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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Monday, December 31, 2012

RECEIVING GOD'S BLESSINGS

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,…’Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. … I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.’” (Isaiah 43:16, 18b-19, 20b-21)
          God is using the prophet Isaiah to remind His people Israel what He has done for them. He is describing His mercy toward them in the face of their unfaithfulness. That which He says is meant to show Israel of the saving nature of their God. The path through the mighty waters is in reference to the parting of the Red Sea. With the Pharaoh and his mighty army on their heels, God deliver them over a dry sea bed with walls of water on either side of them. It was those same walls of water that came crushing down on the Pharaoh and his army when they attempted to follow the Israelites, drowning them that they may never be a threat to the Israelites again. It was Moses obedience to God that caused this to take place. In the wilderness, God provided water for them to drink when they were thirsty and manna for them to eat each day. Yet their unfaithfulness continued.
          Faithfulness and obedience to God is critical to receiving the blessings of God. He does not turn a blind eye to our disobedience. We may do as we like in this life; however, we will reap what we have sown. Look over your life this past year. Have you paid God any mind? Have you sought His will? Do you seek His mind regarding anything at all? Or do you go through your life with God as your Savior only and not your Lord? We are a free people, that is true; however, that freedom came at a colossal cost. I speak of personal freedom, not national freedom. We all have a deep gratitude for all those who fought and died to keep our nation free from the tyranny of outsiders, but what of us being a free nation under God? Let us not be an unfaithful people as the Israelites were. Let us proclaim praise for our God regularly and let us allow His Holy Spirit to direct our paths going into this New Year.
          My prayer for us all is that God might bless us that we might be a blessing to others and that we would prosper even as our soul prospers. God wants to do a new thing in us. All old things are past. We must forget that which is behind us and move forward into the rich blessings of God. We must learn to be a faithful and obedient people to our God, not living for ourselves, but rather living for Him and for others. That is where the greatest blessing lies.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 58

          Above my work area just to the right is a sign that says, in part, “Hope reflects belief.” With 2012 coming to a close and 2013 looming on the horizon, we must pause for a moment to take stock of what we believe in. I believe in many things. Most of those things are tied to my strong belief in God. I can’t prove He is there, but I have chosen to believe that He is and that His grace has carried me to where I now stand. Millions of people believe as I do. Millions do not. That is their right. To those who do not, where does their hope come from? What is it based on? I am banking on the fact that the Bible is true. If it is, then it tells me all I need to know about God. It’s a strange concept, this believing in an invisible spirit being. I just know that I have relied on my belief in God for over 33 years and it has pulled me through some very difficult times. If hope truly reflects our beliefs than my future is bright and if you are in relationship with God, then yours is too. You see, God promises us a future filled with blessing, peace and fulfillment. Without God how can there be any hope at all? What would it be based on, man’s abilities? They are finite, God’s are infinite. It only takes a spark of faith to give birth to hope. My hope for this next year is that my writing career will begin to take off and give birth to a speaking career. I can hope because if I live for God, following His guide for living – the Bible, I cannot fail. I know I can’t because there is no failure in God. Therein lies my hope for the future. Where does your hope lie and in whom? rlk

Friday, December 28, 2012

FINDING REST

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke* upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke* is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
          A yoke is not just a wooden collar worn by two animals to pull a plow or wagon. The picture to the left is the type of yoke we are speaking of. In scripture it is a figurative reference for bondage or servitude. Before we knew Christ we were a slave to sin. Our burdens were heavy upon us and we had no way of escape. Once we entered into fellowship with Him and accepted His forgiveness, we had our burdens lifted and His peace was upon us. The yoke of God is light as we learn from Him. His desire is not to burden us any longer, but to lift us out of our burdensome circumstances and set us free. While the circumstances may remain, we will be able to work our way through them in peace as we rely on God. We need not be weighed down by the cares of this world any longer.
          At a time of year when feeling weary is an understatement and being burdened is putting it politely, we read the words of Jesus. Rest; isn’t it all we really want right now. But the year is about to end and a new year filled with a multitude of unknowns is about to unfold. Christ can give us rest. The rest resides within Him. What does that mean? When we enter into a relationship with God the Holy Spirit comes to reside within us. The peace of Christ, that rest that we so desperately need, is available to us. Allow the Holy Spirit of God to help you relax. Peace is there for the asking. You will find your rest for both body and spirit. Life will still be there, but if you meditate on the goodness of God rather than the seeming immensity of coming difficulties, some which are only in your mind, you will find peace … you will find your rest.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* The word in the Hebrew is used figuratively referring to severe bondage, or affliction, or subjection (Lev. 26:13; 1 Kings 12:4; Isa. 47:6; Lam. 1:14; 3:27). In the New Testament the word "yoke" is also used to denote servitude (Matt. 11:29, 30; Acts 15:10; Gal. 5:1). [Easton Bible Dictionary]

Thursday, December 27, 2012

OUR AWESOME GOD

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)
 
          This Davidic Psalm lifts up the name of the Lord God and mentions but a few of the many benefits of knowing Him. The crowning benefit of God’s grace is the forgiveness of sin. “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38) Grace is undeserved favor. We are redeemed from the pit of hell by the blood Christ shed on the cross on Golgotha’s hill. Healing of our sicknesses and diseases is also promised to us who have placed our faith and trust in God. As we live for Him, God provides every good, constructive and wholesome thing that we are in need of. Our desires are important, but are secondary to our needs, which God has promised to provide. Charles Spurgeon declares in his commentary The Treasury of David: “Our good Lord bestows really good things, not vain toys and idle pleasures; and these he is always giving, so that from moment to moment he is satisfying our soul with good: shall we not be still praising him?” God knows all too well what our needs for survival are. He is our provider and sustainer. Nothing is unknown to God and there is nothing impossible for Him.
          David had a very long life. He stood on the lofty peaks of honor and in the valley of death below. He is more than qualified to extol the virtues of God and offer praise to Him as a result. To the naked eye of mortal man David would seem like a less than ideal example of a righteous man and yet he is referred to as the apple of God’s eye (Psalm 17:8). God knew the motivation of his heart and therefore knew he was a man after the His own heart in spite of his sins. This should give each and every believer hope, for Jehovah is the God of the second chance. You are never too far from Him that He cannot draw you back to Himself. There is nothing you could ever do in your life that would keep God from loving you. This wonderful news should cause you to say in a loud, audible voice, praise be to God, praise His holy name. For He is a loving and kind God; “slow to anger, abounding in love” (Numbers 14:18; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 145:8). Praise be to our mighty and awesome God!

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

OUR DELIVERER HAS COME

“Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”” (Luke 2:28-32)
 
          In verse 25 Simeon is described as a righteous and devout man in Jerusalem. He was waiting for the one who would bring comfort to Israel in the midst of her suffering. He went to the temple courtyard, led by the Holy Spirit, where he found Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. While Jesus was born to a Jewish mother and the Israelites were the chosen people of God, it is interesting that Simeon would mention the Gentiles. God’s plan was to include all mankind, not just the Israelites. Due to the Jews rejection of Jesus as the Christ, their deliverer, Gentiles were then allowed to be grafted into God’s family tree. Nevermore would the non-Jew be lost. It was evidence of God’s deep, abiding love for the entirety of His creation, not just a certain portion. This is borne out in the statement, made by Paul in Acts 10:34, when he says that God is no respecter of persons. This means simply that He shows no favoritism or partiality towards any one person or group over another. His love, mercy and undeserved favor are available for all who would come to Him. What wonderful news!
          Time is irrelevant to God. So it should be no surprise to us when we find in scripture the length of time some had to wait to see the Messiah with their own eyes. Simeon was old and yet God had fulfilled His promise to him. Down through the ages men have waited for the Messiah to come. In Jesus He had come. He was fully God and yet also fully man. He would feel pain and sorrow just as any of us would. He came to redeem mankind. Mankind knew Him not, yet He came not because they sought Him, but because He knew they needed Him. Oh, Israel sought a Messiah and still do to this very day. They missed His appearing because of the form in which He came. They expected a warrior king who would deliverer them by force from Roman oppression. They didn’t see themselves and their own sinful disobedience as the real reason for the coming of the Messiah. The deliverance He would provide would be from themselves and their own penchant to do wrong in the sight of God, not from the oppression they were experiencing from the government.
          Our deliverer is here. Embrace the freedom He provides for those who place their faith and trust in Him.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

IF CHRIST HAD NEVER COME

NOTE: Mrs. Charles Cowman compiled a devotional titled ‘Streams in the Desert’. It is a wonderful book. In it there is a devotional for Christmas Day entitled If Christ Had Never Come. This is my attempt at writing on the same topic.
 
          What if Christ had never come to this earth! Have you ever given that any thought? Do we truly comprehend the impact He has made on this world that He created? Over two thousand years ago God chose to have His Son be born on this earth as a conduit to our salvation. He was to be our deliverer. He would deliver us from ourselves and the sin that has so easily entangled us throughout the ages. What if He never came to earth? What if God, as a consequence of our separation from Him due to our disobedience decided to let us cook in our own juices, so to speak? Think of it … No churches dotting the landscape, so there would be no church bells tolling on the hour, every hour. No steeples rising to the heavens. No crosses to remind us of Christ and all He willingly accomplished on our behalf. No mention of God or Jesus. There would be no manger, no wise men, no shepherds. No story of Mary & Joseph. There would be nothing of any value or consistency to place our faith in. There would be no standard for living. There would be no angels, no miracles, no example of unconditional love. We would be on our own; left to our own devices and our own wisdom. If Christ had never come there would be no hope.
          Fortunately for us Christ DID come. Many shun Him, many try to remove Him from our collective conscience, but He is here. We should thank God daily for the coming of His Son for without Christ there is no forgiveness. Instead we can say with one voice rising up to the heavens – Glory to God in the Highest for His sent His Son to save us from our sin. Salvation has come to us all. Merry CHRISTmas!!

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, December 24, 2012

THE MESSENGERS OF GOD

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:8-16)

          In addition to the wise men who were guided to the manger where Jesus lay, shepherds were also guided there. According to the customs of the day, shepherds were considered outcasts. They were unable to keep ceremonial law that was required of all Jews as they were out in fields watching over their flocks; animals that were to be used for sacrifice. They were men of lowly stature. It seems apparent that God is revealing that all economic strata are welcome to Him. There is no differentiation between rich and poor with God. All were created by Him and all were worthy of His grace and forgiveness for He has declared it to be so.
          Messengers of God (angels) were used regularly in the story of the birth of the Messiah to bring the Good News that He had come just as it had been prophesied in days of old. Angels* were sent from the very throne room of God, for scripture tells us in Revelation 7:11 of their position in His throne room. Angels can come in a variety of forms, even in the form of a human being if God finds it necessary, to accomplish the His purposes. The sight of not just one angel of an entire host of angels declaring the glory of the Lord must have been both a terrifying and beautiful sight. It’s not every night that shepherds see such a sight in the sky during the watching of their flocks. I would have to believe that the magnitude of the event compelled them to go to Bethlehem to see if what the angel had told them was true. It’s not as if a total stranger walked up to you on the street and told you to go to a town to see this incredible infant. This was quite a spectacular event, far greater than any fireworks display we would see in the sky on July 4th. How unbelievable it must have been to actually see first an angel, then a multitude of angels. I cannot even imagine what that must have been like. Some day we will know. As amazing as this event must have been, it could never overshadow the birth of the Savior** of all of mankind.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

*Although the word "angel" in the Bible, meaning a messenger, nearly always applies to heavenly beings, it can occasionally apply to human messengers. Malachi himself said a priest was a messenger (malak) of the LORD of hosts (Malachi 2:7), and in the Book of Revelation the elders of the seven churches of Asia were called angels (1:20; 2:1 etc.). But when we meet messengers doing supernatural things, there is no doubt they are heavenly beings - God's messengers, working for Him and for the ultimate benefit of mankind. [Angels: God's Messengers Bible Teaching About God's "Ministering Spirits"; http://www.christadelphia.org/pamphlet/angels.htm]
** Savior means ‘deliverer’, for Christ delivered us from our sinful state, thus putting us once again in right standing with God, just as Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden.

NOTE: the heavenly host. “Host” is a military term, and it is remarkable that an army should announce peace (v. 14). The “peace” is peace with God, a peace that Christ would bring. [ Reformation Study Bible ]
NOTE: The angel's song (v. 14), according to many manuscripts, was “peace on earth, goodwill to men”; but the NIV translation, “on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests,” follows the earliest and most reliable manuscripts. Jesus did not bring political peace to the world, but he made it possible for men and women to have peace with God. [ Asbury Bible Commentary ]

Saturday, December 22, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 57

          The introductory line for my ministry is “God has a word for you today”. That is quite literally true. Whatever you seek on this day, God has a word for you. It may be the answer to a burning question or a word of direction; it may be a word that gives you comfort or peace. Words give hope. Words give guidance. Since we believe that God is all seeing and all knowing, doesn’t it seem plausible that He would have a very definitive word for you today … perhaps right now. How will you hear that word? Will you hear it from the God’s word, the Bible? Will you hear it from a brother or sister in Christ? Will you hear it from your pastor? God loves us and has a perfect will for us; a perfect plan that He is orchestrating from His throne. We need to engage our faith to believe that and see it unfold in our lives. We cannot see it with human eyes, but rather with the eyes of the spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us to see that which God is revealing to us. No matter what your situation is today, God has a word for you. Seek that word out. Ask Him to reveal it to you. Pray for wisdom. He wants you to be successful for the kingdom of God. He wants to bless you. He wants to use you to bless others. In this most special season of the year, I’m going to be anti-PC* and say may you and yours have the Merriest of Christmases. As you celebrate the holiday, remember the babe in a manger who was to be a king; the Savior of our souls – Jesus Christ. rlk

*PC – Politically Correct

Friday, December 21, 2012

NO ROOM FOR A KING

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:6-7)   
 
          While in Bethlehem the time came for Mary to give birth of her son.  It was the time God had chosen. All had been made ready. The InterVarsity Press Commentary makes a good point when they mention the contrast between the commonness of the surroundings when compared to the greatness of the child. There was no room at the inn … any inn. Consider this: you have been driving all day into the night. You are tired. Your eyes are heavy. It’s late. You decide to pull off the road and get a hotel room for the night. One problem: there are no vacancies. Try as you might you cannot find a room. You stop at one hotel after another only to find that there is no place available. You are weary. You just want to rest. In a way, that may have been in some small measure what Joseph and Mary felt when they were turned away. Compound the situation by having Joseph walk on foot and Mary, great with child and ready to give birth, riding on the back of a donkey. We find no comparison in modern day life … at least not in America.
          There is wide speculation as to whether the manger was a stable filled with animals or a cave that acted as a stable or even a person’s small home where the animals lived among the family. In the end it is irrelevant. The fact remains that Jesus was born in less than ideal surroundings. Whether stable or cave, it was not befitting His true stature. Yet it made a point, this birth among beasts. He was to be a common man among common men. He was to become closely connected to His surroundings by virtue of His presence among men. For the time being He was under the care of two individuals hand chosen by Almighty God.
          Babies are born into this world every day. All are God’s creation. All are unique. All are loved by God unconditionally just as we love our children. Yet no birth throughout the course of time would ever mean what the birth of Christ meant to all of mankind. If there was no birth, there was no sacrificial death on a cross as prophesied in Isaiah of the Old Testament. It was one birth at a singular moment in time. He was the God-man. Wholly God, yet wholly man. Under the constant care of two created beings. It is truly remarkable, if you choose to believe it as true, that this event that took place over two thousand years ago would transform the world like no other event that had or ever would take place. God had come in the form of man and we knew Him not.
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

NOTE: “‘Swaddling cloths’ were strips of cloth used to wrap a baby. That the Child was put in a manger may mean that the birth was in a stable.” [Reformation Study Bible; P & R Publishing; 2008]
 
NOTE: “In all likelihood, the manger is an animal's feeding trough, which means the family is in a stable or in a cave where animals are housed. Swaddling clothes were cloth wrapped around the baby's arms and legs (see Ezekiel 16:4); they kept the limbs covered and protected. The contrast between the birth's commonness and the child's greatness could not be greater. The promised one of God enters creation among the creation.” [The IVP NT Commentary Series; IVP Academic; 2010]

Thursday, December 20, 2012

UNQUESTIONING OBEDIENCE

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” (Luke 2:1,3-5)
          This portion of scripture is important to us in that it fulfills the Old Testament prophesy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the City of David. Everything that transpired back then was foretold by the prophets and found their fulfillment in Christ.
Pledged or betrothed: More binding than a modern engagement, this was virtually a form of marriage. The couple did not live together, but a divorce was needed to break the relationship. (RSB)
 
          Joseph’s obedience to the angel’s command is evident in his taking her to Bethlehem. They were bound by betrothal and would not be apart the rest of their lives. Mary and Joseph’s obedience provides a good example for us today. Their obedience was without hesitation. They recognized the word of their Lord God through His messenger angels and followed their instructions. Today we carry so much mental and emotional baggage. We want to analyze everything and prove things out. If we were close to God we would recognize Him when He called to us. We are fearful of what we do not know or understand. It doesn’t need to be that way with God. We can know Him as much or as little as we care to know Him. All it requires is time and effort. God is available at all times. Even when the night is at its darkest, God is there. During the brightest light of day, He is there as well. During raging storm or flashing flood God is there. We learn about Him through the word He laid out for us – the Bible. As we read through it slowly we find that a whole new world of understanding comes to us. We needn’t be in any hurry when acquainting ourselves with the deeper nuances of His character for it is through our time spent with Him that we will strengthen our faith and trust in Him. Mary and Joseph trusted their God without question. We should do likewise.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

NOTE: Luke dates the birth of Jesus by the common method of referring to the political rulers (3:1). It seems to have been the custom to conduct a census at intervals of fourteen years. People went to their ancestral homes for registration. This would have made it easier to list families. [Reformation Study Bible, aka, RSB]
NOTE: Luke sets the events of the gospel against the background of world history. The pagan emperor's decree about a census created the situation in which the Messiah was born in David's city of Bethlehem. [ Asbury Bible Commentary]
NOTE: This census probably sought to produce a registration list for taxes. A journey to the ancestral home would have fit Jewish practice, so that the custom was done in a culturally inoffensive manner (2 Sam 24). This was important, since the tax itself would have been a painful reminder of Israel's position before Rome. Nazareth to Bethlehem was about a ninety mile trip, assuming that Samaria was bypassed. Such a journey would have taken around three days. That Bethlehem is the town of David indicates the birth's connection to promise (Mic 5:1-2; the Greek is literally "city of David"). [The IVP NT Commentary Series]

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CHRIST IS THE RISING SUN

“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79)
     “… John and Jesus come by God's mercy to    prepare and lead God's people. John will proclaim salvation, but Jesus will take them to it.”*
           John the Baptist was called by God to lead the His people to the Messiah. He was to be a prophet of God. These verses that appear above are from Zechariah’s prophetic song or hymn. Christ is the ‘rising sun’ being spoken of. A rising sun brings the hope of a new day. Darkness represents all that has us under foot: despair, loneliness, sin, depression, worry. While John provides hope in the form of the coming Messiah, who shall bring with Him forgiveness and mercy, Jesus Christ, shall be the actual embodiment of that forgiveness and mercy; the grace of God. John was chosen before time to be born of a woman of advanced age … Elizabeth, wife to Zechariah. Zechariah, whose doubt caused him to be struck dumb, had his speech restored once he wrote on a tablet to the people at his child’s birth that his name is John. They raised John to adulthood when John began his mission, proclaiming to the people of Israel that salvation was coming to them. He baptized them and yet let them know that One was coming whose sandals he was not fit to untie (John 1:27). John gave the people knowledge, what they did with it was their own business. It is no different today. It is like the old adage: you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. I have experienced this first hand and it is quite literally true. You can actually shove a horse’s muzzle into a tub of cool water on a hot day and if it doesn’t have a mind to drink, it will not drink. The water Jesus was to provide would quench the thirst of any man who partook of it for all eternity, for He was that living water (John 4:10-14).
          The evidence of God’s tender mercy came in the form of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes; the lowly birth of a mighty king. No one could have suspected or in their wildest dreams imagined what controversy that same infant would cause in his life. All to fulfill the salvation plan of Almighty God. Christ is the rising sun that shines on those living in darkness.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* Prophecy About John and Jesus (Luke 1:76-80); The IVP New Testament Commentary Series;  www.biblegateway.com.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

GOD'S HORN OF SALVATION

““Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation* for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), …”. (Luke 1:68-70)
          Jesus has been referred to as many things, but a horn? We aren’t talking about him being a part of the Nashville Brass, but rather a horn of protection and strength, as in an oxen’s horn. I had the occasion to live in Texas for nine years and during that time I passed a field as I was driving somewhere. Standing by the fence at the roadside was a huge longhorn steer. He was the largest animal I had ever seen. The span of his horns from tip to tip had to have been 8 feet, if not greater. I wouldn’t have wanted to get him riled up or I might have ended up on the business end of one of those horns. That gives me a point of reference for a horn that protects and provides strength.           Jesus didn’t come into the world to coddle it, but to save it. He came to defeat Satan and pay for our sin debt. He is not to be viewed as the baby in the manger, but the Messiah, the promised deliverer of Israel. God has provided a protector and a weapon to defeat the enemy of our souls in the form of His only begotten Son. This is evidence of God’s great and never-ending love for His creation. He could have left us in our sin, but He chose not to. This reveals to us the proper posture we should be in towards our God; one of worship and praise. If we take the time to reflect on all that He is and all that He has done for us how could be hold our praise and gratitude back.
          God redeemed His people through Christ. To redeem is “to do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior.” It is to “gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment”. Our sin separated us from God. He bought us back. We were made the possession of God again through the birth and subsequent death of the Son of God. We owe Him our eternal praise for such an indescribable gift. No present given on Christmas could ever match the value of our redemption. May we reflect on Jesus, our horn of salvation and not take Him for granted. For without Christ, we are vulnerable to Satan and without hope of forgiveness.
          Praise be to the Lord, because He has come to his people …

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* “The kind of horn meant here is not a musical instrument but the deadly weapon of the wild ox.” (e.g., Psalm 92:9-10; Micah 4:13) [ Jesus is the Horn of Salvation; www.desiringgod.org ]

NOTE: “These two things make Christmas good news of great joy to all who believe. 1 John 3:8, The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. Hebrews 9:26, Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” [ Jesus is the Horn of Salvation; www.desiringgod.org ]

Monday, December 17, 2012

GOD'S TIMING

“… Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream …” (Matthew 1:18b-20a)
          To the human eye Mary violated her vows to her betrothed. Jewish law was clear. Unless Joseph accepted Mary under these conditions, God’s plan would crash and burn. As He does with all men, God knew Joseph’s heart. He knew he was an honorable man and would listen to reason; thus the message from an angel. It is not revealed to us which angel, which give us a hint that God has control over all angels to do His bidding. I have no idea how often angels appeared to men and I also do not know what form he appeared to Joseph in. We are only told that angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, which tells us he was asleep. There is no recorded hesitation with Joseph. He woke up and did what the angel had commanded him to do (Matthew 1:24). This obedience on Joseph’s part kept Mary from being stoned as an adulteress.* God foresaw this entire event in time and wasn’t surprised by any of it.
          Time is the realm that we live in; it is a realm that was created by God and for Him. God uses time as He so wills to accomplish His divine purposes. We are constantly running out of time. We are slaves to the clock. God is a slave to nothing. He saw the lives of Mary and Joseph unfold before Him. He led them to an inn with a manger. He led the shepherds and Magi to the manger. All this transpired in good time. We are not ever told that anyone in this scenario was in a rush. No one was running about. Everything was orchestrated by God’s mighty hand. It took place just as it was planned by God before time began.  
          Something we humans cannot seem to understand is that everything takes time. No matter how fast we move, it stills takes time. Nothing is instantaneous. Nothing is immediate. Just because we want things now doesn’t mean it won’t take time. Let us learn from this portion of the Christmas story that all things are arranged by God and come to fruition as He has planned for us if we will only slow down and rest in God’s grace.
          In the fullness of time Christ came … .

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* “It's important to note that betrothal was of a much more formal and far more binding nature than the "engagement" is with our culture. Indeed, it was held to be a part of the transaction of marriage, and as being the most binding part. The ceremony of betrothal consisted in the acceptance before witnesses of the terms of the marriage as contracted for.” “… the betrothed couple were legally in the position of a married couple, and any unfaithfulness was ‘adultery’”. (Deuteronomy 22:23; Matthew 1:19) [Marriage and Betrothal in Bible Times; Lion Tracks QnA; www.bibleistrue.com]

Saturday, December 15, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 56

          A brief conversation with a neighbor went something like this: “Hi. Ready for Christmas?” “Pretty much. You?” “Oh, I still have things to get. It’s a real pain in the *ss. It’s getting to be a bigger pain in the *ss every year.”
          Hmmm, I never thought of Christmas as a pain in my *ss. Even when I was harried. Even before I was a Christian. Interesting. She had been caught up in the mad dash to spend money you couldn’t really afford to spend or rack up debt on a credit card it would take at least 6 months of the new year to pay off. It seemed to be a ritual with some people.
          Me? I've always loved Christmas. Even with the crowds and the grumpy shoppers and the long lines and the traffic gridlock by the malls. I love the colors of Christmas. The reds, greens, whites and gold’s with a splash of black to accent the collage of colors. I love the carols … the true carols of Christmas, not the modern substitutes. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, The First Noel, Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem … I grew up hearing them sung by Eddie Arnold, Sergio Franchi, Gordon MacRae, Robert Goulet or played by Andre Kostelanetz, Montovani or Percy Faith. I love everything about the Christmas season. Pain in the *ss? Never.
          Lost in the madness is the Christ child, born in a manger. The reason for the season. Without Christ, is life truly worth living at all? What is the point of life without hope and how can anyone have even a glimmer of hope without redemption? rlk

Friday, December 14, 2012

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL

The angel said to (Zechariah), “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.” (Luke 1:19)
 
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26-27)
 
“Angels are messengers of God to His people (Zech. 1: 9, 13-14, 19 Luke 1:11-20, Luke. 1:26-38) and it is this encounter that dominates our Christmas celebration. However, appearances of the angels are usually brief and formal. They are aimed at improving our relationship with the Lord rather than attracting attention to themselves.” (Revelation 22: 8-9)*
 
          These two verses regarding the coming and birth of John the Baptist and the Christ child are very specific regarding angelic activity. Apparently, Gabriel had come from the throne room of God to deliver two messages; one to Zechariah and one to Mary. His message to Zechariah was regarding the birth of a son to his wife, Elizabeth and the message to Mary is regarding the birth of Jesus. Angels are messengers God uses to speak to those who are in the family of God. To speak to one who does not believe is tantamount to casting pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6).
          What do we know about archangels**? They stand before Almighty God day and night. They are sent out by God to do His bidding. They administer the will of God to those who have sought Him. In this particular case the archangel Gabriel has let Zechariah know that God has favored his wife with a son who would be the one who would bear witness to the Messiah and point the way to Him. Zechariah’s hesitation to believe this message caused Gabriel to strike him mute until his child was born. Could you imagine if God did that to us today in light of our constant hesitation to belief? I think the world would be a lot quieter.
          One of the problems facing the world today is this obsession with angels. Angels do not draw attention to themselves, yet so many people are fascinated by angelic beings as if they were gods themselves. They are not. As a matter of fact that is exactly why the Apostle John was told in Revelation 22:8-9 not to bow down before an angel God sent to him. The angel emphatically told John to “worship God alone”. Angels are not to be worshipped. They are vehicles of God’s word and blessings. They too were created by God prior to the creation of our world. (Nehemiah 9:6) They protect those in the family of God as well. God controls all things in His creation, even His angels. Let’s put it into perspective using a military analogy: God is like the commander in chief. All others report to Him and follow His instructions. You never need to doubt God’s ability to know what you are going through, for He knows and sends angels to assist us when we falter.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* Angels & the Hierarchy of the Heavenlies; Eddie Russell FMI; http://www.flameministries.org/angels.htm
** Angel: a spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God. Archangel: a high ranking angel. (www.oxforddictionaries.com)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

HIS NAME SHALL BE JESUS

… an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20b-21)
 
          If it had not been for an angel of the Lord appearing to Joseph, the whole story might have been different; however, God knows the beginning from the end and knew Joseph’s heart. God knew he was a good, honorable man and also knew he would abide by the wishes of the angel for the Jews were a God fearing people (and practicing orthodox Jews still are to this day). The angel laid out the whole situation to Joseph and told him what to do. Joseph’s obedience was paramount. He needed to do as he was told and without hesitation he did.
          In this day and age when obedience is side stepped in favor of personal desire, it would have been interesting to see how the same scenario would have played out. Right and wrong are whitewashed so as not to thwart our efforts to have some fun. Boundaries are hazy so we can do as we please. Adults, so busy working to pay for the opulent lifestyles they have obtained for their families, have no time to administer discipline or show love, support and encouragement to their kids. Parents give their children whatever they so desire in an attempt to win their affections. Television shows tell us of the deep abiding wisdom of children, while the parents are shown as blithering idiots. God is an afterthought, if He is thought of at all. In the midst of this chaos, God quietly stands with open arms bidding us all to come to Him. Unfortunately, He cannot be heard by the common man due to the cacophony of noise that we have allowed to become life.
          Jesus came for a specific purpose. He was sent by His Father to pay the sin debt man had accumulated. In God’s economy sin must be paid for. Ideally, it is not to be committed at all, but God knows we have a propensity to sin. It is in our old nature and unless we surrender to the will of God in our lives we will never overcome our old nature. Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means the Lord saves, and indeed He does. He saves us from our sins and ourselves, for without Jesus’ birth there is no hope of forgiveness for mankind.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

GOD'S PROPER TIME

“But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law, To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God’s sons].” (Galatians 4:4-5 AMP)
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: …"  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
 
          There is a proper time and place for everything in God’s economy. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon breaks it all down for us in chapter 3 verses 1-8. There is a time for everything under the sun. So when God’s proper time had fully come, Jesus Christ was sent to earth. For anyone to believe such a remarkable story as fact requires faith. Faith: belief in the unseen as if it could be seen. The hope of mankind was born the same way any other man would be, from the womb of a woman. The angel Gabriel proclaimed that His name shall be Immanuel, God with us, yet He was subject to the laws of the day. His life was miraculous, His death necessary. Redemption was the plan God put together. Freedom to choose was part of the plan. God would not force anyone to accept Him and subsequently serve Him. Mankind would be given the choice to belief or disbelief in God. God knew that once His Holy Spirit got a hold of the heart of a man, the compulsion to serve and obey Him would be established. Scripture is very clear. Christ came into this world not to destroy it, but to save it. A ransom was due. He would pay it. Blood was required to atone for the sins of mankind. Christ would provide it. Those who embraced Christ and believed in all that He preached and stood for were then recognized by God to be a son. With this sonship came all the benefits of being in this heavenly family.
          Have you ever considered time in relation to God? The proper time to God was unknown to man, yet known by God. He had all of eternity to play with time-wise. He could have done things any way He wanted. He chose to send His only begotten Son to take the fall for mankind. What an unbelievable love that was put on display for all to see. This baby boy who grew up to full stature as a man, was sent for a specific purpose. He was born to die. We all die at one time or another, but this was a very specific birth and death. One that would pay a sin debt that otherwise would go unpaid. God knew what He was doing then and He knows what He is doing now. The debt remains the same for many, as does the availability of the payment.
          The Christmas season is a time of joy, peace and hope, for Christ was born in Bethlehem lo those many years ago. He came to set us free. Have you allowed that freedom to change your life?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us].” (Isaiah 7:14 AMP)
          Nowadays, an unmarried woman giving birth is commonplace. It’s a sign of decaying morality. Back in Bible times Mary could have actually been stoned as an adulteress.* At the very least, she would have experienced humiliation and shame. Fortunately, Joseph was visited by an angel who cleared up his obvious suspicions that Mary had lie with another man and he relented, agreeing to still be her husband, much to Mary’s relief. The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is miraculous. No man had slept with Mary and had relations with her. The Holy Spirit of God impregnated her to fulfill God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Jesus could have just shown up as an adult out of nowhere and still accomplished the same result, but God chose to do it as any normal human would through natural childbirth. God so chose to bring Jesus to mankind in this manner so as to ensure a sinless life. Having relations with a man prior to marriage would have been a sin, thus making the resulting child a sinner by relation. God chose a virgin for this very reason. He had the angel Gabriel visit Mary and declare the good news: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)
          What an amazing event in history. The fact that God would willingly become flesh and dwell among those He had created is unbelievable. He did it for a specific purpose. He did it to save mankind from their sin. Still mankind doubts His very existence and laughs at those who believe telling them they are weak minded. In the end, those who thought of themselves as so wise shall find out that wisdom was irrelevant. Faith in the unseen was and still is paramount and quite necessary to save ones soul.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* “Jewish girls of that period usually became engaged when they were twelve or thirteen years old. Actually, for legal purposes this engagement was regarded as the first stage of a marriage, although the girl would normally remain with her parents for about a year before going to live with her husband and consummating the marriage. If she became pregnant before then, she would face public disgrace, and if the law was strictly enforced, could even be executed as an adulteress.” (Taken from www.bible-mysteries.net)

Monday, December 10, 2012

WORSHIPPING & RESPECTING GOD


“Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7 AMP)
 
          We think we are a pretty smart bunch, us humans. We think there is nothing we encounter on any given day that we cannot figure out and conquer. We overestimate our own wisdom. God cautions us to not think of ourselves as wise. It’s not as if we are incapable of anything positive, it’s just that we have a tendency to allow our own importance to become overblown, thinking of ourselves as greater than we truly are. God is to be revered and worshipped, not our own egos. We are to see God for who He is, wholly omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. There is none like Him, nor shall there ever be. Jehovah is the one true and everlasting God who is to be reverently feared and worshipped. Fear in this sense means simply to honor and acknowledge Him with respect and admiration for who He is. Scripture isn’t saying we should be afraid of Him, but rather have a healthy regard for God’s abilities, qualities and achievements. He is worthy of our devotion and praise simply for who He is.
           I used the Amplified translation of the Bible today because it expanded the text slightly to clarify the meaning of the verse. We are to turn entirely away from evil. We might look at ourselves and our actions and say that we are not evil; however, anything that is apart from God and His word is considered evil in His sight. The standard has been set, we are unqualified to set a new one. To make up our own rules to suit ourselves is prideful and arrogant, assuming we know that which is right and true on our own. We know nothing of goodness apart from God. We know nothing of fairness or clear judgment without the direction and instruction of the Holy Spirit. We are able to function in this world on our own, but are incapable of accomplishing anything of any lasting, eternal value without God’s assistance. Without God we are entitled to nothing but hell fire, nothing more. That is a difficult pill to swallow for some, but it is the reality of things. Without God in our lives molding and making us more like His Son by His Holy Spirit, we are severely lost and without hope. The sad thing is that people are unaware of this or perhaps are aware but refuse to accept it. God loves each of us with an abiding and everlasting love. There is nothing this side of heaven to compare to it. We should seek Him, respect Him and live in obedience to His decrees.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 55

          Tis the season to be jolly … the Christmas Season is here! Peace on earth and good will toward men. Let the secularization of the holiday season continue. There’s a heavy dose of happy holiday songs on the radio that make no mention of Christ. The frenzy to buy Tommy or Susie the latest whatchamacallit has begun. Money rules, tradition drools as we race half-crazed towards December 25th. Will Santa come? Should I say Merry Christmas to someone or will I offend them. I decided it was politically correct to say “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays” in one breath when greeting someone to cover all the bases. We wouldn’t want to offend anyone, goodness gracious no.
          Society, with all their good cheer is trying its best to take Christ out of Christmas. No, Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, but it is the date that Christians assigned to Christ’s birth as a means of drawing Roman pagans to Christianity in the 4th Century. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a week-long festival of lawlessness from December 17-25.* The Christians of the day decided it was good to incorporate the two celebrations. Their mistake was to allow the newly converted pagans to continue their celebration without altering its content. So the new believers continued with their hedonistic revelry. Eventually all that changed, but it would seem that we may have come full circle. There are no longer drunken orgies or naked singing in the streets and they certainly don’t end the holiday by murdering a bad man or woman, but the seeds for taking Christ completely out of Christmas have been planted. We must return to our roots. We must understand what the celebration of this special holiday truly means. Without Christ there is no forgiveness of sins. Without Christ there is no hope for mankind. Let Isaiah 22:13 (“Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!”) not be our epitaph. As Christians we mustn’t fall prey to the secularization of Christmas. We need to sing out praises to our God for the coming of His Son. Without His birth there can be no resurrection and without that we have no hope. rlk

* The Origin of Christmas; Simple to Remember: Judaism Online; www.simpletoremember.com

Friday, December 7, 2012

THE DEATH OF LAZARUS

“Jesus said to (Martha), “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25)

          This is the accounting of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. Mary, the one who put perfume on the feet of Jesus on another occasion and her sister Martha had sent word to the Lord that their brother, Lazarus was sick. Take note that Jesus did not say in response that Lazarus would not die. “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4) Jesus loved all three very much yet stayed where he was two more days. If He had come directly Lazarus might have still been alive and the purposes of God would not have been fulfilled. This is a perfect example of how God knows and we do not. God declares in Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. God always knows what He is doing and always knows what is best. The word ‘always’ is an absolute word. It means that God knows each and every time without failing or hesitation. God never has to ponder His plans or question Himself. How does He know? He knows because He is omniscient, the knower of all things. There is never a time when God is lost or confused. We are the ones who stumble and fall on our face, not God.
          Jesus is the source of everlasting life. It is only through Him that we can reach our eternal destination. There is nothing we can do to achieve this on our own. All we can do and believe in Christ; however, it is a little more detailed than that for the devil and his demons also believe (James 2:19) and shudder at the mention of His name. We must surrender our will to the one true living God. If we do so we will never truly die. Oh, we will die physically, but not spiritually. Our physical tent, which houses our soul and spirit, shall turn to dust in the ground, but our soul and spirit shall live in heaven with God for all eternity.
          Jesus purposely waited so that Lazarus would die. This way He could reveal the miraculous power of God in the resurrection of His friend. This is what Christ meant when He said what He did in verse 4 listed above. God always knows exactly what He is doing. Therefore, we can absolutely and positively trust Him in all things all the time. Do you believe this?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

SHEEP NEED A SHEPHERD

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
 
““I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)
 
          A good shepherd is ever watchful of his flock. The danger is not always when they are in the fields grazing; it can be when they are in their pens as well.* Since we know from scripture that God is omnipresent** (Psalm 139:7-12), He is more than able to protect and care for His sheep. We are His sheep and nothing can harm us or come near us unless either we or He allows it. God knows us intimately. In other words, He knows us in a detailed and complete manner. He created us in our mother’s womb and knew us before we were born. When we received Christ our spirit yearned after God and recognized who God was and He surely knew us as well. We have been drawn to Him and are drawn to Him still. Many a Christian let their yearning become less fervent as they get caught up in their daily lives; yet still the good shepherd watches over us. He is willing to and in quite the literal sense has laid down His life for the sheep. Christ’s walk through the streets of Jerusalem carrying the cross that would be the vehicle of His death was no small thing, but rather the opening act in the process of laying His life down. Christ bore our sin and our shame without hesitation, yet many times we hesitate to even acknowledge that we know Him. Like sheep we must be lead and God is the one who is capable and willing to lead us down the proper path to safety and to our eternal home. No one else is able to do that. We cannot find our way on our own. The Shepherd knows the path. It winds through thickets and briers and thorny woods to the place where it is safe. We need to know the Shepherd and follow Him for to go our own way will only get us lost. Follow Christ today.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* “The bandits of Israel are not apt to pick locks, but some of them may manage to climb up over the wall, and get into the fold, where they cut the throats of as many of the animals as possible and then sling them over the wall to others of their band, and all of them attempt to escape without being caught.” Taken from Manners & Customs: Shepherds, Shepherds in the Ancient World; www.bible-history.com
** The Oxford Dictionary – “(of God) everywhere at the same time”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

THE GATE TO FULFILLMENT

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.- John 10:9-10
          Who is the thief John speaks of? The thief is Satan, the one who is referred to by many names throughout the Bible. He is the accuser, adversary, deceiver, lawless one, roaring lion, ruler of demons, ruler of this world, tempter, thief and wicked one, and that is just some of the 41 names he goes by. You will take notice that none of them are positive. Christ, on the other hand, is called by over 200 names. Here are some of them: Almighty God, Alpha & Omega, The Amen, Anointed One, Author of Eternal Salvation, Faithful and True, Healer, Image of God, I AM, the Light of the World, Living Bread, Living Water, and Lord. That is but a fraction of the names Jesus Christ is referred to as in scripture. Here in John He is the gate. It is by this gate that we may enter into peace, fulfillment and as a result, contentment. These are possible only through a right relationship with God. Without God’s forgiveness through the blood Christ shed on the cross at Calvary we would all die in our sins.
          Christ is our shepherd. Through Him we can find peaceful pasture just as a sheep would. Like an earthly shepherd, He watches over us and protects us from the ‘evil one’ (another name for Satan). We can live a life filled with contentment and fulfillment if we would listen to the Holy Spirit of God and do as He instructs. It is when we ignore His instruction that we begin to get ourselves into trouble. We will never know ourselves better than our Heavenly Father knows us. He knows our thoughts and motivations. We could never fool Him into thinking we have honorable intentions if we do not. He knows us intimately, which is the way we should know Him. Christ came to give us life to the fullest. He didn’t come to bog us down with ritualistic requirements. We are only truly free when we surrender … to God. It is through our genuine conversion into the family of God that we find we have a burning desire to live for Him. There is no other way. We can’t fake it. We can’t pretend. God knows our hearts. He also knows what is best for us. He has provided in Christ the gate that leads to life as it can and should be lived. We think we know, but our ignorance is startling. Only through Christ can we achieve that which we truly seek: peace, joy and contentment in this life.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WHY CHRIST CAME

(Jesus) continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.John 8:23-24
          There is a way to heaven that men know not of. It is the only way to heaven. It is through Jesus Christ. Those who embrace the grace of God and live according to His word as it appears in the Bible shall live forever. Jesus lays it out very plainly here in the gospel of John. Jesus states clearly that He is not from this earth, the same earth He created. This world is inhabited by beings God created. Jesus was sent to this earth in the form of a created being for the benefit of the other created beings. They saw Him as one of their own until He revealed to them His true nature. He was one with the Father. He was not of this world. He lays out the plan: believe in me or die in your sins. He had taken all the guess work out of it. For that time in history the Son of God showed Himself so that the trust of the people was placed in what they could see. It wasn’t faith, per se, because by its very definition faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1).
          When Jesus states that they are from below, He is not saying that they are from hell, but rather the earth, which is below heaven. We are all very much of this world. We are influenced by it and as believers in Christ struggle against it. This world is at odds with anything that is linked to God. Satan, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), has seen to it that the world would embrace that which tickles their fancy. That which is of this world will eventually wear you out and grind you under its heel. Most do not come to this realization until it is too late. Christ died for sinners. He didn’t do it for Himself … He didn’t do it for the fun of it; He did it because He knew mankind could never pay the sin debt they had accumulated. It’s as if someone gave you a check for one million dollars, only you cannot put a value on the price Christ paid. Nothing this side of heaven will ever equate to what Christ willingly did for each of us. Allow that knowledge to change your life.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

TASTE & SEE

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” - John 6:35
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” - John 4:13-14
 
          In this day and age there is such a push to be healthy and stay hydrated. People are diet and nutrition conscious almost to an extreme. They take care of their bodies yet neglect their souls. The Internationally known group Queen sang in their song “Hammer to Fall” that we build our muscles as our body decays.* The hammer, like the auctioneer’s gavel, comes down in the end. It is indicative of our lives. We will all die at one time or another. Some will live long lives and some lives will be cut off in their prime. We have no control over the longevity of our existence, even though we believe we do. We believe we can extend our lives through exercise and good nutrition and to an extent this is true; however, when your time is up it is up and nothing you can say or do can change that. It is preposterous to think we can dictate when we shall die. The ‘Name it, claim it’ group seemed to think you could check out of this life when you decide to check out based on how much faith you had as if God had nothing to say about it at all. In the midst of all this foolishness Jesus declares that He is all we need.
          Christ is the bread of life. Bread: a main staple of life. Nowadays we seek out special grain breads. We are to shun white bread or anything that is white, such as potatoes or rice. Yet the bread Christ is speaking of is symbolism for His body. It is just as He says at the last supper … “this is my body, broken for you” (1 Corinthians 11:24). We need to eat food for our physical sustenance; however, no matter what or how much we eat we will be hungry again sooner or later. With the bread Christ provides in His own body, we shall never be hungry again. What does He mean? He is not speaking in a literal sense, but rather in a spiritual sense. Once we take Christ into our bodies in the person of the Holy Spirit our eternal destination is secure. Our hunger for peace, joy, fulfillment and forgiveness has been satisfied.
          With the living water Christ provides we shall never be at risk of spiritual dehydration unless we cease drinking from the spring He provides. If we go about our daily lives and shirk our duty to ourselves to eat and drink of all Christ provides in a spiritual sense, then we risk atrophying into a quivering mass of flesh in the corner. We should be compelled to do as Psalm 34:8 says: “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!


* ‘Hammer to Fall’, The Works, Queen, Capitol Records, 1984.

 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 54

          Knowing and serving Jesus Christ is my passion. Writing is as well. I have long had a burden to encourage and edify the body of Christ. Through the years I have noticed a whole lot of instructing and admonishing going on from the pulpit and from the pew, but not enough encouraging and edifying. Now understand, my experience comes from 3 out of 50 states alone, so this is hardly am extensive study I have done. Just an observation as I have moved through life.
          My hope and prayer is that for the rest of my life my writing and subsequent speaking will be able to sustain me financially. It is my heart’s desire.  My first book, THERE ARE NO
MC DONALD’S IN HEAVEN: WAITING ON GOD, was published this past July and is available from just about any book outlet you can think of online. My second manuscript was submitted a couple months ago and is nearly through the copy editing stage. It is called THOUGHTS FROM A RANDOM MIND and is a compilation of devotionals I have written over the past year. They are from the daily devotional blog I write each weekday on my site http://minidevos.blogspot.com/. I still write that blog and have plans to continue compiling them for future volumes.
          I am currently writing my third book whose working title is DEAR GOD, I HAVE A PROBLEM – IT’S ME! I am on the ninth chapter at this time. In general, it is about why people dislike Christians. I deal with the big question: why do people dislike Christians so much. I think a lot of the reason is because of US and not who we are supposed to be representing. I touch on many other related topics in the book and am looking forward to its completion and distribution sometime in 2013.
          Please pray for me as I seek to do the will of God in my life. Thank you in advance for your prayer support.   rlkeller

Friday, November 30, 2012

GOD'S LIVING WORD

“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21
 
          It is by faith that we believe such a statement as is made by the Apostle Peter. We weren’t there. We don’t and cannot know the truth of it. We all believe something. Some believe in God, others believe there is no God. It is a choice we all must make, but we better be sure in our choice. We have a free will. What does that mean? In a nutshell it means we are able and allowed to choose as we please; To believe whatever we would like to believe. If you want to believe the sky is purple and the moon is black you can (although I can’t promise you the men in the little white coats won’t come calling on you.). I made a choice in 1979 to believe in God. It was a deliberate choice. No one made me make that choice. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do and even now I do not question my decision. It has been the most important and greatest positive thing I have ever done for myself.
          So here is Peter declaring that whatever prophecy was spoken was not spoken strictly by humans of their own volition, but rather by the unction or direction of the Holy Spirit of God. They were compelled within their own spirits to speak forth or write down that which was revealed to them. As we read scripture I believe we find truth and in that truth we find peace and hope. I could be cute here and say “It’s a God thing, you wouldn’t understand”, but actually, if you are not in relationship with God on a personal basis, then truthfully you probably wouldn’t understand. It takes work to understand the things of God. It takes discipline and determination. It takes patience and perseverance. This is no quick fix, this is a life-long pursuit, this knowing God thing. There is no way you can do this on your own, that is why we are given the Holy Spirit.
          The prophets spoke the words of God to His people and they listened, most of the time. Is everything in the Bible absolutely accurate and true? I believe it is. Perhaps I am na├»ve, but I would rather believe it, learn it, love it and live it than spend valuable time trying to prove it is false. If we open our hearts to the word of God we will realize, if we allow it, that God is real and His word is vital to our existence as Christians. If it weren’t why would people be trying to silence its proclamation? If it were just another book then why would people want it removed? For that matter, why is Jesus Christ the lone religious figure that stirs up so much violence and hate? Would that happen if it were known to not be true?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

THE FOREVER LOVE OF GOD

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” - Psalm 136:1, 26
 
Endure – remain in existence; last.
Forever – for all future time; for always.
 
“… do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”2 Peter 3:8
 
“Love is patient, love is kind. … Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”1 Corinthians 13:4a, 6-7
 
          The love of God is a remarkable thing. It is unconditional and everlasting. We are His creation. Just like an earthly parent will always love his children, God will always love us. Psalm 136 has 26 verses, each with two statements separated by a comma. The second statement in each verse is the same: “His love endures forever.” It was sung as a hymn by God’s people as evidenced in 2 Chronicles 7. This particular Psalm speaks of God’s greatness, deliverance of Israel from Egypt, His protection in the wilderness and Israel’s entrance in the Promised Land. Israel had much to be thankful for, for they had experienced the love of God first hand. We also experience that love in that we have air to breath and food to eat each day. 1 Corinthians 10:26 tells us that “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” There is no good thing that God has not had His hand in.
          When we see the word ‘endure’, what do we think of? I know the first thing that comes to my mind is its association with pain and suffering; however, the dictionary shows us a second meaning: ‘remaining or lasting’. There is no end to the love God has for us. It goes on until time ceases to exist and there is no indication that it will end at all. The love of God for us is unchanging. There is never a time when He does not love us. Even in our sin He still loves us. If He did not, why would He send Christ to pay the sin debt of those He hated?
          Forever is a very long time. We need to understand that time is irrelevant to the creator of all things. Scripture is clear: one single day, which seems to drag on for an eternity for us at times, is just like 1000 years to our God. So when God says He will bring something to pass, time is not taken into account. He knows exactly when we need what we need and will not fail us. That is how great His love is for us. God is patient and kind with us, He always protects us and trusts us to do that which He has proclaimed. No matter what may happen to us in our lifetime, we can always rely on the fact that God’s love for us will never fail; it shall endure for all time.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WHAT GOD HAS DONE

“Give praise to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” - 1 Chronicles 16:8
          What has the Lord done for you? Do you even know? There are the obvious things that I will get into in a moment, but frankly, there are some things orchestrated by God that take place in our lives that we experience, never realizing His hand was in it. We are called to make His mighty deeds known far and wide. That doesn’t mean we are supposed to fly around the world extolling the virtues and deeds of our God any more than “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17) means we are to never, ever stop praying … as in 24/7, 365 days of the year without stopping. We are simply to testify of His mighty deeds and glorious mercy when called upon or when an opportunity presents itself. We are to lift up the name of Jesus continually and call on Him when necessary.
          So let’s take a look at what God has done for us. He has made himself accessible to the masses by virtue of the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the Most Holy Place in the Temple being torn from top to bottom. This symbolizes the fact that God opened access to Himself for all people. No longer did they have to meet with God via the High Priest. The veil was “40 cubits (60 feet) long, and 20 (30 feet) wide, of the thickness of the palm of the hand”.* It reportedly took 300 priests to put it in place so no mortal man tore it in half; especially not top to bottom.
          God allowed gentiles to be grafted into the family due to the Jews rejection of Christ (Romans 17:7). We can assume gentiles were the ones grafted in since it is said to Roman gentiles by Paul in his letter to them. So all had access to the forgiveness God freely gave. God provided a payment for our sins in the form of Jesus Christ, His only Son. Without acceptance of Christ there is no forgiveness and therefore we must pay for our sins ourselves, which we are unable to do. God also provides to those who have entered in: His grace, mercy, peace, joy, contentment, fulfillment, and so much more. Scripture says “eye has not seen, nor ear heard that which the Father has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
           We have much to be grateful for. God has saved us and all He asks in return is our unflagging obedience and our unending praise. In the words of the old WHO classic: “I call that a bargain … the best I ever had.”

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!!


* Alfred Edersheim; The Life & Times of Jesus the Messiah; Hendrickson Publishers; 1993.