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

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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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

THE RETURN


1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV) “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

For the believer in Christ, the above scriptures represent what is referred to as “The Blessed Hope”. Christ returning will take place at an undisclosed time. Anyone who tries to tell you they know when Christ is returning for the church is mistaken. Scripture tells us that no one knows, not even the Son.

Mark 13:26 (NIV) “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”

Mark 13:32-34 (NIV) “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.”

This is wonderful news. It provides hope to those who struggle. It is the light at the end of the tunnel. It also should cause us to look inward.

Mark 13:35-36 (NIV) “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.”

Be aware that you will not be able to redeem the time that has been lost on frivolous endeavors. By all means, live your life to the fullest, but always be mindful that some day unknown to us Christ will return. Do not be caught napping. Keep your focus sharp and clear. Do not deliberate regarding that which is appropriate or not appropriate to be doing. You know how you are to act, what you are to say, how you are to think. Be like Christ so that when He returns you may recognize Him. Strive for perfection without any hope of achieving it in this life. Seek to bless others more so than to bless yourselves. And do not give for the sole purpose of receiving back from God, but give expecting nothing in return. It is this humble spirit that is emblematic of a Christ-like life. Treat others the way you wish to be treated, regardless of how they treat you in return. For you are judged not by the actions of others, but by your own actions alone. Bless and do not curse. Be God’s hand extended whenever possible. You will never regret acting this way, for it is Kingdom living at its best and is what will change the hearts of men to turn towards God.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, May 30, 2011

GOD'S WAY


Psalm 56:4 (NIV) “In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Job 1:8-12 (NIV) “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’ Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.”

There are some basic things that a believer needs to digest and understand. One is that God is the Creator of all things … ALL things. Meaning that there is nothing greater than Him … NOTHING. If you are able to fully understand this basic truth, then the second “thing” because easier to understand. As depicted in Job, there is nothing your enemy can do to you without God allowing it … NOTHING. When God tells us throughout scripture to “Fear not … “ , He is saying this to us with the above facts in mind. It is like He is saying to us: “I have created everything you see and everything you cannot see … there is nothing that has been created that I did not create. Nothing happens within creations that I do not cause or allow to take place, so you have absolutely nothing at all to fear for I am with you all the time in the person of my Holy Spirit and will keep you from harm.”

God knows what He is doing. He doesn’t need anyone’s help, especially ours, to accomplish His purposes. God has foreordained all that has taken place, all that IS taking place now and all that will take place in the future. To say it is not so would mean that God is not in ultimate control of His own Creation and that doesn’t make any sense and would be a lie.

Man wears himself out seeking ways to circumvent the plans of God in favor of his own. The scripture addresses this: Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25 (NIV) both say “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Many times the creation thinks itself more intelligent and pragmatic then the Creator Himself. This stems from the simple notion that man does not want to be rules over by anyone, but rather be free to do as they please. Free will meets Doctor Spock or something like that.

Understand this, God’s path is the only way to heaven. Belief in anything else is a pathway to destruction. Trust in God; fear no one but Him (fear as in revere with awe); seek His wisdom and guidance; follow wherever He leads, for to do anything else is accepting something less than the best.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

BREATHE INTO ME by Red


"Breathe Into Me"

And this is how it feels when I ignore the words you spoke to me
And this is where I lose myself when I keep running away from you
And this is who I am when, when I don't know myself anymore
And this is what I choose when it's all left up to me

Breathe your life into me
I can feel you
I'm falling, falling faster
Breathe your life into me
I still need you
I'm falling, falling
Breathe into me
Breathe into me

And this is how it looks when I am standing on the edge
And this is how I break apart when I finally hit the ground
And this is how it hurts when I pretend I don't feel any pain
And this is how I disappear when I throw myself away

Breathe your life into me
I can feel you
I'm falling, falling faster
Breathe your life into me
I still need you
I'm falling, falling
Breathe into me
Breathe into me
Breathe into me
Breathe into me

Breathe your life into me
I can feel you
I'm falling, falling faster
Breathe your life into me
I still need you
I'm falling, falling
Breathe into me

Breathe your life into me!
I'm falling, falling faster
Breathe your life into me!
falling, falling, falling
Breathe into me
Breathe into me
Breathe into me
Breathe into me

Friday, May 27, 2011

THE UNMERITED FAVOR OF GOD REVISITED


“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24(NIV)

SELFLESS defined: 1) having little concern for one's own interests; 2) showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others; 3) disregarding your own advantages and welfare over those of others.

There are two main points I would like to get across this morning; 1) being selfless is difficult, but necessary, and 2) God’s unmerited favor is worth talking about.

As humans we have a natural proclivity to being selfish. The old joke “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” represents our normal thought process. Being anything other than that is extremely difficult for most people. I believe that without God’s assistance it is impossible. So it is no small thing when Paul says “… I consider my life worth nothing to me … “. This life, temporal though it may be, is all we’ve been given. It’s all we have. We strive to make the best of it ... we overcome obstacles ... we meet daily challenges ... to consider our life worth nothing flies in the face of human nature with all the 'pride of life' issues we carry. We do not achieve selflessness in one fell swoop, it is an acquired attitude. In reading scripture and seeking the face of God we start to become a little more like Him. This can take place as slowly or as quickly as you allow it to. It is a progressive thing. Understand this, the closer to God you become, the more of a threat you are to the enemy.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; …” 1 Peter 1:13 (NKJV)

Be vigilant. Be strong. Do not succumb to the wiles of the evil one, for his aim is to derail you from the Godly path you are on. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide you in all that you do. Do not give a foothold to the devil. And do not be deceived for he can be upon you in the form of a temptation or worse and the next thing you know you are undone.

The unmerited favor of God or His grace towards us is a spectacular thing. To not understand its value and importance in our life is to, whether deliberately or unintentionally, cheapen it. I suppose you could say that just like the dock for a ferry boat is wide enough to give the ferry enough room for error when docking, God gives us a wide berth to negotiate the fashioning of our faith. Our growth in Christ is a progressive series of actions, decisions, thoughts and words. Everything we think, say and do means something … and there are always consequences to our words and deeds which generally speaking correspond directly to what those words and deeds are.

To understand the grace of God we could perhaps look at my dog. My dog Mikey loves me no matter what. He always comes running to greet me when I arrive home after work. He shows his affection for me by licking me. He follows me wherever I go and looks to me to provide for him. In a way my dog is an example of both God’s grace AND us in relation to God. With regards to grace, I don’t always deserve my dog’s gracious favor, but he liberally bestows it upon me regardless of my disposition. It is in his nature. So it is in our Heavenly Father’s nature to be loving, kind and full of grace and mercy regardless of our attitude or disposition. With regards to our relationship to God, we rely on Him to provide for us and we need to follow Him wherever He leads us, for He will never lead us to a place He cannot sustain us.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

(Disclaimer: It is my sincere hope that I have not offended anyone with my comparison of God’s grace to my dog. I certainly did not mean this to be disrespectful toward God in any way, but simply used it as an example of how our pets lavishly shower us with favor whether we feel we deserve it or not. If you have been offended in any way by my analogy, please forgive me. Rk)

(All definitions are courtesy of www.thefreedictionary.com & all scripture has been taken from www.biblegateway.com)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

GOD SEEKS TO SAVE


John 3:17 (NIV) “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

In the movie RUSH HOUR (1998) with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, there is a funny scene when they first meet where Tucker is speaking to Chan on the tarmac just after Chan has debarked his plane from Hong Kong. At one point Tucker says in a slow, semi-staccato voice “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” not realizing that Chan speaks fluent English. It is one of many funny moments in what I consider to be a thoroughly enjoyable movie. This illustration begs the following question: How many times do we read verses of scripture not understanding what God is saying to us? It’s as if God Himself is saying those very same words Chris Tucker spoke to Jackie Chan, only God’s words have eternal implications.

Focus clearly on the words in John 3:17 which I have italicized. God loved us before we ever even knew Him. He sent Jesus into this world; Jesus willingly went, but God, as part of His salvation plan, sent Him.

1 John 4:10 (NIV) “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

In spite of all the judgment passed down by the organized church world wide, God did not send His son to condemn the world; to pass judgment on it. God knew what man’s malady was. He knew his soul’s condition. He knew what was necessary to correct the situation that existed and still exists to this very day. Based on the payment system He Himself set up to pay for ones’ sins (for a sin must be atoned for), blood had to be shed to cover the sin made. The NT difference is that Christ’s blood did what no goat or lamb’s blood could ever do; it obliterated or erased a sin rather than covering it up, which is all the OT sacrificial system did for an individual. And the wiping clean, as it were, was done once for all time. He came to SAVE the world, not CONDEMN it. By its’ own actions, the world had and has condemned itself. It needs a remedy for it’s’ sickness. It needs a savior.

Christ is that savior … once for all for all time. Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

IT IS NOT ABOUT THE BLING!


Deuteronomy 23:23 “Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.”

VOW defined: 1. An earnest promise to perform a specified act or behave in a certain manner, especially a solemn promise to live and act in accordance with the rules of a religious order; 2. A declaration or assertion; 3. To promise solemnly; pledge.

In this day and age we say a lot of things … often glibly, without thinking of the serious implications that come with the words said. When we do so, we cheapen the words immensely. Their meaning becomes cloudy and ineffectual. The off handed manner with which they are offered tends to belie what may be their true intention. Delivery is important, tone critical, others feelings in need of consideration. Words spoken have been replaced with words typed in emails or text messages. Intimacy replaced with online chats. No face to face contact. No intonation heard. Our society is in need of a serious overhaul, in my humble opinion.

Let’s get a little specific for the moment. What of wedding vows? In a day and age when commitment is fleeting at its’ best and non-existent at its’ worst, we must stare down the barrel of temptation constantly. What of the iconic “love defined” chapter; 1 Corinthians 13? Are these words meaningless? Do they mean nothing to us when we say them? Is our “I do” covered with innuendos. In the back of our minds are we calculating deal breakers to the vows that we have made? Look at this sample of traditional wedding vows.

“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my [opt: lawfully wedded] (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”

When we make our vows to God and man/woman, they have to MEAN something to us. They have to, or they are a sham, not worthy of even being said. And make no mistake about it, when you make a vow, you make it to God as well.
I have written this for myself more than for anyone else in this world for I have made my vows something less then what God intended. But the ship has been righted and our vows intact.

I want to express my undying love and devotion to my God and to my lovely jewel of a wife Karen. Without her support and mercy, I would be undone completely and totally. Lord, thank You for using me in this small way. May I always allow myself to be used by You for it is truly an honor and privilege to minister hope and grace to all who would hear.

WALKING IN HUMILITY IN THE ATTEMPT TO BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ALL IS NOT AS IT APPEARS


Romans 12:2 (NIV) “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The world is a funny place … not funny “haha”, but funny “peculiar”. It is the enemy’s domain. It is where he rules and reigns. Things look so alluring, so enticing here. We grasp at things that appear to be so lovely only to find out that they are either a mirage, simply not what they appear to be or perhaps not there at all.

My wife and I watch Swamp People every week on the History Channel (Thursdays at 8 pm cst). We have learned a lot of interesting pieces of information about alligators and the Bayou in southern Louisiana. One thing we learned was that an alligator has one spot behind his skull, “the kill spot”, which is soft. It is the only place a gator hunter can put a bullet to kill the gator. The enemy knows where our “kill spot” is. While we aren’t literally killed, a part of us does die when we allow the devil an open shot at our “soft spot”. We open ourselves up to all sorts of pain and misfortune. God allows this because we have asked for it. No, we have not asked for pain and havoc in our lives per se, but we HAVE by grasping at something that is not ours for the taking.

Those of us who tend to be self-destructive in nature seem to be drawn to situations where pain is inflicted on us. We resolutely accept that we deserve our pain and move on … sullen and downcast, we become nearly useless for the kingdom. We must not allow the enemy a foothold.

Renew your mind through the reading of scripture, proper associations, prayer, involvement in Godly endeavors. You see, if you fill your mind AND your time with such things, you will not give yourself time to entertain such dalliances.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

"E & E's"


Romans 15:5-6 (NIV) “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

When I was in high school I tried out for the Cross Country team. It was my first crack at running distance and I wasn’t very good, the truth be told. As a matter of fact, I was the slowest runner on the JV team, but I was on the team. In high school, the course is 2.5 miles long. It is twice that distance in college, but it was apparent from the beginning that I would not need to be concerned with that. During the course of the race, your coach, a smattering of fans perhaps and at times the varsity runners, would shout out encouragement to you. They would shout out things like: “good pace, keep it up” or “you can catch that guy in front of you, he’s tiring” or “there is no one behind you, you look strong”. It meant a lot to hear that from people. It was normal, especially for someone with my apparent lack of talent, to get discouraged in the middle of a race. Face it, when pretty much everyone passes you and you know you are dead last with most of the race to go, you realize that at that point you are just in it for the exercise.

Having said all that, I will say that it did have a positive effect on my physical endurance and by the end of my 2nd year of running I HAD accomplished a self-appointed goal I had set for myself and announced to the coach at the beginning of my final year. Because I achieved what I had set out to do that year, my coach awarded me a Varsity Letter. It was one of the proudest days in my life.

Scripture likens the life of a Christian to running a race. During this race you also need endurance. It is through the Holy Spirit that we achieve this endurance. Our encouragement comes from various sources; God uses preachers, brothers and sisters in Christ, strangers, lyrics from songs, magazine articles and hopefully devos like this one. Everyone, no matter who they are, needs encouragement. Some more than others, but we all need to be lifted up. I like to call it our “E & E’s”; encouragement & edification.

There is also a process that must be applied. I refer to it as our “A & A’s”; absorption & administration. Big words that have a simply meaning. Not only do we need to “absorb the E & E’s that are sent our way, but we need to, in turn, administer them to others around us. This is so that we will be of one mind toward Christ and glorify Him with one voice. For without Him, we are absolute nothing. I am a firm believer that without the good that God has placed in my heart, I would have no good in me. So THAT is where I am coming from when I say we are “nothing” without Him.

John 15:5 (NIV) “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.”

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

GUARD YOUR TONGUE


James 3:3-6 (NIV) “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

This is keenly relevant in my life at this particular time and in the lives of millions of others people throughout the world today. Just as one word from God can change one’s situation forever in a good way, one word from the mouth of a man hoping to circumvent God’s order of things can bring havoc, pain and in the end destruction. Fortunately, we serve a God Who understands us better than we understand ourselves. He is infinitely patient and kind, yet not hesitant to chide or punish when and where necessary to pull you back into His will for your life.

The tongue is an interesting tool that is at our disposal 24/7 to say whatever our minds trigger us to say. What comes out depends almost entirely on what you feed in. That ever popular computer jargon “garbage in, garbage out” applies here. It only stands to reason that if you feed in things that are positive, loving, edifying, encouraging and Godly in that is what is going to come out. How could it not? But feed in anger, hate, discord, profanity, pornography and anything else THIS world has to offer, well, I think you can imagine what results you will get.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We must allow our minds to be directed by the Holy Spirit. We must feed ourselves things that are pleasing to God. Only then can we expect the full measure of God’s mercy and grace to be realized in our lives.

I would like to thank God for His infinite patience towards me. Like many, I feel unworthy of it, yet am glad that God doesn’t act on our behalf based on what we deserve. Unmerited favor is what grace is all about. May I never treat it as a cheap thing ever again this side of heaven.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GOD IS JUST


Hebrews 6:10 (NIV) “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him … . “

JUST defined: 1. Honorable and fair in one's dealings and actions; 2. Consistent with what is morally right; righteous.*

Have you ever said to yourself “Life’s not fair?” I know I have. Sometimes it seems as though those in the wrong “get away with murder” and those in the right get ground under someone’s heel. Sometimes it just seems that way, sometimes it literally IS that way. Having said that, it begs the question: Who said life was fair? It sounds trite and trivial but it is true. Life isn’t fair and no one, especially not God, ever said it would be. To quote the words of Lynn Anderson’s famous, oft-played hit single … “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden”. It goes on to say … “Along with the sun, there’ll be a little rain sometimes.”

Mattthew 7:24-27 talks about the Wise and Foolish Builder. It is a parable or “simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson”.* The point that many people miss in this story is that the rain fell on the just and the unjust. The greater point is that one man’s foundation was incorruptible and indestructible, while the others was easily eroded away by life’s circumstances. The trials and tribulations of life often hit us right squarely between the eyes leaving us reeling. We must take comfort in the fact that God is a fair and just God who sees all and knows all and will judge us based on what is morally right and true and by no other standard.

It should also be pointed out that God is not forgetful. We, however, are another story. If I didn’t have Outlook calendar reminders, task lists and Post It notes I would be lost. But God needs no such tools to remember all the things He has planned. We should take comfort in that fact. Were we dealing with a human entity, our concern level would shoot through the roof, because we know that they are susceptible to temptations like power, money, impropriety … . But the Creator of the Universe and man’s first breath is susceptible to none of these things, for He is flawless in every way.

So go through your day today knowing that nothing that happens to you has escaped God’s ever watching eye and rest in that comforting fact. He is always fair and just and will not forget you.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

*All definitions are courtesy of www.thefreedictionary.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

THE DEPTHS OF GOD


Romans 11:33 (NIV) “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”

If you lack wisdom or knowledge, dip into the deep resource that IS God. You may not receive an immediate answer, but the answer you need is an answer worth waiting for. The conventional wisdom of this world cannot compare to the wisdom that is God. He is the embodiment of wisdom and knowledge. His essence is truth. He IS so everything about Him is eternal and everlasting. Nothing else on this earth can be spoken of in such a manner. All of creation is finite … the Creator is not. While it is impossible to comprehend, He was and is and always will be. How does a finite mind grasp that concept? It doesn’t. It is not possible. Oh some pontificate endlessly about their theories and write dissertations that fill library shelves regarding the topic of God as they attempt to make sense of God and define Him in terms THEY themselves can understand. However, all they are doing is inflating their own egos as they attempt to make a name for themselves. Sad little men. The knowledge and wisdom of God far surpasses anything that can be understood by mortal man. The abyss in which God’s wisdom and knowledge exists flows on endlessly. Notice I did not say ‘the abyss which contains the wisdom and knowledge of God’ because I believe it to be uncontainable. I believe, just like God Himself, His wisdom and knowledge is living, breathing and never ending. I do not pretend to understand a whole lot in this life, but one thing that I believe I DO understand is that God cannot be contained. He cannot be limited. There are no boundaries when it comes to what God is capable of doing. I believe it to be literally true that no matter what situation you find yourself in at this very moment in time, one word from Almighty God and EVERYTHING CAN CHANGE. In an instant. In a nano-second. Faster than a blink of the eye. As quickly as Christ will appear in the sky when He returns for His church. In the twinkling of an eye, as scripture puts it. There isn’t anything this side of heaven that makes any sense at all when it comes to God and all the riches He has at His disposal. So rest in God … rest in the knowledge of knowing that you cannot figure it out. “Let go and let God” as the old saying goes. As terrifying as being in a free fall may seem to you, imagine that you are doing just that. You are in a free fall through time and space and yet are seen by a God Who will not allow anything to harm you … those things that take place are pre-ordained or mapped out by the Creator of the Universe. You are safe in His arms, even while you are falling. Instead of stressing about the landing, allow yourself to reside in the peace of God and enjoy the ride. God will never fail you. He will never abandon you. He will never let you down. What you must endure God is aware of and has either prepared you for or will sustain you through. Seek His face. Reach out for His wisdom and knowledge and then strap yourself in for the ride of your life.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

GOD IS FLAWLESS


Proverbs 30:5 (NIV) “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

FLAWLESS defined: Being entirely without flaw or imperfection; perfect, impeccable, faultless, spotless, and unblemished.

Whatever you read in scripture is perfect and without mistake. The foot notes, commentary comments or interpretive inclusions are not, for they are written by man. Even the words I write here are open to interpretation and may actually be inaccurate, for I am human and while I strive to put forth words that I believe are from God to encourage and uplift, I could possibly be wrong in my assessment of scripture. Perhaps a heck of a thing to admit, but it happens to be true. This I know because I am not perfect; I am not God. I am not even “a” god, as Scientology would like you to believe. No, there is one God and His name is YHWH or Yahweh or Jehovah. He stands alone. No one can rival Him.

It is interesting to me that our society has such an infatuation with Super Heroes. We always have. I happen to be a big fan. I have a fairly large comic book collection and have just about every one of the Super Hero movies that have come out in the last 10 yrs or so. I view them as good entertainment and nothing more. I believe that people need a hero modeled for them. In some cases, perhaps more than I even realize, they have used Iron Man, Batman or Thor to subconsciously replace God on some level. Although I love the genre, there is nothing that can replace God and anything that tries pales in comparison. You see it is God Who is flawless, not any mere mortal. It is God in Whom we can take refuge and not any of the heroes who have graced the cinematic screen. Enjoy the movies for what they are, but never lose sight of the fact that God is your true super hero. Who else can raise the dead, heal the sick and forgive anything sin you have ever committed. No one but God Himself. That is exciting news my friends.

What the Super Heroes do for us is put a face and body to an entity that is good and righteous and wholesome and is capable of defeating evil. All this and special CGI effects to boot. But alas, it is fiction, as in not real. Even the actors and actresses who play the Super Heroes are in need of what God offers to all. And even if the characters they played WERE real and COULD do all the things they can do in movies, they would STILL need the forgiveness God offers, because they cannot save themselves. No one ever could. So go forth today knowing that the Word of God is true and that HE is the shield that protects you from all that the enemy dispenses against you. Amen?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

DO UNTO OTHERS


Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Luke 6:31 (NASB) “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”

As long as I can remember I have tried to live Luke 6:31 in my own life. I am here to tell you that most of the time it ended up with me treating folks with kindness only to get crapped on or taken advantage of. Does that mean I should stop treating people with kindness? No. Does it get frustrating? Yup. Do I want to continue setting myself up in that manner, not likely. But I do or at least I try my best to. I just say “it’s the way I’m wired”.

Actually, the truth of the matter is that we are wired to be anything BUT kind to other people. Our sin nature, aka, our old man, which is what we are born with, desires to be selfish … to do that which benefits us and us alone, even to the exclusion of those we love the most. When we came to Christ, He did a “re-wiring” job on us. As long as the current running through us is heaven sent, our desire will be to please God and not ourselves.

Make no mistake about it; the enemy will do his best to throw a monkey wrench into any and all of your best efforts. This is when relying on God and His word for guidance comes into play. The closer you come to God, the heavier the attacks will be from your enemy. Focus on the source of your staying power and re-focus if necessary.

As a basic rule, you should never give anything expecting something in return. That is not the true spirit of giving. We are to give without conditions or expectations. It goes for material things, such as gifts and it goes for giving others kindness and compassion. Reflecting on what Christ forgave you for is always a great place to start. He willingly gave everything, requiring nothing in return. This is to be our example. No one said it was going to be easy. It’s called selfless living and that is incredibly difficult to pull off. Impossible without divine assistance. The one thing I CAN promise you though, is that if you follow these two scriptures in the way you live, most of the time, you will be the one getting blessed regardless of whether the recipient gets blessed or not.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

BLOOD


Matthew 26:28 (NIV) “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Blood is an amazing thing, is it not? It is our blood that powers our bodies, as it flows through our veins and arteries into the furthest reaches of our extremities to provide feeling and life. God made it so that blood was required to cover one’s sins in the OT. In the NT, the blood of Christ no longer covered one’s sins, but rather obliterated them, as if they were never committed. Blood.

We take it for granted I think, until we have problems with it. Certain diseases are blood related; blood carries those diseases to others if not quarantined. It CAN be a destructive force if not respected and taken care of. We do things to our bodies, put things IN our bodies that can affect our blood and shorten our life. Do we have the right to do that to ourselves? Of course we do. It’s like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV) “’I have the right to do anything,’” you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything—but not everything is constructive.’”

Forgiveness is a marvelous institution. To forgive is to practice unconditional love. It is like saying to someone, “regardless of what you ever have done, are doing or will do, I will love you … without conditions.” It is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, forgiveness can be trampled on. God’s forgiveness is, but non-believers and even by believers. It comes by taking it for granted. It comes by doing something you know is wrong with the logic that God will forgive you if you ask Him. This creates cheap grace. Yet grace is not cheap, nor was it free. It came with a price and a steep price at that. Just as soldiers willingly shed their own blood to provide freedom, Christ willingly shed His own blood to provide forgiveness. Don’t let it become a cheap thing. Innocent blood was spilled on Calvary’s cross for you and me. Let us never forget that.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

LISTEN, DON'T TALK


Romans 8:26-27 (NIV) “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

There are no doubt times when we are confused. We simply don’t know how to pray or what to pray. We aren’t sure what the will of God is in our lives and stand stock still at the cross roads not knowing which path to take. As believers we have an advocate. It is God’s Holy Spirit, the third part of the Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Since they are both separate entities and yet one, the Spirit would certainly know the mind of God. Knowing the mind of God, He would also know God’s will for you.

In baseball there has been a major influx of foreign players who have come into the Major Leagues. For the Japanese players, there is usually an interpreter who helps the players’ transition into a predominantly English speaking sport. In like manner, God’s Holy Spirit translates not our words, but the desires of our hearts into communication with God. And God in turn using the Spirit to whisper His will and instructions to us. God doesn’t club us over the head to get our attention. He speaks to us rationally, calmly, yet profoundly, that we may understand and act upon what He has said.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t shout instructions to us. He speaks to us in the wind, so to speak. It is important for us to clear all the clutter out of our minds if we are to hear Him.

Distractions abound as we strive to please our Heavenly Father. The constant glitter of this or wooing of that causes our head to act as if on a swivel. Staying focused on God is challenging to say the least. With the help of His Spirit, we can overcome any obstacle … seek His direction continually and your road will tend to become much smoother. Accepting the fact that we are clueless helps, though at times, spiritual pride and arrogance get in the way. Relaying on God can never be a bad thing, for it never produces negative consequences. The truth cannot be said for following a path of your own choosing. Your mission for the day: Listen for the Holy Spirit & follow God where He is leading.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

RIGHTEOUS PRAYER


James 5:16 (NIV) “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Ever wonder if your prayers accomplish anything? Many years ago I used to wonder why I bothered praying at all. God knew the beginning from the end. He knew what was going to go down before it happened, so why pray for anything at all. Just let it happen as God had it planned. Obviously, I had some spiritual growing to do.

Let’s see … we know that no one is righteous, not even one person. We know that Christ was the only perfect individual who ever existed. We also know that it was through His death, burial and resurrection that the righteousness of God was made available to those who would embrace the cross and receive forgiveness for their sins. So, while we are NOT, in and of ourselves, righteous, we ARE righteous in the sight of God by virtue of Christ’s sacrificial blood. It’s as if God sees us through Jesus glasses. We have been justified (seen by God ‘just as if I never sinned’) and made righteous. Therefore, when James 5:16 refers to the prayer of a righteous person, it is speaking of you. Your righteousness has nothing to do with anything you have done except receive the gift of God’s forgiveness.

When we pray, we should expect not only that we will be heard, but that our prayer will accomplish what it was intended to do. It stands to reason that God knows all things, so what we pray isn’t surprising to Him. We don’t pray for God’s edification. We actually pray for our benefit. We pray and that prayer gives hope to the hearer and the prayer at the same time. And once it is answered, our faith is bolstered and grows. Our confidence in God becomes increased. Yet it is nothing that we have done other than to be obedient to the directives of God. Speak His word back to Him as a prayer … pray from your heart … let your desires, hopes and dreams be known. God knows you intimately … through prayer, we become more intimately aware of ourselves down deep in our core. It’s all a matter of shedding our humanity and diving head long into abyss of spirituality. Swim there for a while and you will become acutely aware of all that you are as a person and what alterations need to be made to be more like Christ.

So there you have it. Confess and pray. Hold nothing back. Allow God to be God in your life and in the world that touches you. He wants you to be more like Him each day and prayer is one vehicle He uses to mature and grow your faith and trust.

Shalom.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING


Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I have a question: has being worried or anxious ever solved any problem you were having? I can answer that one myself from personal experience … NO. And not just NO, but a resounding NO!! Oh we humans have this propensity to become anxious over things we can do nothing about. The enemy jumps in our face and says to your subconscious “Now you’ve got problems. You really think God will get you out of this mess?” Understand this: Satan is a liar and is the father of all lies. He challenges our belief system by throwing darts at areas that appear the weakest. Our faith wanes far too quickly and we spend too much of our time fretting over things as if God’s word was a lie.

God’s word is as clear as a newly cleaned window pane. The word in ‘but’ in verse 6 should read like this … “Instead of being anxious about anything, rather, pray to the Father about everything … and be thankful in the process.” For a people who constantly feel that we need to be doing something to create a change in our situation, here is our solution … PRAY. Pray from a clean heart. Pray from a clear conscience. Pray regardless of your mindset at the time. Pray. Pray specifically. Give thanks for the opportunity to learn something new and become stronger in your faith. Don’t pray for the situation to disappear, because everything, which is ultimately orchestrated by God whether performed or allowed, happens for a specific purpose in God’s economy. And notice that in verses 6 & 7, God doesn’t say He will alleviate the problem or alter the situation. What does He say? That His peace will cover you with the purpose of guarding your hearts and minds. Doesn’t sound like He is removing anything at all, but rather cloaking you with what you need to withstand your current circumstances.

Praying to God with thanksgiving in your heart needs to become as commonplace an action in the face of unpleasant circumstances as breathing in and out. One action sustains life the other sustains your spirit life. Don’t forget all you know and believe about God just because things have taken a turn for the worse. Always remember this: regardless of the circumstances, God is mindful of them and one word from Him can change everything in an instant. Focus on Christ instead of the winds and waves that surround you. It is how we grow in the spirit.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

GOD HEARS US


2 Chronicles 7:12 (NIV) “I have heard your prayer … .”

Have you ever wondered what God looks like? Does He look like us? Does He have physical features that we would recognize? Or is He strictly a spirit being with no appearance that we have ever seen this side of heaven? Does it matter one way or the other? No. But because of our finite wisdom and knowledge, we tend to wonder about such things. I find it rather normal. We humans tend to want to see, know and understand who or what we are dealing with in any given situation … is that not true? It is for me at least.

How many people see God as a Heavenly version of the father that has been displayed before them on this earth. In a vast majority of cases, that would be a good thing, but in millions of other cases that would be a very bad thing. God is unlike any other. Nothing on this earth could ever compare to Him. No matter how hard we try to emulate God and think, say and do what He would think, say and do, we fall miserably short of our goal because we are terminally imperfect. God is the only perfect entity, which is why He is the prototype, so to speak. The example that should be followed.

Having said all that, what does it mean to us when we read the words “I have heard your prayer …”? If God is ethereal and therefore not of this earth, then how does He hear us? What does He use to hear us? Maybe He does have ears? I am going to make a radical right turn here … why do we care? So many of us, and I can tend to be one of them, over think certain things. Rather than focusing on the fact that He hears us, I want to know how He hears us. I am telling you now, the confirmation in scripture that your Heavenly Father actually hears you when you pray to Him is infinitely more important than how He hears you.

How many of you understand that there is a significant difference between listening and hearing. We can listen to someone all day long and not truly hear anything they have said. It is like the reverse of giving someone “lip service”. Instead of telling people what we believe they want to hear, we pretend to listen to every word that is being said without hearing ANYTHING they have said. What a comfort to find that our Heavenly Father can be trusted to HEAR our prayers and not just listen to them.

In the movie, BRUCE ALMIGHTY, God, played by Morgan Freeman, takes a vacation, giving all His powers to Bruce (Jim Carrey). In one scene, Bruce is on his computer and he starts receiving hundreds, even thousands of prayer requests almost instantaneously. He can’t answer them all individually, because he has determined that it would be too time consuming, so he decides to just give an affirmative answer to all the prayer requests. This of course does not work out so well. Isn’t it a good thing that God not only hears us as an individual, but takes the time to say either ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ from time to time when He knows to rubber stamp our request will lead to negative consequences. We truly do not know what is good for us and normally want the easy way into or out of a given situation. However, it is in the waiting that some of our most important lessons are learned … as long as WE have decided to hear and not just listen.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

CONFIDENCE IN GOD


1 John 5:14-15 (NIV) “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

I remember when I was a child, I had asked for a tape recorder for Christmas. For some reason, I took it upon myself to go on a hunting expedition in my parent’s closet one Saturday, when my folks were out shopping for groceries. Well, I found a small reel to reel tape recorder in a box buried deep in the bowels of their closet, behind my mom’s long dresses.

That particular year I was extremely confident that what I had asked for I would be receiving. This is the same confidence we can have regarding those things we ask for from God. There is one stipulation though; we must ask according to His will.

Sometimes it seems as if the will of God is one of the most difficult things to discern in the whole, wide world, but it really isn’t. Start off by doing what you know is right and righteous in the sight of God. Do whatever you do to glorify Him. Be like Solomon, in that you ask for that which will benefit others and not lift yourself up. Remember, according to scripture, “we must decrease and He must increase”. If you seek wisdom, guidance, assistance out of a dilemma, a healing … all noble requests and all things that would bring glory to God. God’s will is not unattainable.

Next question … do we know and believe that God hears us. If we ask him to bless the Chicago Bulls that they might win the NBA Championship this year, I don’t believe that prayer would be answered. Oh they may win it, but I happen to know that God is a Dallas Mavericks fan. All kidding aside, whether a certain team wins a championship doesn’t happen to fall under the category of the will of God as far as I am aware. Now asking that all the players remain healthy and that they play to the best of their ability is a prayer than I believe God would honor, especially when players stop to give glory to God for the abilities He has given them.

If you are uncertain as to whether something is within the parameters of the will of God or not, in my opinion, the best way to ask or pray is for His will to be done in a given situation. Such as, “Lord, give me wisdom and sound judgment in accordance with Your will that I might be able to help those in need of guidance and I will give You all the glory.” I believe God will not only hear, but will honor and answer a request like that.

May the will of God never escape your grasp and never be far from you is my prayer for you this day.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!!