BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

BECOME LIKE A CHILD

John 1:10-12 “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God … .”

          Jesus of Nazareth came into the world two thousand years ago and the people of the day didn’t have any idea who He was. He came as the Messiah to the Jews and they rejected Him, seeking a warrior king to defeat the Romans. But there were those who did accept Jesus and as a result received something far more important than just knowing Him; they received redemption, freedom from all sin. Their slate was clean. They got a do over as we would put it. The people of the day that realized He was something more than just a mere man were compelled to follow Him. They were His flock and He was their shepherd. He taught them the things of God and while they may not have understood all that He said to them, they saw the miracles He performed with their own eyes. He was either a liar, a crazy man or He was exactly who He said He was – the Son of God. The people were fascinated by Him as He calmly flowed in and around them speaking of love, peace, mercy and forgiveness.
          If you had the chance to become a child again, would you? With all the responsibilities that we take on and the heavy weight of some of them, we may think we’d love to be a little child again. Carefree, light hearted, not a care in the world. When Jesus ushers us into His family saying that we are now the children of God that is not exactly what he means. We obviously don’t become little children again, but rather should display some of the characteristics of little children; wonder, astonishment, trust, belief, love, respect, faith. The faith children have is simplistic and unquestioning. It is the type of faith a believer is to have.

Matthew 18:1-4 “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child, whom he placed among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes a humble place—becoming like this child—is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”

          Life can be so simple, yet we make it some complicated. The more things we attach ourselves to the more complex things become. We should consider shedding our attachments and simplify our lives. Keep Christ the main focal point and strive to become as little children with regards to our belief in God.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

BE A LIGHT

Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

light•house 1: a structure (as a tower) with a powerful light that gives a continuous or intermittent signal to navigators.

          When I read this verse of scripture it makes me think of lighthouses. They come in various shapes and sizes, yet it appears that most are cylindrical or more correctly, conical (have a cone-like shape). The reason for this shape is that it allows the fierce winds that can tend to buffet a coast to flow freely around it. The light it emits is to guide the navigators of the seas so they don't crash upon the rocks. Some are used to guide them through water inlets as well. They are no longer used much because of the expense of upkeep and the emergence of modern technology, however, still dot coastlines throughout the world as a reminder of days gone by.
          As Christians, we are to be lights set upon a hill. We are also to not allow our lights to be extinguished. The message we carry is of great importance to the world. Just like an extinguished lighthouse beacon can spell doom for seafaring sailors, so an ineffective Christian can spell doom to those in need of redemption. Each individual makes contact with some that no one else have access to. We have association with people who respect us and listen to what we have to say. We are not to hide our light under a bushel, ignoring the needs of others. We must feed our spirit man so that our light burns bright as the noon day sun.
          Lighthouses are majestic in appearance and of great value in that they represent a part of our history as a civilization. We, as believers, are invaluable to God who made us. We represent His handiwork and are a part of a spiritual history that has stood the test of time. We need to be proud of our heritage as Christians and strive to do the work of God and be His hand extended where He places us. Don’t extinguish the light that is within you, let is shine out for all to see.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 36

          Life can be a peculiar thing. One day you’re flying high and all is right with the world, the next everything comes crashing down. I have spent more time in my life apologizing for idiotic things I have either said or done that I am nearly exhausted. You would think I would have learned my lessons by now, but I still say and do some pretty stupid things from time to time. I believe I am starting to learn though. At 57 years of age I think it’s about time. Through all the rubble that has been left in my wake, there is hope. I serve a patient God who knows me so much better than I know myself. I am trying not to look backward at the rubble, but rather forward at the promise of a new tomorrow. God has been very gracious and kind to me in spite of my own stupidity. Yes, I am incredibly hard on myself, but I always have been so that is no surprise. Perhaps being hard on myself has been a godsend in a way for I always knew better than the way I was acting and held myself to a lofty goal of living right. God didn’t look at my past mistakes and cast me aside, but rather embraced me and gave me the love and patience I needed to get to where I am now. The books I write are from a heart that has been bruised and beaten up, yet still has passion for God. I love God so much and yet have never seen Him. I know that is possible because I have a relationship just like that this side of heaven. I know a dear brother in Christ who lives in Tulsa, OK. I have never laid eyes on him either, but he has been a source of kindness, acceptance and inspiration through the last 9 years we have known each other. It is that relationship that helps me accept that God is real and it doesn’t matter one little bit that I cannot see Him. Without God I have no idea where I would be or what I would be doing, but I know this, it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting or rewarding.

Lord, thank You for my life. You saved me from myself and for that I am eternally grateful. Help me live a better life for You.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

THE JOY OF THE CROSS

Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
         
          Chapter eleven of Hebrews details the faith exhibited by some of the great patriarchs of the Old Testament. That is the lead in to the beginning of chapter twelve. It’s as if our life for Christ is a race and the crowd cheering us on are those who came before us and have already finished their race. We are to push forward regardless of our circumstances, shrugging off the temptations that seek to hinder and entangle us. We are to keep in our mind’s eye all that Christ endured for us. We are to strive for the goal, which is heaven. We are to press on through the many hills and valleys we encounter in our lives. We are to remember what Christ willingly did for our redemption. We mustn’t grow weary and lose heart, but rather draw strength from God’s Spirit that is within us. There is nothing that is impossible if God is in it. Run off on a tangent path and we’ll get lost. Stay focused and fixed on the prize that awaits all who live for the King and we will succeed in this life and the next. God knows what He has planned for us. He wishes only good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11); He wishes us to prosper even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2).
          I can honestly say that if I were to be confronted with the task of being crucified on a wooden cross for something I didn’t do I would be a little less than enthusiastic about it. However, it says in verse two above that Christ considered it joy to endure the cross. What!? Joy? I can think of a number of joyful moments in my life and none of them even remotely resembles death on a cross. Christ undoubtedly envisioned what His death on that cross would do. If He turned away, refusing to go through with it, our sin would not have been paid for and we would still have that debt held against us. There was no other way. God, the Father, had ordained it from the beginning of time. It is too much to fathom, too much to take in. We are incapable of understanding with our finite minds why anyone would suffer a gruesome death at the hands of brutal men. Christ could have called on angels to assist Him, wiping out all opposition in mere seconds, but He knew the purpose of what He was doing and pressed on. Just as we are to press on, only we are not pressing on to our death, but rather to new life. It is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Our faith comes from believing in Christ who purchased our freedom from sin with His own blood. Embrace the wonderful mystery of being loved by one unseen.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

THE EYES OF FAITH

Hebrews 11:1,3 (AMP) “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. … By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible."

          It’s easy to believe something we can see, touch and taste. No faith is required. The Amplified translation of the essential definition of ‘faith’ expands that definition to make its’ meaning a little more clear. The faith we have in God is our own personal confirmation that the things we believe are real despite not yet being revealed to our senses. Faith and trust go hand in hand. We believe that things are so without a shred of visible proof and place our trust in that which we believe. Our faith becomes stronger as our belief becomes experiential. Living our faith reveals new facets of our belief system to us if we are paying attention for we begin to see things through spiritual eyes. People throughout the centuries have had faith in many things however faith in God has stood the test of time. We seek Him and are satisfied that He hears and moves on our behalf. When we trust only in that which we can see our life is confined to our own limited sight and that which is directly around us. When we place faith in a limitless God, our vision is expanded to see all of eternity.
          Our faith doesn’t grow without being exercised. We must spend time with the exerciser of our faith, namely God. He will test our faith, allowing it the chance to grow stronger and expand over time. Patience is required for everything in God’s universe to take time. While some things occur immediately, delays are common. This is where trust and patience come into play. God knows what He’s doing. He is slowly molding us and making us into all He knows we can be for Him. Our lives are not for our pleasure alone, but for God’s pleasure. It is in living a life of faith within the parameters God has set that our greatest fulfillment comes. We often buck and strain at the leash, but to have our own way could potentially be disastrous. God rewards those who have set their eyes on Him and Him alone. Doing our own thing isn’t an option, for it falls outside what our Heavenly Father knows is best for us. This doesn’t mean we cannot do anything without first consulting God. What it means is that if our faith and trust is deeply rooted in God, we will seek to please Him in all we think, say and do. It is by this set of standards we ourselves have established through the precepts we find in His word that we will find all that we seek in this life. The peace, love, comfort, guidance and hope we all seek can be found nowhere else and in no one else.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SEEKING THE FACE OF GOD

Psalm 119:36-37 “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.”

          It is so easy to get caught up in the things of this world. Life’s demands pull at us constantly. It is the challenge of the Christian to seek the face of God regularly and learn of His ways continuously so that they do not get so easily entangled in that which is worthless. It is by utilizing the guidance and direction given by the Spirit of God that we are able to keep our eyes focused on the prize that awaits us and not by striving to achieve riches and ‘things’ this side of heaven. Keeping God in the forefront of our minds and not as an afterthought is a good start. Considering what Christ would do in any given situation is an excellent rule of thumb. It is in the infrequent quiet times that we can find rest and replenish our spiritual batteries. Letting God into our lives daily provides the jolt to our spirit man that we require to keep our hearts turned toward Him. No other entity can do for us what God can do and yet we seem to find time for everything and everyone else. It’s a discipline that must be cultivated.
          Our lives will be preserved by seeking and serving God. The heart that plugs into the Spirit of God will be revitalized. As our focus is on those things that truly matter, the eternal things, we will shed our selfish ways and seek to live pleasing lives for our Heavenly Father. It is then that we shall see amazing things take place that can only be seen through the eyes of faith. Having our hearts turned towards God will keep us from being involved in frivolous endeavors. Having our hearts turned towards His statutes will help us know how to live rightly in the face of temptations. It is our choice. The free will we have been given allows us that option. We can acknowledge the truth we hear from our pulpits and read in His word or we can water it down, considering it non-essential to our lives or we can embrace it and allow it to change us from within. God will never make us serve Him. We have received the gift of His redemptive work on the cross. Is that where our walk with Him ends? Do we turn away once the debt is paid or do we dedicate our lives to a walk that will lead us home? We must make that decision daily. What would God have me to do for Him today? It’s not all about us, but something much bigger. We can make a difference in their crazy, mixed up world. Choose to serve others through Christ rather than ourselves, for when we are self-serving we achieve nothing of any eternal value. God loves and knows what we need. Lock into the mind of God.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

FREE TO CHOOSE

Psalm 115:2-3 “Why do the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.”
Psalm 14:1-3 “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God. They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one.”

          It’s a matter of control. People who say that there is no God believe that the perceived restrictions that ‘religion’ brings would put a damper on their lives. They believe they are running their lives just fine without some mystical spirit being calling the shots. They make fun of Christians and revel in their own foolishness never realizing that what they ridicule can save them from the corruption that is eating them alive. First of all, they are mistaken regarding the whole control issue. It is the very free will that they enjoy which allows them to shun God in the first place. If God truly wanted to control them, He would and they would have nothing to say about it. Secondly, it is not about religion at all, but rather about a relationship that is cultivated. The closer we get to God the more we begin to understand. Those that shun God would rather place their faith and trust in something, anything else but God. Those who believe that God is who He says He is have chosen of their own volition to love, serve and worship Him. No one has ever forced anyone to believe in or serve Jehovah God. Now there are some around the world that have actually killed those who made the choice to believe in God, but no one is forced to believe.
          In the case of those that do believe we realize that God is real and because of that realization we are compelled by love and our own limited understanding to serve Him as best we can with the assistance of His Holy Spirit. We have allowed God to infiltrate our minds and hearts and make alterations in us from within. It was our choice to do that. We choose to read His word, we choose to go to church, we choose to praise God, and we choose to live for Him. No one forces us to do any of that. Our compulsion came from our understanding that what scripture says of Him makes sense and is true. It’s easier to disbelieve something than it is to believe it, just like it is easier to lie than it is to tell the truth. Each comes with a price attached to it. Those that refuse to believe there is a God will have to pay their sin debt all by themselves. Those that believe have had that debt paid for them. The non-believer thinks they have complete control over their own lives, but nothing could be further from the truth. They are unwilling, unknowing pawns used by Satan. He does as he pleases with them. Not so with the Christian. The closer we draw to God the closer He draws to us and the more we feel His presence. He lovingly leads us into that which will benefit us the most. We are not controlled, but rather consciously committed to the One who loved us so much that He died for us.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

CHILDLIKE FAITH

Matthew 19:14 “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”

          Children are a wonderful blessing from God. They are remarkable creations. As they grow they begin to look to us for sustenance and assistance. They start to rely on us and trust us. Trust is synonymous with faith and it is there that our comparison lies; we are to have faith and trust in our God the way a small child has faith and trust in their parents. We take care of our children, God takes care of us. Logic has nothing to do with it. Finances and cool calculations have nothing to do with it. It’s not anything that we have to figure out; it’s simply learning to rely on God for everything. It is more difficult for an individual who wasn’t brought up in a home whose parents have strong faith. We grow up learning to question anything and everything we don’t understand. Faith in God isn’t something that is all that easy to understand in the beginning. Sometimes it never does make a whole lot of sense to us, believing in an unseen spirit being and all. But just as that small child trusts their parents without hesitation, we too are to trust the One who created us in our mother’s womb as well.          
          The kingdom of heaven is made up of those who have readily and unhesitatingly received and believed in the One who is unseen. While there is an element of mystery to it all, becoming comfortable in our faith erases that. Eventually it is not mysterious at all as we rely more and more on the maker of the stars and the heavens. It strikes me as odd that some folks would rather bash faith as something for the weak minded, instead of seriously considering it as an alternative to the way they are living. Selfish, self-absorbed people who have no intention of letting go of the power and control they think they have over their own lives. Little do they realize that they actually have no power or control over anything. We all must understand what the kingdom of heaven truly is: a place where evil cannot dwell and faith, trust, peace and mercy reside. It takes seeing it through the eyes of a child to understand.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

THE SIN SACRIFICE

Romans 3:22b-24 “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Ecclesiastes 7:20 “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.”
1 John 1:8-9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

          It’s true, we are sinners. We always have been. Even after our sins are washed clean by the blood of Christ we still sin. We must accept this as fact in order to truly understand what Christ has done for us, for without Christ we would simply live and die in our sinful state with no hope of redemption. Think about what Christ has done. Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but also God Himself as part of the Triune Godhead (Father, Son & Holy Spirit). He stepped down from His throne, became man and willingly went to a criminal’s death on a cross for you and me. There are none righteous … NONE. If we don’t believe that then we are deceiving ourselves. We cannot save ourselves. We are unable to pay the sin debt owed to Almighty God. Our hearts are dark and wracked with evil. Left to our own devices we would crawl back to sin like a dog returns to its’ vomit. We are in need of a savior and we have one.
          Jesus Christ gave Himself as a sacrifice for all mankind. He bore our sins and the weight of them was excruciating. His temporary separation from the Father was agonizing. He went to hell and came back with the keys to death and the grave. His resurrection completed God’s plan for the redemption of all creation. However, some feel they aren’t in need of saving. Christianity is for the weak-willed, the feeble minded. It is for those who cannot pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and make it on their own in this life. Some folks believe in anything but that which can truly set them free. Our free will to choose allows that. What a sad day it will be when Christ comes and millions are left behind because they refused to see what was laid out right in front of them. Search your heart and ask God to reveal Himself to you, for He doesn’t wish that any perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). The clock is ticking.
          For the believer, your sin has been removed. Your sin debt has been paid in full. Rejoice in the fact that God’s love is so great and unending that He bought you with His own blood to redeem you from yourselves. We can do nothing without Christ, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

THE HAND OF GOD

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

fear - 1: an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger 2: anxious concern 3: profound reverence and awe especially toward God 4: reason for alarm : danger.
dis•may - 1: to cause to lose courage or resolution (because of alarm or fear) 2: upset, perturbed.

          What encouragement the second portion of this verse should provide to us in our most critical times, when fear and dismay tend to kick in. We are essentially told we have no need to feel anxious, concerned or alarmed. We are told to not lose our courage or resolve. In the face of so many disheartening events that could potentially come at us, we are told that our Heavenly Father will strengthen us and help us; He will lift us up and be our salvation in our most desperate times. Sometimes our worst enemy is ourselves. We overreact to those things that we see or perceive to be a reality. Our adrenaline kicks in and our emotions are quickly off to the races. We no longer need to be engaged in that. We should take a deep breath, exhale slowly and know in our spirit that God sees what is happening and has things under control. We may get buffeted about, but we will also come out stronger in our faith if we rely on God to help us.
           The Bible gives God human characteristics; in this case a hand. Now God is a spirit so He cannot have a hand, but so we can visualize Him and the assistance He will give us, we see it in scripture as something we can relate to, a hand. When people help one another, they “give them a hand”. So we can see in our minds eye the figurative righteous right hand of God aiding us in our most critical time of need. It helps us see it a lot better than just telling us God will help us. God loves each and every one of us and wishes to help us succeed in this life for Him. True success is not measured in monetary or materialistic terms. It is measured by character and how we spend the things God has given us. Everything we have is on loan to us: our bodies, our very lives, our money, and our families. God gave them to us. We are to treat them with the same awe and respect we are to show God Himself. We have nothing to fear in this life. The only thing we need to fear is God and even that fear is found in our reverence and awe of Him, not being scared of Him. He knows our current circumstances and will help us in our times of need.

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

THE WORD OF GOD

Psalm 119:33-37 “Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end.
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.”

           While this is considered by many to be one of David’s Psalms for structural and content reasons, his name doesn’t appear in the beginning as the author, so it is generally considered one of the “orphan psalms”. It is the longest chapter in the Bible at 176 verses and has long been read for its’ inspiration.
          The writer implores God to teach him His ways. Key words are littered through these four verses: teach me, give me understanding, direct me, turn my heart, and turn my eyes. The writer is asking God to take action on his behalf for a specific reason; he wants to follow God’s decrees, keep His laws, and not turn toward selfish gain or worthless things. How badly do we all need to pray this for ourselves? I know I have stumbled badly throughout my walk with God and need to commit these verses to memory and then live them. Saying these words and following through are two completely different things. Our world is filled with distractions that draw us away from the things of God. We become so easily entangled with obligations and chores, leaving little time to seek God. It is in God that we find what we are truly looking for and need so badly: peace, contentment, comfort, love, forgiveness, mercy. These are found in no one else.
          Once we get into the word of God and allow it to speak to us, it will change our perspective on things. Sure, we must tend to things during the day, but we needn’t allow those things to dictate our lives. Within the Bible lies a wide variety of truth, inspiration, wisdom, encouragement and guidance to last a lifetime. Let God into your daily life. Seek His face and pray for others. Watch God work as you rely a little more on Him each day.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

          The word of God can speak to the human heart like nothing else can. It’s God’s instruction manual for life. Let it minister to you in the deepest part of your heart. Allow your spirit to connect with the Spirit of God and feed on His wisdom. His word will give you strength and encouragement even in your darkest hour. God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). He will not forsake or abandon you (Deuteronomy 31:6). God can be relied upon, just like His word, to take you in life where you need to go for His glory.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

BELIEVING THE UNSEEN

Romans 1:17 “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed —a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

          Why is having faith important? To not have faith is to believe only what you can see, taste and touch for yourself. To not have faith is to be like ‘Doubting’ Thomas who wouldn’t believe Christ was alive from the dead until he could touch where the nails had entered His hands and where the spear had pierced His side (John 20:19-31). We are being asked as Christians to believe in the unseen. The world says “seeing is believing”; Christians say “not seeing we believe anyway”. It must seem strange to non-believers that those who believe place their trust in something or someone they cannot sit down and have a conversation with. Believing such a thing defies logic. Even the fact that a man would willingly die for another man is illogical. Who would do such a thing? It boggles the mind of believers and non-believers alike. Yet we are not being asked to understand it; there is nothing to figure out. Belief and trust is what we are being asked to embrace; belief in an unseen deity who exists in an unseen spiritual realm.
          Once we let go of our sensibilities and consider the possibilities of such a thing actually being true, we open ourselves up to God’s Spirit, who can expand our vision and ignite the ember that resides within us all. Once we give God the chance to change us from the inside out, we will never be the same. Everything looks different; we begin to see things we never saw before. We see things through spiritual eyes.
          We are not just asked to belief but also to rely on God. Believing is one thing, but allowing God to guide and direct you is quite another. As we begin to know God better through reading and hearing the word preached, we start to embark on a wonderful journey. We need to be Christ centered in our thinking and our actions. It’s a growing process that never ends. If we allow God to do His work in us it will be impossible to remain the same as we once were.
          We are seen by God as righteous through our acceptance of the forgiveness freely given. Our righteousness was born out of our faith to believe the unseen. A heavy price was paid for our redemption. A price we were and still are unable to pay. We must live our lives soberly, enjoying it, but not abusing it. In the end our lives speak volumes to those all around us. Make your life count for the kingdom.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

HE PAID A DEBT HE DID NOT OWE

Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”

            A whole lot of people struggle with credit card debt, but at least that debt can be paid down slowly and eliminated. We carry a debt that we cannot pay and that is the debt owed to God for our sin. According to God we were dead in our sins. For those of us who accepted His gracious gift of forgiveness through salvation as afforded to us by the blood Christ shed on Calvary’s cross, we are no longer dead but rather alive. The ember that exists in everyone has been fanned into a flame by God’s Holy Spirit and we are now free from the shackles our sin held us in. The debt has been removed, paid in its’ entirety. A big PAID IN FULL has been stamped on our account.

Psalm 103:12 “… as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
            The sins that we have committed, when forgiven, are never remembered against us again. In Micah, the prophet speaks of God having compassion on the Israelites, hurling their sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). It has been lyrically referred to as the “sea of forgetfulness”. Now God doesn’t forget our sins, for that would constitute a flaw in Him, but rather chooses to not remember them against us. He doesn’t hold our sins that have been covered in Christ’s blood against us ever again. We have been justified, which simply put means, “just as if I’d never sinned”. What joyous news! However, we mustn’t allow His grace to become a cheap thing to us by living as we please after our debt has been removed. We should feel compelled to praise Him and live according to His precepts, for no one else can pay our debt.
            Treating the debt as if it doesn’t exist, thus negating the payment necessary in our own minds creates a fa├žade that everything is well with us when nothing could be further from the truth. Just as the creditors will come knocking on your door for that credit card debt that goes unpaid, so God will require payment some day. Don’t miss the chance of a lifetime to live for Him who paid the debt you could never in a million years pay yourself.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 35

“It’s so hard to see what you see in me / Would you lay it out for me?”
- Best I Can by Decyfer Down

            That’s the way I feel sometimes. “God, what on earth do You see in me that makes You want to love me the way you do?” You see, I know myself all too well, but so does God. Decyfer Down is a Christian Rock group. Their song Best I Can ministers to me because it acknowledges our sinfulness and our efforts to try to improve. God knows we are trying, if we truly are and comes to our aid if necessary. Any struggles I have had have largely been my own doing. A bad decision here, poor judgment there and voila, you have a big mess, hurts and all. I’m reminded of Paul’s poignant words in Romans 7:15-16a, 18b-20 and 24 …

“ I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, … I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. … What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

           God provides the answer to Paul’s question in Jesus Christ. Yes, we are most definitely wretched men in our words, thoughts and deeds. Not 100% of the time, but much of the time. We can do nothing to please God in and of ourselves. God knew this and sent the solution for our dilemma; His Son. Christ’s death frees us from our sin if we allow it to; if we embrace it and allow it to transform us so that we are a little less wretched each day. It is not all about us; it is about living for God one day at a time.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

CHRIST EXALTED

Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

            Jesus, who is God, came to earth to play out the Father’s plan for the redemption of mankind. When He died on the cross He went to hell and back, thus defeating Satan. Therefore He came from the Father’s right hand, went below and rose up to heaven again giving Jesus / God clear dominion of all regions. All who exist in heaven, on earth and in hell shall one day kneel and declare Him Lord. God’s plans are never thwarted. Don’t forget, He is all-powerful, all-knowing and in all places at one time by His Spirit. There is no one else in existence who can say that. And there is no one in creation who can challenge Him. There are those who fancy themselves as gods or at least it seems that way by their words and actions, but even they will be compelled to bow before Christ on that appointed day.
            This should be an encouragement to all believers. That shall be the final victory proving once and for all that no one in all creation can resist bowing down to the Lord Jesus Christ. God shall receive all glory as is due Him. No one shall steal His thunder on that day. We, as believers, must live lives worthy of the grace He has freely given to us. The mercy He has shown in the face of our unbridled impudence is truly remarkable. The restraint God shows in light of the fact that He could obliterate us with one finger is evidence of His great and unwavering love for His children. Kneeling before Christ one day will be a privilege and an honor, for we do so in our hearts now; then we can do it in His presence.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

HONOR GOD

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”

            These verses are part of Moses’ second of three sermons or speeches given to the Israelites just prior to their entering into the Promised Land of Canaan. What can we take from these verses for ourselves today? If a person is of a mind to believe that God exists and that His written Word, the Bible, is true, then it isn’t that big of a stretch to see that abilities we have are God-given. Yet some of us end up choosing to believe at some point that we have accomplished things by the might of our own hands and the use of our own intellect. We must remember two very important things in this life that God has given us: 1) we are not greater than the One Who made us; 2) any wealth we acquire is on loan to us and not really ours at all.
            We are to remember the Lord in our daily comings and goings. We are to honor Him with our lives. We are to seek His counsel regarding matters that concern us or those we love. We are to always remember than what we produce in this life is to help sustain us, yet is to also be dispersed liberally to those in need around us, for God is JEHOVAH-jireh*, our provider - we shall not lack anything we need. There is no sin in acquiring wealth, it is in the hording of it that sin resides. Our ability to learn and function with the information we have acquired has been given to us by God. Don’t be fooled into thinking that we are self-made men, thus cutting God out of the equation altogether. Stand in awe of His greatness and give Him praise for all He has done. While we think we know so very much, in reality, we know nothing in comparison to the vast and unending knowledge of our Creator. Acknowledge His greatness, for those who embrace their own perceived greatness shall find that it very well may be their own demise. It doesn’t have to be that way, for inherent in our praise of Him lies our reverence for Him. Live a life worthy of His honor.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* It is more accurately written YAWEH-yireh or YHWH will provide.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

            The prophet Jeremiah tells us that with great power God made everything we see. The next statement should encourage us as he declares that there is nothing that is too difficult for God to accomplish. Like a confident Master Chef who is up to any culinary challenge, there is nothing God cannot create. I’m just silly enough to honestly believe that if He needed something to aid one of His children and it didn’t yet exist, God would create it just to meet our need. But is it really all that silly of a thought? We are dealing with a Spirit being Who created some pretty intricate stuff. Do we honestly think that at the end of the sixth day He said “okay … done with all that? No more creating for me.” I am of a mind that nothing is impossible for God. If you can imagine it, He can do it - and why not? He is the One is said to be all powerful, all knowing and in all places at the same time.

Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”
Mark 10:27 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With human beings this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’”
Luke 18:27 “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with human beings is possible with God.’”

            The Gospel writers are in agreement. They were each there when Jesus said these words and chronicled the event. It is clear; for the true believer there is truly nothing impossible for our God. Understand this though, that doesn’t mean that just by asking you will have a brand new 2013 Lamborghini in your driveway when you wake up tomorrow morning. God has a specific purpose for whatever He does. Nothing is frivolous in God’s realm. Whatever you need you shall have in one form or another. We must trust Him to provide that which we need. What we want may or may not be in His plans. God truly knows what is best for His children. It is quite obvious we are not greater than the One who created us. We know what we want, but many times are clueless as to what we need. Have faith in the One true God for which nothing is impossible and trust Him to take care of you.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

GOD'S GOOD WORK

Philippians 1:6 “… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

            As believers in Christ we can be confident in our future. God isn’t going anywhere. That which has begun within us shall continue on until the 2nd Coming of Christ. This should be encouraging to us. God isn’t going to give up on us. No matter what silly mistakes we make or how many times we ignore His instruction. His patience is shown throughout scripture. Patience is a characteristic born out of love. If we truly love someone we will give them a lot of latitude when it comes to their conduct. God is no different. His good work in us is representative of the sanctification process that began once we accepted Christ into our hearts. Notice I said process.

            sanc•ti•fi•ca•tion  1: to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use.*

            Sanctification is both instantaneous and progressive. Instantaneous because at the moment we are forgiven we are seen by God through the blood of Christ making us, in His eyes, totally sanctified. Progressive because in reality the process of being made holy and set apart takes our whole lives. God has a purpose and plan to use each one of us in some form or fashion. Just as the High Priest sanctifies that which is used to make an offering suitable to present to God, so God sanctifies us that we might be used for His glory. So based on this verse in Philippians, we could say that we are a work in progress. Until Jesus appears in the clouds to take us home with Him we are to be seeking instruction and serving our Heavenly Father; but we buck at that. We don’t want to miss out on anything perceived to be fun. Christians are not to be sitting in a darkened room with a lone candle burning studying scripture all day long. We are to get out and mingle with the masses. Rub elbows with those the world has cast aside. We are being set apart for God’s use. It’s a serious responsibility we have, yet a small price to pay for a clean slate. It is a price we can ill afford to pay. We owe our lives to the payer of our debt, Jesus Christ, who will continue to sharpen us as we allow.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* Consecration is also a word that can be used for this process; a setting apart for God’s use.

Monday, July 9, 2012

IMMEASURABLE LOVE

Ephesians 3:20-21 “ 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.”

            With our finite minds, we are incapable of comprehending all that God is or what He is able to do. Could there possibly be anything He is not able to do for us? If there was He couldn’t be who He says He is, an all powerful, all knowing God who is everywhere at all times. For a people who struggle with things they cannot see, touch or taste for themselves, it is nearly impossible to fathom. If you truly believe in God then you must believe His word is true and accept it for what it says. There is no situation He cannot pull you out of, no problem He cannot help you solve, no where you can go that He is not already there. He isn’t a genie in a bottle who grants your every desire. He is Almighty God, the creator of the universe, who loves His creation and is there to oversee all that transpires.
            We tend as a people to focus on all the things we perceive God has not done. We grow impatient when things do not go as we think they should. We are a selfish, self absorbed people who have a bad tendency to only think of ourselves. Yet God loves us. He understands us. He knows us through and through. There is nothing we can say or do to cause Him to change His mind about us. We are His children, and just like a parent will always love his or her own child no matter what, God shall always love us … unconditionally.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 34

          I was in Washington DC over the 4th of July holiday and man was it ever hot. The heat index on one of the days was 104. Ugh. My discomfort was marginalized when I saw something very sad. On my way back to the hotel after the fireworks display by the Washington Monument, I saw in the shadow of the IRS building no less, homeless people sleeping on benches. Not just one, but many. I saw a young woman, who appeared to be college aged, sleeping in a doorway. How could I complain when all I had to do was walk a few miles back to my nice cozy bed? I couldn’t.
          The next day I visited the Holocaust Museum. How humbling. I know people who believe it was a grand hoax. I don’t believe that for one second. Any time I ever think my life is hard, I must remember what those poor people lived through and in millions of cases died from. Death based on pure hatred and prejudice. May God protect us from ourselves and may He strike down anyone who would ever attempt to do such a heinous thing in the future.
            I plan to return to DC again in the fall when it is not so hot. I will go see things I missed this time around and will return to the Holocaust Museum to take it all in a second time. It was and will be time well spent.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana

Friday, July 6, 2012

GOD'S WORD

Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

            If we believe the Bible is God’s word for us as Christians, then this verse tells us something very important: that His word shall never leave us. It will always be the true standard to live by and will never diminish in power and effectiveness to speak to us and provide guidance and instruction. This is incredible news in a world where change is the norm in the name of progress. The consistency and stability of God’s word provides hope to us. Just as God shall never change in any way, shape or form, so His word shall not either.
            We can be assured that heaven and earth shall one day not exist, however, God always was, is and shall be. He is the great I AM THAT I AM. It takes faith and trust to believe anything, let alone in an unseen spirit Deity who proclaims His love for us mainly in written form. But as we open up to Him, God reveals untold mysteries and points us in the direction we are to go in this life. We can feel His love for us in every chapter of scripture. The death that His own Son endured willingly as a part of God’s salvation plan shouts out His mercy, grace and forgiveness. His words are true and neither God, nor His word shall ever pass away.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

SYMBOLISM IN SCRIPTURE

Matthew 3:16-17 (GOD’S WORD Translation) “After Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up from the water. Suddenly, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down as a dove to him. Then a voice from heaven said, “‘This is my Son, whom I love—my Son with whom I am pleased.’”

            Here we see our Heavenly Father proclaiming that Jesus is His Son. The dove coming down from the heavens to Him is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. In our day, the dove is used most commonly in non-Christian circles as a symbol of peace, often times with an olive branch in its mouth. While Jesus is the embodiment of peace, it is the Holy Spirit that is paramount in this case and not the ever elusive ‘peace’. The Holy Spirit is given to us as a guide and advocate. He is readily available to us at all times and resides within us if we have received redemption. The gift of the Spirit is secondary to salvation of course, but He is most necessary in our walk with Christ. Going it alone in this life is like going out of your house without clothing. It is like going into battle without a weapon. We certainly wouldn’t do that, so why do we go about our business without a second thought given to our greatest help?
            There is a second lesson in these two verses for us and that is the issue of baptism. It is a public proclamation of the change that has taken place in our life. We are to follow Jesus’ example in baptism, which is symbolic of the old nature dying and the new nature rising up from a watering grave to live on. It is done in the name of the Triune God; the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Obedience is sought by our God. It’s the least we can do in response to what has been done for us.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

ONE NATION UNDER GOD

Psalm 33:12a “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.”

            The people of His inheritance is Israel, however, because of their rejection of Christ , the door was opened for gentiles to receive God’s grace and mercy. This great country of ours was founded on such principles. Sadly, the influence of Satan has permeated much of our landscape. Being given a free will to choose allows us to do as we please. The positive side of that is that when we choose to serve God we do so willingly without coercion. We don’t have to follow the ways of God, but we can. The United States of America was and is great because its’ people as a whole are great. There are still millions of Americans who love this country and believe strongly in God.
            This nation is currently on a path of destruction. Poor decisions and poor leadership have taken us here. We can rise up as one nation under God again, but it will take the commitment of believers to pray each day that our nation might rise up as a beacon for God among the nations. Freedom is not, nor was it ever free. It was bought with a price. Let us not be reckless, but strong in the face of adversity. May God’s perfect will be done for our great nation.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

OUR PEACE PROVIDER

Proverbs 14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

            Peace seems unattainable at times. We struggle through life seeking it, yet it appears to be so far from us. We worry about that which we have no control. We envy those who have what we desire. We desire temporal things that will be discarded shortly after. It is only when we come to the realization that God has a plan for us that peace reveals itself.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper    you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

            We have nothing to fear and nothing to envy. God knows what we need. We will be at peace in our minds and bodies if we surrender and submit to the plans He has for us. We may not have any idea what they are, but we can rely on His truth and His past performance throughout scripture to show us the way to peace.
            In peace we find rest. Rest is necessary for our bodies to recuperate from the strain of life. We can put our minds at rest by accepting that God has everything under control. Things may not be going the way we think they should or the way we would do them, but they will turn out the way God knows they need to. Our entire belief system is built on a cornerstone of faith and trust in God. Faith and trust give birth to hope, which in turn gives birth to peace. Peace gives life to our bodies and rest to our souls. Peace is within our grasp. It comes from understanding that we cannot solve things ourselves, but we know who can. Rely on God to provide you with peace today.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

NOTHING ESCAPES GOD

Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward everyone according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’”

            Man thinks he is sly. He thinks that his comings and his goings go undetected. He thinks his thoughts are his own. How wrong he is. God knows the heart and mind of each one of us. Instead of looking at the wrong doers and their plight, I want to put a positive spin on these verses.
            God knows when we are lonely or in pain. He sees our hearts. He knows the things that prey on our minds. We should take comfort in that. He cares – He cares very deeply. He created us and just like a mother cares for and unconditionally loves her own child, God cares for and unconditionally loves us. We may fall into a pattern of deceitful behavior, but our God still cares. Our minds may think wrong thoughts, but God knows that we are from dust and to dust we shall return. He loves us.
            God’s acceptance of us and ever watchful eye should fill us with boldness. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, our heart should become less and less deceitful. While the harsh reality is that man is prone to bad behavior, God can fix that. Allowing His Holy Spirit to do His work in us will help us mature spiritually and become all that God intends us to be. We don’t have to succumb to deceitful thoughts. We don’t have to become hard and uncaring like so many have in our world today. We have peace and comfort readily available to us for the asking and as a result we have hope. Our old nature can stay dormant while we flourish in the light of His love, grace and mercy.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!