love

We're the ones who believe in the things unseen
This home, this party is an in between
We're the ones who fight down on our knees
Who dare to love our enemies

We're the ones gonna put it all in reverse
Gonna die to ourselves, Gonna live to serve
Give it all away

Crazy Love

Hawk Nelson (Bec Recordings; released February 8, 2011)

Friday, April 8, 2011

JUSTIFIED THROUGH FAITH


Romans 5:1-2 (NIV) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”

JUSTIFIED defined: 1. Absolved of guilt; 2. Declared free of blame. Spiritually speaking: Just as if you had never sinned.

ACCESS defined: 1. the act of approaching or entering; 2. The condition of allowing entry; 3. A way or means of approach or entry.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) “… without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. “

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it. Faith is the crux* of Christianity. Without faith it truly IS impossible to even KNOW God, let alone please Him. And what is faith? …

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Take a look at how GOD’S WORD Translation presents the last part of Hebrews 11:1 - “… (faith) convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.” I like that. Faith is a convincing factor in our belief system. So according to the scriptures because we are convinced of the existence of God by faith and because we have embraced and believed that Christ death on the cross was the blood sacrifice necessary to pay our sin debt, we have been declared free of all guilt. And as if that were not enough good news, by that same “confidence in what we do not see”, we are allowed entry into His grace or unmerited, undeserved favor. What incredible news! And do you know what else? It doesn’t require a whole boat load of faith to accomplish this.

Matthew 17:20b (NIV) “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Mustard seeds, as shown above, are typically about 1 or 2 mm in diameter. They may be colored yellowish white or black. They are important spices in many regional cuisines. Jesus is saying that if your faith is only as big as this 1 to 2 mm mustard seed you will be able to accomplish great things. Nothing is impossible. NO THING.

Because of our faith in God / Christ, even the tiniest smidgen** of faith will give us all the hope we need to live in this dark, ungodly world. Without hope, people perish. One must have hope. Something to look forward to. A wish. A desire. Our hope lies in the trust we have in the Creator of the Universe. Top that. No matter how you slice it we win.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* The basic, central or critical point or feature. ** A very small quantity or portion.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A PERSONAL GOSPEL


Galatians 2:20-21 (NIV) “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

The Gospel is a very personal message. It is for all, yet it is also for one. An example is the Gospel account of Jesus walking from Judea to Galilee and passing through Samaria. Jews made it their business to not associate with Samaritans for they did not consider them their equal for various religious and cultural reasons. Jesus sat down at Jacob’s Well in Sychar and there met a woman at the well. One lone woman in a country that Jews went out of their way to avoid passing through. Christ knew this woman before He had met her and knew her entire life story before she uttered a word. It was on that day that Christ revealed Himself to an adulteress woman, breaking the mold set by religious leaders of the day by not judging and categorizing a person based on their dress, social status, financial means or moral standards. Can we say we do the same? I know I don’t.

That is just one example in a Bible that is full of stories that break any preconceived ideas we may have about God, Jesus, evangelizing; etc. A Christian’s life is not normal by this world’s standards on any level. We have peace in the midst of conflict; joy in the midst of sorrow; comfort in the midst of pain and we strive to become more like the unseen Savior that we attempt to serve each day. This striving is based on faith and trust. This is based on the fact that we were and are loved by this unseen triune God, who not only loves us, but loves us without placing any conditions on that love. Read 1 Corinthians 13, the ‘Love’ chapter, to get a better feel for how God loves us and how WE are to love for that matter. Christ gave Himself a sacrifice for all and yet I believe that even if there were only one person in existence He would have gone to the cross just the same.

Christ’s substitutionary, atoning death made us righteous in the sight of God. It had nothing to do with anything we had done or could ever do. The Bible says our righteousness is like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). Without Christ we are separated from God. His death bridges the gap that was caused by the Fall of Adam and Eve. If adhering to the OT Mosaic Law could make one righteous, then Jesus died for nothing. I don’t believe that for a moment. If following the letter of the Law made one righteous then it would have been possible for a person to be perfect in God’s sight by his own actions and all the blood sacrifices made throughout the OT proves that that was not ever the case. God’s grace or unmerited favor is a gift. No matter what you have done, what you are doing or what you will ever do, the blood of Christ covers it all … if you receive the gift and live for God. That may seem like a condition, but not really. God loves you whether you love Him back or not. He just knows that you can fulfill all the potential that you were created with from birth if you follow the will, word and leading of your Creator. Do you HAVE to follow Him? Nope. You were created with a free will, however, Paul says that he can “do all things but all things do not benefit me”.

Are you lost? Do you not know which way to go? Is your life in chaos? Seek the wisdom and guidance of your Heavenly Father. This may apply to non-believers, but it may also apply to members of the family of God as well. Lose your pride. Give in to what you know to be true. Living for God is not a burden or hardship, though trials will surely come. Believe. Trust in and rely on God. He has never failed me and because He doesn’t love one person more than another or show any sort of favoritism, I know He will never fail you either.

So once again it is time to WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

THE BLESSED HOPE


1 John 3:2-3 (NIV) “… we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”

At my last job I had a boss who made a declarative statement to all of his workers in the course of a conversation he was having. He said “Well I know that I don’t believe ANYTHING unless I see it with my own eyes!” I don’t know the context of that assertion, but it stands alone as a statement that means a whole lot more than it appears on the surface. It is not a cursory utterance; one made in haste. It spoke of a deep seated belief and conviction. While the conversation that was going on was not spiritual in nature, it spoke volumes regarding his belief system. I happen to consider my boss’ statement a cop out of sorts, in that it is pretty easy to dispel the reality of anything or anyone with such a declaration. That one exclamation alone stands as the ultimate contradiction to faith, for faith is believing that something or someone exists, in spite of its’ unseen nature.

If you believe in the unseen God, then more than likely you believe that the Bible is the wholly inspired word of Almighty God to His Creation through various creative conduits. He used many willing, receptive individuals to present His Word either verbally or in written form. So if we believe in His Word, then chances are you believe what it says is true. This is all necessary to understand the verse at the top of the page. Actually, it is necessary to understand anything in scripture, but more to the point, through the Word of God we know that Christ was His Son. We know that Christ was sent to earth for a specific purpose. We know He willingly allowed Himself to be beaten and in the end, crucified. We also know that death was really not the end of Him, for 3 days later He arose from His grave as the OT prophesied and spoke to His closest followers, His disciples. Then He went away, right before their eyes.

This would be a sad ending to an incredible story if the following had not taken place: “… He (Jesus) was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:9-11 (NIV)

When Christ returns we will see Him as He truly is. What this looks like I do not know. Will He return as a spirit being? Will He return in human form? … doesn’t sound like it. How will we know it is Him? Don’t know anyone else who spoke of returning for His people in the clouds. I believe our spirits will jump within us at the sight of such an event. For we are spirit beings. When we were saved, as in gave our lives over to Christ, the spark that is within everyone was ignited. It burns as brightly as we allow it to burn, but for that to take place we must feed the flame within with the fuel of God’s Word, prayer, the gifts and fruit of the Spirit and so on. Then and only then will our flame glow magnificently so the world can see it.

Titus 2:13 refers to the 2nd Coming of Christ as the “blessed hope” of the church. To a world where millions of people do not believe in God as a Deity or even an entity that can be believed in, trusted or relied upon to be their savior, provider and sustainer, this comes as something too fantastic to believe. You have to be desperate to believe such things. As a matter of fact, in many cases, it IS the desperate, those who have reached the bottom … the end of their rope. The good part is that with God ‘hope’ is never in short supply. In a world of supply and demand, hope is high on the inventory priority list.

Brothers, sisters, be of good cheer. Christ is coming again. And when He does we will see Him as He truly is and we shall be like Him. Let us go about purifying ourselves from this world. Don’t become mired in the troubles this life affords. Look up. Focus on Christ. Live for God with every fiber of your being. Don’t know how? Ask Him. Ask God to teach you. He will. Ask God to guide you. He will. Ask God to bless you that you might bless others. He will. Don’t just live your life, live it to the fullest by allowing His Holy Spirit take you places you would never have dreamed possible. And the funny thing about that is that is might be right down the street, rather than around the world. God loves you. Bask in the glow of that truth.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

GOD'S LOVE FOR US


2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV) “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

COMPEL defined: to drive; a strong irresistible force.

CONVINCED defined: to firmly believe by the use of evidence; to realize the truth of something.

When Christ died on that cross on Golgotha’s hill, He was not dying for Himself alone, but for all of mankind. The disciples knew all about OT Law and the blood sacrifice that was due in payment for one’s sin. They also knew that Jesus was not just any man, but THE man … the Messiah; the chosen One; the One God had sent to cleanse them of every sin. At this point they did not grasp the significance in His death and had gotten caught up in all that had happened. They were confused as to why Jesus had to die at all, let alone a criminal’s death on a cross. They only saw what was right in front of them. They were not looking with spiritual eyes. When He died, they scattered. Christ rose 3 days later and presented Himself to His disciples as a means of further proving His Deity or God nature. If they had any doubts about who He was or what had happened, they were erased.

This was how God defined love to them. This is how God defined love to all of Creation. His love for His own Creation was so strong, so unconditional, so eternal that in spite of anything they had done against His laws, He still sent His one and only Son to be THE blood sacrifice to end all blood sacrifices. You see, when Christ willingly accepted this task, this put into motion God’s salvation plan for all mankind; a plan foretold in scripture. It was a plan God had from the start. It was His way of showing an unruly and disobedient generation just how much He loved them.

Jesus was causing quite a stir among His followers by showing up after they saw Him die. He told them He would rise from the dead and though they heard Him, they were not listening. Thomas even needed to place his hands in the nail marks on Jesus’ hands and feet before he would believe it was Him. For this he was dubbed “doubting” Thomas and to this day it is a term used for someone that must see something to believe it. But when he saw that it WAS Jesus the following brief dialogue ensued:

John 20:27-29 (NIV) “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Neither Thomas, nor the disciples were ever the same again. After Jesus ascended into heaven, they followed the Holy Spirit’s leading and changed the world. They even died for their faith.

How does this sound to us today? Are we convinced that Christ died for all? Are you even convinced He died for you? He did you know. Because of His love for us all, a love He offered before we even knew Him, our compulsion should be to not only love Him in return, but live for Him. Romans 5:8 (NIV) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Who would do such a thing? God alone. Reflect on these truths. Meditate on where you have come from and how God has revealed Himself in so many ways in your life. God loved you before the foundations of the earth. Mind boggling, I know, but it is true. It is by faith and trust that we can achieve this understanding. Living for yourself is an empty way of life. Live for God and know the true joy of peace in the most trying of times. It comes with a price … obedience, purity, selflessness … all traits you will acquire over time as you dedicate your life to His service.

John 8:31-32 (NIV) “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

WALK WITH THE KING IN FREEDOM & BE BLESSED!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

GOD'S REDEMPTIVE WORK


Ephesians 1:7-8 (NIV) “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.”

Hell or Hades defined: “The Greek word hades of the New Testament has the same scope of signification as sheol of the Old Testament. It is a prison (1 Pet. 3:19), with gates and bars and locks (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 1:18), and it is downward (Matt. 11:23; Luke 10:15). In Greek Mythology, Hades is the god of the netherworld. We are taught that hell is a place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction; a place of eternal torment and anguish; a state of separation from God; an exclusion from God’s presence.” (1)

With Ephesians 1:7-8 emblazoned upon the top of this entry, why define hell? Because we need to understand what we, as believers, were saved from. We also need to understand that this is where unregenerate souls go if they never receive the gift God has for everyone … His grace.

Grace defined: “the free and unmerited favour of God shown towards man; the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and sanctification; the condition of being favored or sanctified by God.” (2)

Lavish defined: “To give or bestow in abundance; shower.” (2)

We need, as believers in Christ, to understand what was done for us. We need to understand that we did nothing to deserve such a monumental and gracious gift. We need to understand that we were bound for an everlasting and infinite stint in hell, separated from God, with no hope of parole. If you don’t believe in such things, are you willing to bet your eternal soul on it?

This morning, driving into work, I was listening to the music group Sanctus Real. One line in a song was “I want to leave a legacy … for I have one life to live.” Are we living our lives for ourselves and for our families or our we living for God first. You see, God doesn’t want you to live for Him to the exclusion of your family … no. He wants you to be a better husband, father and provider for them through Him. It is only through the Holy Spirit of God that we can be all we CAN be. It’s the only way we can grow spiritually and be a proper Godly leader in our families. Remember, Christ Himself said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; without Me you can do nothing.” (3) The gospels also declare: Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who try to build something not according to His call. [paraphrase]

Don’t let God’s grace become a cheap thing to you, like a withered piece of fruit on the vine. Let Him be both Savior AND Lord of everything you have and everything you are.

Now go WALK WITH THE KING TODAY & BE A BLESSING!!

(1) Bible Dictionary; www.biblegateway.com
(2) www.thefreedictionary.com
(3) John 15:5 (NIV)