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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Thursday, June 30, 2011

GOD'S PATIENCE


Numbers 14:18 (NIV) “The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.”

Ever make a mistake? I have. An error in judgment? Yes sir. Gone off on a rabbit trail which ran perpendicular to the narrow road you have been following? More times than I care to recall. God is slow to anger. That means He is patient with us. His abundance of love for us allows that.

PATIENCE defined: 1) tolerance, understanding; 2. capable of calmly waiting; 3) not hasty or impulsive.

God knows our inclinations. We have a predisposition to doing that which is unwise and at times, impulsive. Our old man struggles against the new path we are walking. God knows this. He created us. Just as a parent knows the tendencies of their child, God knows ours. In spite of our misdirection and rebellion, even in the face of our misdeeds, God forgives – if we seek forgiveness. A blanket pardon for all rapidly becomes cheap grace when those the forgiveness is meant for takes it all for granted or dismisses it as unnecessary. The pardon, the result of God’s love for His creation, is best realized by those who embrace forgiveness and understand the implications of shunning it. Those that serve God typically understand those implications and run towards the loving forgiveness freely provided.

God’s patience comes into play when we who should know better continue to stumble over the same rise in the sidewalk, so to speak. When we do NOT learn our lessons and as a result grow in spiritual maturity, we are destined to repeat those same lessons endlessly until they are absorbed. But God’s patience is infinite for those who seek truth. I believe there is an end to His patience at some point, known only to Him, when He knows that a person is deaf to His call and resolute in their actions regardless of the consequences. Even then, if that person humbly returns seeking once again the patient guidance, love, forgiveness and leadership of God, it is found by him.

God never gives up on us. He never pulls away from us entirely. He pulls back and allows us to go the way we think is best in spite of God’s warnings through His Holy Spirit. Most times we have no idea what we are doing. God knows this about us and loves us all the same. So take heart my friends. Know that God loves you and shall be patient with you until the end and seeks to guide you into all wisdom. While there are always consequences for bad decisions made, God is there waiting at the other end of it to counsel and redirect.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

JUDGE NOT


John 8:7 (NIV) “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

It is so easy to see another person’s faults and not see our own. For some reason, we feel that we are just fine, but the world around us is very sick. Oh we publicly admit that we know we aren’t perfect and that we have problems just like everyone else, but inside, we know we are not telling the whole truth. We judge others. We judge them by their appearance quite a bit. I do. We judge them by their words and/or actions. I do. If we are honest with ourselves, we judge those around us without giving it a second thought. It’s as if it is our right, almost our obligation, to judge others just because we can.

If no one judged others by their appearance there would be no “people of Wal-Mart” emails in constant circulation. Granted, there are some odd looking folks depicted in those pictures, however, we need to fight the urge to laugh and poke fun and rather understand that God loves those people the same way He loves us. We need to think of the fact that His forgiveness is available to those folks too, in spite of their appearance. You see, God doesn’t look at any of us and see anything other than our hearts. His judgment comes based on the condition of our heart. Trust me when I tell you that it has NOTHING to do with the clothes we wear, the cars we drive or the churches we go to. Our clothes and modes of transportation age and fade and rot away over time. Our churches are nothing more than buildings that house God’s TRUE church, His people. When services end, the building doesn’t uproot itself and mingle among the community or co-exist with those you work with. WE do that. WE are the church. What type of Christ are we portraying to the masses?

If you saw a person we would classify as “odd” looking or acting, would be greet them or avoid them. The socialization process that we go through, which clashes with Christian values oft times, tells us to avoid and not engage. We must learn to fight that urge and engage. It isn’t easy. It means leaving our “comfort zone”. I don’t like doing that. I am cozy in my “zone”. Just leave me alone and I will leave you alone. If we knew that individual was Jesus in earthly disguise, would we feel differently about him or her. Isn’t it Jesus? Isn’t it? Perhaps if we started looking at others that way, we would treat them or at least thinking of them differently. Who do we think we are to judge others for any reason, when God doesn’t judge us for our many faults and failings?

This is not meant to condemn anyone. I am pointing the finger at myself. I am guilty of this time and again. Perhaps you are the type of person who has the ability to look past the outer shell of a person and see their heart. If you are, then please prayer for those who do NOT seem to have that ability. And while you are at it, pray for me. May we all strive each day to be more like our Lord and Savior.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

THE EVERPRESENT GOD


Judges 6:14 (NIV) “The LORD turned to (Gideon) and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

Have you ever felt that you couldn’t go on? Has this “battle” called life … the “daily grind” worn you out? Gideon was faced with an entirely different type of situation when he was called to lead a band of men to rout the Midianites. His was a true battle. Ours is a battle against the forces of evil in our midst. Gideon lacked the confidence to do as God had asked him. We lack the confidence, many times, to do that which God requires of us as well. In a time when super hero movies abound and those with special powers riddle the cinematic screen, we oft times wish for their strength to combat life’s many trials. You have no idea how many times I have wished in my life that I could incinerate an antagonist or simply make them disappear. In the face of all this God looks us square in the eye and says “My child, go in the strength you have … am I not sending you?”

If we stop and consider Who it is that is making this statement and realize that He is the only one Who can change any situation with one word spoken from His Heavenly Throne, perhaps our strength would be restored. For that which God commissions us to do He is more than capable and willing to enable us to do. Omnipotent is not simply a title that God Almighty wears without a reason. The reason is simply that He IS All Powerful … there IS NOTHING He cannot do. If He sends us “into battle” it is not a mere mortal who is sending us … it is the Creator of the Universe.

You realize, of course, that this all comes down to an issue of faith and trust. If you have been reading these entries for a while you have seen a common thread woven throughout … faith and trust. The faith to believe in an unseen God and the trust to rely on Him to provide for and sustain us through any situation. And if He so desires and it is within His perfect will for you, He can and will change your situation for His own purposes and your ultimate benefit. God knows what He is doing. Most of the time we do not, even when we follow His directives. That is what faith and trust is all about … following the path God has laid before us, not knowing where it will lead, but trusting that if God, by His Holy Spirit, is our guide we will be safe. He never sends us out alone, but rather is with us as we go.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

BE IGNORANT NO LONGER


Job 8:9 (NIV) “… for we were born only yesterday and know nothing and our days on earth are but a shadow.”

IGNORANT defined: 1. Lacking education or knowledge; 2. Unaware or uninformed.

Have you ever thought about how quickly your life has flown by? I have lived on this earth a little over 56 years and I can’t believe how quickly it has gone. As we live our lives we encounter many things that give us pause, many things that cause us sorrow and many things that bring us joy. We are in control of our own emotions. Each one of us is a distinct individual with gifts and characteristics placed there by our Heavenly Father at birth. However, one thing we must realize is that we are ignorant.

When it comes to the ways of God we are ignorant. We are as a grain of sand on the immense beach of life. In the general scheme of things we are incredibly insignificant, yet we have been made significant by God through His Son and what was done on Calvary’s cross. Our enemy would love us to believe that we are still insignificant … unimportant … without value. Any creation of God has high value. Our ignorance now lies in how we treat those around us.

Oh make no mistake about it, we are still ignorant. Free will allows us to choose the path we take, the way we act and react to situations … but regardless of our choices, there are always those nagging consequences. We were and are created by God to serve Him and Him alone. Our lives should be a reflection of His grace and mercy, yet how often they are a reflection of our bad choices.

The amazing thing about the above verse is that God KNOWS us. He knows we are ignorant. Do not misunderstand the word. It doesn’t mean that we are stupid. Far from it. It means we are “unaware or uninformed”. It is because we aren’t students of His word, is it not? Think about a topic that you are well versed in. Why do you know so much about that? You weren’t born with that knowledge. You studied. You read. You acquainted yourself with facts and reference guides. In time you became an expert on the this topic, whether self-proclaimed or proclaimed by others. Do you think knowing and understanding the ways of God would come to you any differently? To remain in ignorance is a shame and unnecessary. We hold the key that unlocks a treasure trove of wonders and they are in one book … the Bible. As we prayerfully read and seek understanding our ignorance will fade away, turning to knowledge. We will never know it all, but that is no reason not to strive for it.

Live in ignorance no longer. Read God’s Word. It will set you free and feed your soul.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

GOD'S FOREVER WORD


Isaiah 40:8 (NIV) “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

Everybody believes in something. They might believe in the goodness of people. They might believe in voodoo. They might believe in witchcraft. They might believe in God and belong to one of the many man-made denominations. They might claim to NOT believe in anything. But I don’t believe that, because everyone believes in something.

For those who say they don't believe in God, that doesn’t mean He isn’t real. There are a lot of people in the world today that say they believe in God, yet do not believe that the Bible is His inerrant* word; perfect in every way and flawless. I happen to believe that it is, but I am not going to judge anyone for not believing that. A soul was never kept from going to heaven for not believing God’s word was flawless. Not believing the Bible is God’s word is a different story, but even that never kept anyone from going to heaven. Now not believing Jesus was the Son of God and that He died for the eradication of our sins is a different story altogether. I will regarding believing in God's word though, believe what you please, but it’s kind of hard to serve God if you don’t read or believe in His word. Why? Because that is His guide book to us. It is His history book to us. It is His book of promises to us.

It is my opinion that people DON’T believe in God or in His word because they don’t want to be told what to do. They don’t want boundaries. Don’t want to live by anyone else’s rules. The result of that mindset is prideful living, arrogance and in the end, death by ignorance. God came to seek and save those that are lost. So many folks down through the ages have no idea they are lost. It is the job of the believer to reach out to these folks and love them the way Jesus does. We aren’t to judge them, but rather to love them just as Christ loves them. It's in His word.

Cigarette smoking is bad for your health, but it won’t keep a person from going to heaven. I once knew a youth minister who was visiting a church member in the hospital. I was tagging along. There was a young lady in the next bed whom we didn’t know. She obviously was a smoker, because she had a pack of Marlboros on the table next to her. With all the encouraging, loving things that man could have said to her, do you know what the first words out of his mouth to her were … “Smoking will kill you.” I’m quite certain she knew that it wasn’t good for her, but having a stranger say that to her in her hospital room and then invite her to our church, was wrong in my humble opinion. Jesus is more concerned about your soul than your lungs. You can have nice pink, clear, clean lungs and go to hell. When a person receives Christ, God will work on changing that person from the inside out. That is in His word as well.

Isaiah 40:8 compares God’s word to temporal things like grass and flowers. God causes the grass and the flowers to grow, but they wither and die in due time. The word of God, like God Himself, is the same yesterday, today and forever. It may be interpreted differently by individuals, but the word itself doesn’t change. The promises God made so long ago still hold true today and always will. We don’t know how long forever is, but that is irrelevant because for the true believer, once the end is here, you will be ushered into glory to be with your Lord for as long as there is time.

To me, that is an impossible concept to understand … so I don’t try. I just live for God the best I know how and trust Him to take care of me. How about you? What do you believe?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

*Containing no errors (www.thefreedictionary.com)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

GOD IS WATCHING


Psalm 121:7-8 (NIV) “The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

It is an incredible thing when we ponder the fact that the Creator of the Universe cares enough for me that He would not only pay for my misdeeds, but watch over my life and keep me from harm (and danger*). I mean, it stands to reason that if He sent His only Son, an integral part of the Trinity (meaning that He essentially became flesh and walked among us Himself), He must care for us an awful lot. God’s Word doesn’t just say He will watch over us, but that He will do this "both NOW and FOREVERMORE".

There are so many amazing benefits and blessings to knowing and serving God. Yes, things will not always go our way. No, we will not always get what we want, when we want it. But He promises to provide and sustain us through thick and thin. He is more faithful than anyone we have ever known. How do we know this? To put it plainly, God isn’t the creation, but rather the Creator. He does not have an old nature that must be overcome. He doesn’t have any character or personality flaws. There is no evil in Him. We, the created ones, have a propensity to do the wrong thing when given an option. We desire the easy path, rather than the rocky, upward slope. We desire the quick fix, rather than the lasting remedy. To some, knowing that God is watching over us makes them uncomfortable. Could that possibly be because they don’t want ANYONE to know what they are doing? We cannot hide from God. He is watching all the time. Not to punish, but to guide. Not to embarrass or indict, but to edify and support.

We must take comfort in these verses in Psalm 121, for that is what they are meant for. It should bring comfort and hope to us to know that nothing escapes the gaze of our Heavenly Father and only that which He causes or allows shall befall us. And if He causes or allows it, then He is in complete and absolute control of its’ outcome. Seek that which the Lord is attempting to teach you and learn your lessons well. It won’t eliminate all troubles, but it will make you that much stronger in your faith and as a result, your peace will increase. Peace and hope should be, need to be, far more important than griping and worrying about your circumstances. Trust God. Seriously, has He ever let you down?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

*my addition

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

OUR FUTURE


Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Knowing all that we know about God and His promises, why would we ever doubt Him again? Probably because we are our own worst enemy. That is precisely why I have on many occasions prayed “Lord, please save me from myself.” So when we read a verse like the one in Jeremiah, surely it must bring us a sigh of relief.

I personally think a lot of our problem is being hung up on this whole believing in something and/or someone you cannot see, touch or smell. Faith is a tough business. Believing in something/someone you cannot see or touch is one thing. That can be difficult enough, but placing your trust in or relying on something that neither you, nor anyone else can see or touch is viewed as insanity. Yet that is where we are with this crazy belief system we have. It’s simple: you either believe it or you don’t.

So why is it that we make it so difficult for ourselves even when we have chosen to believe it? God has told us right here that God has thoughts of peace toward you and not thoughts of evil. While our lives may not be perfect in our own estimation, think of what it would be like if we DIDN’T believe in the unseen God. Peace is something God promises to those who ask for it. A future with Him and HOPE.
Without hope a people perish… you must have hope. You must have a light at the end of the tunnel. You must have a sunrise. You must know that everything will be alright at some point.

Hope: 1.A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment;
2.Something that is hoped for or desired; 3.One that is a source of or reason for hope; 4.Trust; confidence.

We tend to lose hope when our focus moves off God and onto our circumstances, does it not? What are we placing our faith and trust in? Hopefully not ourselves and our supposed innate ability to get ourselves out of dilemmas. In the long haul that is flawed and will fail. God’s Word is full of promises and words of hope. Read it. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to bring back to your remembrance key verses you’ve read as a source of hope and peace in any given situation. And know in your heart that God thinks well of you. In spite of what you might think of yourself, God is not you and does not think of you as you do yourself. He thinks thoughts of peace … to give you a future and a hope. And you have to know that any future that involves God Almighty is going to be a pleasant and fruitful one.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

ASK WHAT YOU WILL


John 14:11, 13-14 (NIV) “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. … I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

We know who the Father is. The Father Jesus is referring to here in the Gospel of John is His Father and by association, our Heavenly Father. His Father is God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. Yet Father God is a Triune God. Triune is defined as “three in one” or is another word for the Trinity. The Trinity is represented by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All three are one entity, yet they are distinctly separate entities.

Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth in bodily form, lived among men, ministered to them and then willingly died on a criminals cross, an atoning sacrifice to eliminate the sin of all men (with the inclusion of women and children implied and generally accepted).

The Holy Spirit is God IN us. When we receive Christ as our Savior and Lord we receive into our earthly tents (our bodies) the Holy Spirit … our guide, our comforter, our advocate.

Father God is known by Jesus and is Jesus and vice versa. This is how Jesus can say “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”

John 1:18 (NIV) “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[a] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

John 10:30 (NIV) “I and the Father are one.”

If you ask anything in the name of Jesus, He will do it. That is a broad sweeping statement. There are conditions placed on your request. God promises in His word to provide our needs. He promises to never fail us. He promises to always be with us. He does not however promise to provide all our wants. If that were literally true then every Christian would be a multi-million and have anything and everything his heart desired. But to what end? For what purpose? Does that bring glory to God? No.
Making a lot of money in this life isn’t evil or wrong. However, what you DO with your riches speaks volumes on the condition of your heart. Are you generous with your goods and finances or do you keep them for yourself? They aren’t yours you know. Everything is God’s. The talents you have to come up with ideas or create things or write or sing etc are all gifts and talents that your Heavenly Father graciously GAVE to you. What are you using them for? To bring Him glory or to bring yourself glory?

If you don’t receive what you are asking for, you might be asking incorrectly. In my 30 plus years walking with the Lord, I have learned a very important lesson. When I ask for anything, I always finish my request with “not my will Father but YOUR will be done”. For you see your Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need and will give it to us exactly when we need it the most. So in the light of that truth, we may ask anything of the Son and “He will do it”.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, June 20, 2011

GETTING INTO YOU


"Getting Into You"
Relient K - "Two Lefts Don't make a Right...But Three Do" (2003)

When I made up my mind
And my heart along with that
To live not for myself
But yet for God, somebody said
Do you know what you are getting yourself into

When I finally ironed out
All of my priorities
And asked God to remove the doubt
That makes me so unsure of these
Things I ask myself, I ask myself
Do you know what you are getting yourself into

[Chorus]
I'm getting into you
Because you got to me, in a way words can't describe
I'm getting into you
Because I've got to be
You're essential to survive
I'm going to love you with my life

When he looked at me and said
I kind of view you as a son
And for a second our eyes met
And I met that with a question
Do you know what you are getting yourself into

[Chorus]

I've been a liar and I'll never amount to
The kind of person you deserve to worship you
You say you will not dwell on what I did but rather what I do you say
I love you and that's what you are getting yourself into

[Chorus]

He said, I love you and that's what you are getting yourself into

Friday, June 17, 2011

THE BURDEN BEARER


Psalm 68:19 (NIV) “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

As a teenager I went on a hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail in Northern New Jersey. The only thing I distinctly remember about that trip was that I lost my “Surf’s UP” yellow-gold long sleeve Snoopy sweatshirt that I had tied around my waist. I didn’t remember how tiring it was to walk up and down hills with a pack on my back. I was young and resilient and full of energy at the time and it was an adventure, so pushed through without complaint. But it stands to reason, remember or not, that I got very tired after carrying my pack, filled with provisions and clothing, for this was an overnight camping trip. Since that day there have been many loads that I have had to carry that have wore me out. Especially packing and moving, which I have done far more than I would like to recall. If you have ever carried a heavy burden for any length of time, you know that you become very weary after a while.

We all have burdens and cares that we carry in our minds, bodies and / or souls. Psalm 68:19 is just one verse in scripture that lets us know that we don’t have to carry those burdens. The things that weigh us down don’t have to.
When Christ hung on the cross at Golgotha He did it for the remission of sins, once for all, for all time. As our Savior, He provides for us and sustains us in every way. This definitely includes taking those things that weigh us down from us.

There is a key component that has yet to be mentioned. We must GIVE our burdens over to Him. We can continue to carry them around if we so chose. How many of us have given them over to Him only to take them back because we have become so accustomed to carrying them that we don’t know how to act without them there preying on our mind 24/7.

Christ is willing to bear our burdens without complaint and without regret. It is part of what He does … and He does it DAILY. Nothing escapes His watchful eye. You will never be in a difficult situation that He is not aware of it. It doesn’t matter if it was caused by you or allowed to take place by you, God is aware and willing to bear it for you. We always have to deal with the consequences of our actions, but God can lighten any burden just by the asking.

So when you have a burden that seems to hard to bear, remember, you don’t have to bear it alone. Give it to God. He proclaims in His word that He is our daily burden bearer. That is very good news!

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

WITH GOD THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR


Psalm 103:8-12 (NIV) “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

What a remarkable portion of scripture. It speaks volumes regarding the character of God. We can do some pretty selfish, dumb things in our lives at times. Knowing that God doesn’t treat us the way we deserve to be treated is reason alone to rejoice. He does not anger quickly. Man can “fly off the handle” so quickly at times. God looks at our foolish, thoughtless behavior and shows us compassion.

Let’s take a look at the word “fear” in these verses. Fear can mean a lot of things. It can mean: dread, anxiety, apprehension, uneasiness, alarm, dismay, panic … and it can also mean “to be in awe of or to revere”. THAT is the fear we are to have for God. The word “awe” means the “mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread & wonder” in this case, inspired by the presence of a supreme being; God.

Mercy and compassion can tend to be in short supply in this harsh world we live in. However, our God is overflowing with it and is more than willing pour it out upon His children freely. Our problem is that we seldom stand still long enough to receive the outpouring.

There is a place in between your shoulder blades that try as you might, unless you are double jointed, you cannot reach. I liken God remembering our sins against us no longer as Him having our sins placed in that spot between His shoulder blades and never being able to reach them again. He doesn’t forget about them, for that would constitute a flaw in His character. He chooses NOT to remember them against us any longer. Amazing how we can’t ever seem to forget those wrongs done to us. We harbor resentment and anger towards the perpetrators of these wrongs seemingly forever. And yet the wrongs we have done against God can be far more egregious.

I don’t know about you, but I would like to at least make an attempt to be more like what I read above from scripture then to be whatever way feels right or good at the time. God does not instruct us to stifle us, but rather to make us the type of person He knows we can be. Striving for greatness doesn’t always equate to ACHIEVING greatness, but without striving, achieving is never even possible. So strive to be more like Christ in all that you think, say and do. It is a request that God will always honor.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SPARE THE ROD


Proverbs 23:13 (AMP) “Withhold not discipline from the child; for if you strike and punish him with the [reed-like] rod, he will not die.”

There are different types of rods we could use to describe the one mentioned in the verse above. We have fishing rods, various types of steel rods, pretzels rods, piston rods, lightning rods, divining rods … but the rod the Bible is speaking of is none of those. It is a reed-like stick or small bundle of sticks which was used to discipline. There is a way of thinking today that flies in the face of Biblical principles that sees, generally speaking, that punishing a child is damaging to their psyche. That the child will grow up to despise the punisher. That it will cripple them emotionally. Make them bitter and enraged. However, scripture teaches us that healthy discipline is necessary to teach right and wrong principles that need to be followed.

Understand that I am not speaking of beating your child to within an inch of their life. I am not speaking of punishing them in anger, for anger must not enter into the discipline. We, as parents, as to discipline our children in love. There also needs to be a healthy dose of fear, laced with respect.

My mother was all of 5’1” tall. By comparison, I am 6’5”. She had a long handled wooden mixing spoon, perhaps a foot long with a spoon section that was about as big around as a softball. When I was in trouble, all I had to do was hear the kitchen drawer open and I knew I was in trouble … always with just cause. I wasn’t a bad child, but I was mischievous, getting into things I had no business getting into. Thus the discipline of “the spoon”. I never hated my mom for that. Parameters were laid down at a young age to show me my boundaries. Cross this line and there will be trouble. Without boundaries, children become free grazers, wandering all sorts of places they don’t belong.

In a world where child abuse is present, there lies legitimate concerns about over disciplining children. The answer to this is not doing away with discipline altogether. A healthy spanking never damaged my psyche or even bruised my body. And it helped me do as I was instructed more times than not. It surely didn’t kill me. Disciplining our children is necessary so they do not “ride roughshod” over us. TV and movies have for years made adults to be witless dolts while children were nearly always portrayed as geniuses there to save the day with wisdom beyond their years and problem solving skills that would make Donald Trump look inept. How silly. If that were literally true that would be one thing, but all that has resulted from this assault on our minds is skew our family system and help destroy our foundation.

Don’t break the will of your child, but don’t treat 7 year olds like adults either. Treat them like who they are, offspring who look to you for wisdom, guidance and support. Instruct them. Discipline them only when necessary to teach them.
Do not be too stern with them. Enjoy them. Love them. Seek God’s wisdom in how to do all these things in moderation.
Our Heavenly Father, not Hollywood, should light the way to greater understanding in raising our children.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

BEING SELFLESS


Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

How many of you are selfish? I am. I am not selfish all the time naturally, but when push comes to shove, my tendency is to be selfish or tend to my own best interests rather than the interests of others. I strive to be selfless, but it is extremely difficult. For many of us, we feel we are getting the short end of the stick from time to time. Perhaps you think you are getting the short end ALL the time. It is only natural to want to take advantage of every opportunity to better your own position in life. However, that is not what God desires us to be like.

God created us. He knows us … intimately … dare I say, better then we know ourselves. It is a daunting thing to think that there is nothing we could ever think, say or do that God isn’t aware of. He knows us so well that He knows what we will think, say or do before we think, say or do it. He is Omniscient. He knows all things. To NOT know all things would make Him less than who He is. To NOT know all things would make Him imperfect.

So let’s get to the crux of the matter. In Philippians, Paul instructs us to do nothing selfishly or out of vanity. We are to be humble in all things. Just as we are told to treat others as we would like to be treated, here we are told to value others above yourselves. Do you have any idea how hard that is? I do. Out of apparent self preservation we tend to our own interests at the expense of others many times. As if God were not going to meet our needs. The truth of the matter is that God may not meet our needs WHEN we want them met or HOW we want them met, so we have the human tendency to take matters into our own hands … try to MAKE something happen. Yeah, how’s that working out for ya? In the majority of cases, not very good. I certainly know that from personal experience far more times than I would care to admit.

Selflessness is something we must strive for. We must ask God to infuse us with humility and compassion for our fellow man. I do it all the time. As much as I strive to be like Christ, it is amazing to me how often I fall flat on my face. And that isn’t God’s fault. I have gotten in the way of God by allowing my old man to take over for a brief time. Needless to say I am grateful for His patience and long-suffering, for He needs it with me. How about you? Are you all you can be in Christ? Are you allowing His Holy Spirit to have His way with you and in you? It can be painful, but in the end, just like a local clothier puts it, “you’ll like the way you look”.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, June 13, 2011

GOD'S GIFT


Luke 11:13 (NIV) “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

No matter how good or bad a father may be to his family, he is typically capable of giving good gifts to his wife and children. At times it is guilt driven, at times, driven by love, although perhaps fleeting. There are many good fathers in the world today who treat their families according to God’s principles. There are far too many bad fathers who don’t even pretend to know or love God and treat their families accordingly.

With this as a back drop, think about your Heavenly Father. He is perfect. He does not favor one individual over another … ever. He cherishes and cares for us, His flock because we are His … He created us. He cares dearly for us and has promised to provide for and sustain us without hesitation. So if our earthly fathers can provide for us and give us earthly gifts, how much greater are the gifts provided by our Heavenly Father. We should not expect an xBox or PlayStation 3 from God or an iPad, but what we receive from God will effect us in a much more important and lasting way. They will effect our character and make us a more Godly individual if we allow it to. Yes, we can pass it off as we do the tie or dress shirt that we get as gifts, but that is only because we do not realize the importance of what has been given to us. That stems from our lack of relationship with our God.

We were created to fellowship with God. We were created to worship Him. We have fallen far from our original and appointed task, but in spite of all our faults and foibles, we still seek Him and His righteousness. God is infinitely patient and kind … slow to anger and abounding in love. His gifts to us are not trifles, but gifts of eternal value that are to be embraced and used to His glory.

Do not focus on the gifts of this world, for they will rot and decay as sure as we ourselves will someday. Focus on God Himself and His indescribable gifts, which equip us for the journey down the narrow path that leads to heaven. It is God’s desire for all men to be redeemed and experience His mercy and grace. Do not pass up the opportunity to take His gift and apply it to your life. God loves you more than you could ever comprehend, in spite of yourself.

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

Friday, June 10, 2011

FORGIVE & FORGET


Colossians 3:13 (NIV) “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

Forgiveness is a tricky thing. Forgetting is nearly impossible. God freely forgives us if we confess our guilt and seek that forgiveness. God never forgets those things He has forgiven; He chooses NOT to remember them against us any longer. This must be true because forgetfulness would be a flaw in one’s character and God is perfect, having no flaws in His character whatsoever.

We have a much more difficult time forgiving. When someone wrongs us our sensibilities are knocked askew. We tend to exhibit emotions that can range anywhere on the scale from volcanic to passive. Those emotions normally involve anger on some level. Some of us explode and then are over it. Some hold it inside and have them manifest themselves in the form of an illness. Still others will have a mixed bag of emotions that they struggle with. They want to be angry, yet know they shouldn’t be. Forgiving someone can be a messy business at times. Not all the time, but every once in a while it can be.

Forgetting has its’ own set of challenges. Ideally we need to set our minds about forgetting whatever transgression has been committed against us or a loved one, yet remember so it doesn’t happen to us again. It is a balancing act that requires being void of emotion toward the thing you are forgetting, yet remembering. This is much easier said then done.

In the end it all comes down to God and what He wants to do for us. Our Heavenly Father desires that we not only forgive, but seek out those we know to have something against US to make it right. While that goes against our natural grain, it is done for a purpose. Not only does it give you an opportunity to show that individual the grace and mercy of God in real time, but it also benefits you because of the positive actions you have taken. If they blow you off, then at least you can say you followed God’s directive as prescribed in scripture.

We must always remember that our relationship to God is paramount, with all else taking a back seat. God is the only One Who can save you from yourself and is the only One Who can infuse you with the abilities required to accomplish what He lays out in scripture. He has forgiven you without hesitation and remembers it against you no longer. How can we not strive to be the same with those around us? It is not an instantaneous event, but rather something that we progressively grow into over time.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

THE NARROW ROAD


Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV) “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”

I liken the narrow way to heaven as a one lane road going in one direction. I am not aware of any verses in scripture that speak of it being a two way road with people coming and going, while I am certain that if someone had it in their mind to pull a 180, better known as a U-Turn, I don’t believe God would stop them. I see it more as a single lane road heading in one direction with a shoulder and exit ramps providing many opportunities to pull to the side of the road or go off on a tangent, at times far from God’s chosen path. Free will allows for this.

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.”

Being allowed to do anything you want to do in this life comes with a price. Depending on what you choose to do, the price can be quite lofty. Reaping and sowing always comes into play. There are always consequences that result from our actions. Always. A person with a conscience … a person who listens for the voice of God … will consider the consequences and who would be effected by his or her words or actions. Those without a conscience do as they please without any regard to the consequences. This is selfish behavior that will never be rewarded with anything lasting or eternal in value.

The roadway to hell is paved with the lives of those who strove to please themselves and GET as much and ACHIEVE as much as they possibly could. They became wealthy and perhaps even influential, but in the end were left an empty shell with no substance. There is a reason Christ came and it was not to provide those who believe in Him with riches and power and influence. It was not to aid us in our climb up the ladder of business and financial success. These things cannot buy you ANYTHING that is lasting and certainly nothing that you can take with you in the afterlife. We strive and strive for all the wrong things if we do not strive to please God first.

The late Keith Green has an excellent song entitled “Unless the Lord Build the House”.* Here is the chorus: “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain to try at all, Building anything not according to His call. Unless the Lord wants it done, You better not work another day, Building anything that will stand in His way.” Let that minister to your soul and reflect on how you are living your life. What is most important to you? What have you made your top priority? If it isn’t the Lord, then you are wasting valuable time that can never be recovered. The narrow road may be long, may be winding and difficult at times, but in the end, you will never be dissatisfied with where you end up. Trust God to fulfill His promises from scripture and have faith that you will always be provided for with just exactly what you need, just exactly WHEN you need it. And we shall praise Him for His incredible patience, grace and mercy.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* Circa 1980-82; Word Records.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

PERFECT PEACE


Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Is there peace to be found outside of God? It is my belief that people can have moments of peace … fleeting experiences of calmness, free of worry and doubt. But lasting peace only comes from belief in God. This is because the peace isn’t conjured up from within the individual, but rather flows through us as we allow the Holy Spirit of God to minister to our hearts and minds.

Our Heavenly Father wishes us to be at peace and not be worried or “stressed out”. The closer we are with God, the more time we spend with Him, the more our focus will be on HIM and not the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Luke 12:25 (NIV) “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”

This is a rhetorical* question. The fact is that nothing can be gained by worrying about anything. Anything, everything and nothing are “absolute” words. They are all encompassing. They apply to any and all things. They are appropriately used here. There is NOTHING positively gained from worry. Being stressed is ‘on you’. It didn’t come from God … He is not the author of it. It is because our focus is on the wrong thing or personage. Focus on the One who can calm the winds and the waves and you would all but eliminate worry. Ask the Spirit of God to allay your fears and/or concerns. Focus on God and His glory. Focus on what God has done in the past and what He can do now. Being no respecter of persons, whatever He has done in the past He is willing and capable of doing for you now.

Regardless of the situation, there are steps we can take to maximize the benefit we receive from it. 1) Seek the face of God; 2) Intently listen for the lesson that is to be learned, for everything happens for a specific purpose in God’s economy; 3) Learn from your situation; 4) Rest in the peace God has provided. Dealing with a lot of the situations we encounter in life is like trying to pick up water with our bare hands … you cannot do it. However, with the help of the Holy Spirit of God, you can not only pick up the water, but you can apply it properly wherever it needs to go. Trust God to provide perfect peace and when He knows the time is right, peace will flow into you and through you, putting you at rest and allowing you to become a testimony to those around you. Like a hobbled patient relies on crutches, rely on God, for we cannot do any of this by ourselves.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* one that does not require an answer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

GOD IS


Psalm 90:2 (NIV) “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

There are many things that just don’t last anymore. Things are made to wear out or break so that you will need to buy another one. You pay top dollar for items that do last and even then they still don’t last forever. This is all driven by profit margins and overhead. You maximize your net profit by making your costs as lean as possible. This is the opposite of God.

God was, is and shall be. He was before time began. He existed prior to creation. I cannot get my mind around such a concept. It is probably due to the fact that we only utilize 10% of our brains as we discussed the other day. It thus becomes a faith / trust issue. Even though I wasn’t there at the beginning of time; even though I am not God, nor do I pretend to be; I believe what the Word of God says about the Creator of the Universe. It is easier to disbelieve such things than to believe it. It is easier to dismiss it as a fairy tale.

So many of us want things right in front of us to see and inspect … to pass judgment on it. In that type of scenario WE are the ones in control. It doesn’t work that way. God is … He simply IS. I don’t understand that … He wasn’t created Himself. He just exists. But don’t get hung up on that statement. You either accept it as something seen but not seen or you don’t. Simply understand that God always was and always will be. According to scripture there never was a time when He didn’t exist. If you think about that long enough you will go crazy. It is illogical.
It makes no sense to our limited understanding. Yet that alone doesn’t make it false. There are many things in this life that we cannot prove. I can’t prove anything from history. We have pictures, with more recent history we have video clips. But we were not there and even if we were what we saw and experienced would be subject our own interpretation.

So what do we do with this Biblical statement? Just like anything else in the Bible, we must take it by faith that God is Who He says He is and has always been in existence. Because the why and the wherefore of it just isn’t that important. If you could prove without a shadow of a doubt that God did exist, what would it change? Would God become more powerful? Would He be any different than He already is? No. He would not. So believe it or don’t believe it, but know this, the Bible clearly states that God has always existed and will always exist and that should comfort us. In a world where abandonment is a rampant problem, it should bring us hope and solace. Be of good cheer, for no matter what difficulties life hands you, God is and will always be there and is more than willing and capable of sustaining you if you choose to rely on Him.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE


Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV) “But as it is written (Isaiah 64:4): ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”

Scientific and medical experts say we only use 10% of our brain capacity. Looking at the behavior of some people in the world today, that may be a generous assessment. But assuming that 10% usage is literally true, could you imagine what it would be like to be able to use all 100% of our brain’s capacity. It is a scary thought. Some people think they are superior enough without THAT as a list of personal attributes. However, the main point I am getting at here is that man cannot possible fathom the depth by which God loves us. He also cannot comprehend all that God is capable of. Somehow saying He is capable of anything and everything does not do Him justice. It seems too vague … too innocuous.

The Green Lantern is a new movie based on a DC comic that first appeared way back in 1941. “Each Green Lantern possesses a “power ring” and power lantern that give the great control over the physical world as long as the wielder has sufficient willpower and strength to wield it.” (1) Whatever the wearer of the ring can imagine he can produce with the ring to fight evil. ANYTHING his mind can imagine. I believe it is this way with God. God can alter the course of streams, move mountains, cause nations to lie in rubble, provide a way of escape for the unjustly accused. He is able and willing to do anything necessary to bring a soul to Christ and to protect His children. We simply need to believe He can, have faith that He will and trust in it’s manifestation in His perfect time within the parameters of His perfect will for us. Sounds complicated? Not really. What we have to do is all faith based and requires no physical action initially.

It is easy to understand and believe that the Green Lantern came out of a person’s imagination. God is real. Evidence of His existence is all around us. It is my believe that the superhero phenomenon which started back in the 1930’s and 40’s came about to give people someone to look up to. A virtuous being who could defeat evil and protect the innocent. In a way, while perhaps not done consciously, they took the place of God in the respect that people are constantly looking for answers to eternal questions and the superhero genre provided an avenue by which people could explore and at times, find answers to burning questions they might have. It was safe. Non-religious. And it hurt no one in the process. It was an exciting diversion that still exists to this day. I have a comic book collection and even enjoy reading graphic novels featuring Batman, one of my favorites. It doesn’t take God’s place for me, but I can see how it could for those that are looking for hope. It is something that they can see, feel and read with their own eyes. Nothing intrinsically wrong with comics in the least … as long as it is understood that they are entertaining fiction and nothing else.

God is to be our focal point. God is to receive all glory, honor and praise. As long as we never lose sight of that, then we will be fine.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

(1) “Green Lantern” entry in Wikipedia.com.

Friday, June 3, 2011

WORDS CAN HURT


Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

I am a purchaser by trade. Have been for over 25 years. I have found this verse to literally be true in a variety of ways. When I spoke with suppliers I was nearly always calm and patient, even in the face of bad news. “Shooting the messenger”, as the saying goes, never accomplishes anything positive. It only makes YOUR blood pressure rise and aggravates the receiver of your anger. And 9 times out of 10 it is not their personal fault. I know, I know, they are responsible for the matter, but tell me what has ever been gained by screaming at someone over bad news.

If I have ever lost my temper at someone, I have always rued the day that I did. The saying “you can attract more flies with honey then with vinegar” applies in these types of cases. That is not to say that we should be disingenuous. By all means, be genuine. You can be firm and get your point across without yelling or “dressing them down” either on the phone or in person. When I let people know that they never have to be afraid to call me with bad news because I will not “go off” on them, I think that goes a long was towards establishing trust and building a good working relationship. I have also found that if you follow the Biblical principle of “treating others the way you want to be treated”; you get a positive reaction in return. You also tend to get better communication and customer service.

In personal scenarios the same applies. Speaking kindly to another, regardless of how they are acting previous to or as a result of what you have said, is exhibiting grace. You are showing favor to a person who does not deserve it due to his behavior. Doesn’t God do the same thing for us? A harsh word is like a snow ball that is rolled down hill. It accumulates additional snow as it rolls downhill, becoming bigger and bigger, wiping out everything in it's path, until in the end it comes crashing into something or someone before it comes to a rest. The result is that it has left pain and discord in its wake. Speak with compassion and kindness to all, in spite of how they treat you. It is what God would have you do. It isn’t easy often times, but with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, you will be the winner in the end.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

ONCE FOR ALL


Hebrews 9:25-26 (NIV) “Nor did He enter heaven to offer Himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But He has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

In the OT, the payment system in place to cover man’s sins was the blood of a spotless animal. There were also grain offerings and burnt offerings. But blood must be spilled to cover the sins of a man (inferring the inclusion of all humanity). The key word in that sentence is “cover”. These blood sacrifices were required annually and you couldn’t perform them yourself, rather they had to be performed by a priest.

The significance of the above passage of scripture from Hebrews is that Christ gave Himself up willingly as the one true blood sacrifice that was sufficient to eradicate or wipe out one’s sins … all of them … once for all time. What the OT blood sacrifices covered, Christ’s blood sacrifice removed. I liken it to this: Take a red white board marker and write the word SIN. Now tape a piece of opaque paper over it. You can no longer see the SIN, but it is still there. Now write the word SIN in red again and then take the eraser and remove the SIN from the board. THIS is what Christ’s blood did for us. The board is clean … just as if we had never sinned in the first place. THAT is a wonderful gift.

Why do so many take it for granted or disregard it as unnecessary? If it were a new X-Box Game System or 50” flat screen TV, we would gladly receive it, but being given a fresh start with one’s past misdeeds wiped off the board doesn’t hit home with many. Too many people have been duped into believing that they are good people who make mistakes, but are basically good, so it is alright. God is for those that need a crutch to lean on. We don’t hurt others with our decisions. The fact is we are inherently bad. We strive to do that which pleases us and are for the most part selfish, self-centered individuals. Even as believers who HAVE received “the gift” of salvation, it is a struggle to ward off the old man who is suppressed, but still breathing within us.

Understand the significance of what Christ did and understand that He did it for YOU. You may not have asked for it, but it is only because you were unaware of your need for it. Think about all the pain and shame Christ willingly endured for each of us … and realize that He would do it all again if necessary, to bring one more soul into God’s kingdom. The good news in all this is that it is there for the taking … He need not go to the cross ever again. Amen!

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

HE SHALL WIPE AWAY OUR TEARS


Revelation 21:4 (NIV) “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Wayne Watson has a song entitled “Home Free” on an album of the same name. It talks about how when those who are sick pass from this life to the next, they are permanently healed of their sickness or disease. They are “home free”. We pray and pray for healing. We don’t want to let them go. We want them to rise up off their sick bed and resume their lives. Having them pass on is too much for us to bear, so we clench our hands together until our knuckles turn white beseeching God to please have mercy … do the miraculous and heal their bodies.

When someone arrives in heaven, scripture tells us (above) that there will be no dying or sadness or tears or pain. This side of heaven there are times when it seems like that is all we experience in this life … nothing but pain and sadness; hardship and trials. If you expected life to be easy once you received Christ, then you must have found a passage of scripture that I am unfamiliar with. Even Lynn Anderson back in the 70’s knew this life was full of trials and tribulations. In “I never promised you a rose garden” she sings “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine there has to be a little rain sometimes.” Believe it or not, it is a love song, but the point is that everything will not always go your way.

The thing we must realize is that the miracle we are praying for HAS been accomplished if and when our beloved friend or family member passed on to heaven, because even though it has not taken place the way we wanted it to, they will never, ever experience sickness or pain again. Their passage into heaven has secured their healing. They are again whole. We need to accept that God has a greater plan and that we may not always understand that plan. That is where our faith & trust system has to kick in. We trust that God knows exactly what He is doing when He brings our friends and loved ones to be with Him for all eternity.

We should also take heart that the tears we shed during this life will someday be wiped away by our Lord when we are promoted to glory. No one escapes pain and disappointment in this life. We suffer loss, we cry over those things that sadden us. It is unavoidable. But we can learn from these experiences. The lesson learned is not to become hard and unfeeling in the face of such circumstances, but rather to become resilient and an example of compassion and grace to others experiencing the same type of circumstances. Allow God to heal your heart and your spirit so that you might be a blessing to those around you. Of course, there is always a time of mourning for a loss, but doing it with the grace of God can be a blessing to yourself and to everyone you meet each day.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!