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

Website: https://rlkeller4291.wixsite.com/mysite

Stop by and check them out from time to time to see what has changed. May God's blessings to you be abundant. rlkeller


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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

GOD'S GRACIOUS GIFT

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
          The grace of God is a remarkable thing. Unmerited favor; an undeserved gift. Receiving something from someone that you absolutely didn’t earn, nor deserve. We have been saved. Saved from our sin; saved from ourselves and our own selfish, self-absorbed tendencies. How did this remarkable event take place? Through faith. It can only happen through faith. We cannot buy grace. It isn’t neatly prepackaged and available at your local Wal-Mart. It starts with a spark that exists within us. It lies at our core. The Holy Spirit fans that spark until it is a flame. We could never do this on our own. We need God to provide that spark. It’s implanted in the soul of every man. We cannot save ourselves. Some seem to think that if they are good enough they can achieve heaven as if it were a prize in some game show. Not so. God extends the gift of grace to each of us. It’s sad to think that millions refuse to see that it is extended to them. It takes spiritual sight to see the gift. The Holy Spirit enables us to see the gift at the right moment in our lives when we are ready receive the gift of grace. We cannot work our way to heaven. There would never be enough good deeds done that could pay the price needed to purchase our redemption. If there were who would determine the nature of the deed? What standard would be used? Eternity is what’s at stake here. The bible is clear; unless our sins have been paid for our admission into heaven shall be denied. Jesus Christ holds the key to our redemption. His blood and His blood alone can purchase our forgiveness. As stated above, nothing we could ever do would be enough to save us. God knows that if we were able to achieve heaven by ourselves we would take full credit and brag about it morning, noon and night. God certainly knows us far better than we know ourselves.         
          Hebrews 11:6 declares that without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith in the grace God has freely offered us. It isn’t automatic. We must ask God for His gracious gift of forgiveness. It takes a humble person to admit they are wrong and in need of cleansing, yet this is what is required. No detergent could ever make our souls as white as snow like the blood of Christ.

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

GODLY TRANSFORMATION

NOTE: If you do not see a new posting for the next several days it will be because I have lost my power due to Hurricane Sandy which is hitting the coast right by me later today. If that happens I shall post as soon as the power is restored. please pray for us here on the east coast as it would appear that we are going to get really slammed. rlkeller (9:22 am; Monday, October 29, 2012)
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” - Romans 12:1-2
 
          Paul was urging the Roman Christians to make their own bodies a living offering to God. To urge is to earnestly recommend or encourage one to do something. It is a statement that is being made with sincere and intense conviction. The sacrificial system in place in the Old Testament and even in the new with the Pharisees and Sadducees (religious leaders in Jesus’ day) involved using dead animals without flaw to place on an altar and consume with fire to atone for sin. Paul is speaking of a living sacrifice; the problem with living sacrifices are that they are constantly trying to climb off the altar. Being a living sacrifice involves being in tune with those things that are pleasing to God. Holy living is a foreign concept to most people in this day and age. We stand as sanctified and holy in the eyes of God due to our acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice for all on the cross at Calvary. However, His desire for us is to live a life that is set apart for His use. We are to do that which is pleasing in His sight. We are to do that which lines up with His word. Many times I think in the interest of comfort or convenience we make God an afterthought. I know I do. We know what we should do but hesitate because it would make our lives a little more complicated. The world has one way of doing things and God any quite another. The renewing of our minds comes from reading His word, not reading into it what we want it to say, but reading it with an open heart and mind. It is a good thing to ask the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts regarding that which God wants us to know. Putting God’s word into practice requires being obedient to that which you know you are being asked to do. We don’t want to be put to the test and found lacking, yet we don’t fully consider that until it is way too late. The compassion and understanding of God is limitless; however, there comes a time in each believer’s life when they must allow themselves to be fully transformed by God. In light of His incredible mercy it’s truly the least we can do.

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 49

          You know what’s nice?  Having friends.  People to share your highs and your lows. People who can sympathize and empathize with you; people who can laugh and cry with you. People who don’t judge you. People who understand you and even if they don’t, accept you and love you just the same.  Having friends over for dinner is nice.  Sharing food; breaking bread.  They don’t have to share your religious affiliation or your political views; heck, they don’t even have to root for the same sports teams (who knew Giant and Eagle fans could co-mingle and not kill each other?).  Friends are a valuable part of the fabric of our lives.  Playing board games, playing cards, going to the movies, going out to eat; spending  time together.  Nothing heavy.  Nothing life altering.  Nothing traumatic.  Just good, clean, honest-to-goodness fun.  No fighting. No arguing. Having someone remember the same old commercial jingles you remember.  Singing the chorus from a nearly forgotten song together.  Telling stories to one another, sharing life. It’s a good thing and it’s nice.   

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!

                 

Friday, October 26, 2012

LET GOD BE GOD

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
 
          There are those who don’t believe in the existence of God. Not believing in God, they dismiss the Bible as His inerrant word. There are those, like the Muslims, who believe in God, yet also believe that the Bible is corrupted and that the Qur’an is the last word from God as dictated to the prophet Muhammad by archangel Gabriel. And then there are those who believe in the existence of God and are silly enough to take the Bible for what it says it is: God’s word. Someone is right, someone is wrong. I choose to believe that all scripture is from the mouth of God and was given to those faithful believers who would jot it down through the unction of the Holy Spirit. I choose to believe scripture when it says that it is useful to us. Honestly, it’s no more far fetched then some of the other theories and beliefs that are floating around. Can I prove God exists? No. Can I prove the Bible is His inerrant word? No. But Christianity isn’t a belief system based on evidence, it is a belief system based on faith. Faith requires no evidence. When you truly believe in something it permeates your soul and changes you. The word of God is meant to change you from the inside out. You have to believe it and place your full trust in an unseen deity. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith; a five letter word that spells the difference between heaven and hell. Why? Because it all starts with faith. Christ, sin, redemption, new life … nothing comes into play unless you start with faith.
          So having said all that, those that choose to believe in God and in His word should know that it is a very useful tool for all the things Paul mentions in his second letter to Timothy. How can we possibly know how to act or react as believers without an example or a blueprint for living. Christ was our example and the Bible is our blueprint. We must understand that when Jesus says in John 15:5 that we can do nothing without Him, he is speaking in eternal terms, not physical. I have always taken that verse to mean that while we can go about the normal events in our daily lives like eating, dressing and bathing by ourselves, we can do nothing of any eternal value without Christ and the Spirit of God working in and through us. We can do great things in this life for God if we will accept and allow: accept God for who He is and allow Him to do a great work in us. So let’s get out of His way and let God be God in us.

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

GODLY WISDOM

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
 
          Being wise is using good judgment. We are taught in scripture to live as one who uses good judgment. I have not always used good judgment in some of the decisions I’ve made in my life and I have suffered the consequences of those bad decisions. How about you? God provides for us ample opportunity to live righteous lives, even in the face of trials and temptations. He provides a way of escape from temptations and strengthens our resolve in our trials. There is no question that the days we live in are evil. You can pick up any newspaper or watch any newscast on television and find evidence of evil. We are called not to be foolish, as if we didn’t know any better, but rather to be wise. We are taught to understand what God’s will is. To know His will we must first know Him. We must be in right relationship with Him. Then we must commune with Him regularly. It really shouldn’t be such a foreign concept to us. We spend time with those people we love the most in this life and get to know them a little better for the time we have spent with them. It is no different with God. Is it an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thing with God? Do we get so wrapped up in our daily doings that we fail to recognize how great God is? Frankly, those things right before us that we encounter experientially eat up most, if not all of our time. Not being able to see, feel, taste, smell or hear God makes things a little more difficult for us, but it shouldn’t. Once we realize that everything in our lives has a purpose and that God is in every situation we find ourselves in, we may truly begin to appreciate all that God means to us. We need to cultivate our relationship with Him. He is not the ‘Big Guy in the Sky’ or ‘the Man upstairs’, He is almighty God, creator of the heavens and the earth. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Wisdom is ours for the taking, but we have to tap into God to obtain it. Sure, we can obtain worldly wisdom through books, but reading to our hearts content will never replace the wisdom the Holy Spirit imparts. Believe and receive; obtain true wisdom from God and understand His will for you.

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A TEACHABLE SPIRIT

“… rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” - Proverbs 9:8b-11
 
          One who is wise is one who has or shows experience, knowledge, and good judgment in all matters of life. If a wise man is rebuked for some reason, they will become all the wiser and love the one who has been faithful to rebuke. Those that have no hidden agenda or ulterior motive present their reprimand from a pure heart and are blessed by God for their obedience in doing so.
          Solomon’s Proverbs are meant to instruct and guide us into a deeper understanding of the finer points of God. They speak to our needs and refresh us with council. We are to take heed and not merely skim through them as if it were a race or obligation. We are to read them slowly and let them soak into our heart, mind and soul. If we allow it, they can and will change us from the inside out.           “Fear of the Lord” repeats a sentiment that is first laid out in Proverbs 1:7. Here, as with the first reference, fear is not being afraid, but rather having an attitude of awe and reverence towards God out of respect for who he is. It is accepting as reality the abstract belief that though not seen in a physical sense, God is real and is to be worshipped. Solomon is telling us in essence that wisdom begins and ends with God. The beginning is when we bow down to him and allow the spirit of God do his work in us. Once we receive Christ into our lives our understanding begins to grow and expand. We must pay attention so as not to miss any nugget of truth expressed within the book. Reading the Bible in a meditative state of mind is most helpful in gleaning knowledge. Being in a hurry makes reading nothing more than an exercise; however, reflecting on what is being said will nourish our soul. Reading and remembering is vital to our spiritual well-being. We can understand a passage yet not remember what we read thirty minutes before. God can help us with all that if we have the proper mindset to be taught. A willing and teachable spirit is required to get anything out of the scriptures in general and out of the Proverbs in particular.

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PSALM OF OMNIPOTENCE

“The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea – the Lord on high is mighty.” Psalm 93:3-4
 
          A Psalm is a hymn or sacred song that is sung. The author of this brief Psalm is unknown. It is possible, by the nature of it, that the nation of Israel was in danger from its enemies. This song extols the omnipotence and sovereignty of Jehovah God. It is five verses long and yet is packed with descriptive words that paint a vivid picture of the power of almighty God.
           Have you ever stood in a rough surf up to your waist with your back to the incoming waves and been clobbered by a big wave that knocked you off your feet? Have you ever seen an angry sea during a storm where the waves come crashing against the rocks, water shooting skyward? That is the picture I get when I read these two verses out of Psalm 93. When the waves rise up high and come crashing down onto the sand it makes a thunderous noise. If water didn’t produce power, then man would never have tried to harness it to produce power to run things, as with a water wheel. God’s power is compared to the power of water, only in that it is mightier or greater than that of water, which He caused to spring forth during creation. Once again we find that something created can never be greater than the one who created it.
           So what can we as believers in this modern day and age take for ourselves to teach and encourage us in the face of our daily trials and tribulations. Just this: the God that we serve isn’t thwarted by the efforts of mortal man. His love for us is like nothing we have ever experienced, His mercy is unparalleled in all of creation and His great power and might is unmatched over all the earth. There is nothing that is impossible for Him; nothing He cannot do. When we say we have faith in God what we should believe in our hearts is that we are trusting in a living God who cares so deeply for us that He would move heaven and earth to not only meet our needs, but protect us from our enemies. Our faith is never in vain when it is placed in God.
 
Walk with the King today and be a blessing!

Monday, October 22, 2012

PSALM OF BESEECHING

“Listen to my words, O Lord, give heed to my sighing and groaning. Hear the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You do I pray. In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].” Psalm 5:1-3 (Amplified Bible)
 
          Here we find a Davidic Psalm which was sung with wind instrument, such as a flute or pipe. It could be said that David intently and fervently prayed to God regarding his life circumstances. He did so expecting God to hear and move upon his situation. There are times when words do not come to us and we are speechless in our effort to cry out to God. It is then that the Spirit who is within us sighs and groans on our behalf for the Holy Spirit knows not only what we need, but also what we are asking for. David acknowledges to his God that it is to Him and Him alone that he prays. This shows us the confidence Israel’s king has in his God and illustrates the confidence we too should have.
          The morning is a time before any person becomes embroiled in daily activities. It is this time of day that David prepares his sacrifices to God and prays. Unfortunately, as Christians in this modern world with all its conveniences, we hop out of bed, grab coffee, some sort of instant sustenance such as a bagel, muffin or protein bar and we are out the door at 100 miles per hour. We’ve fallen in the trap so many before us have fallen into. We allow no time to prepare our heart for the coming day. If I were not spending my mornings reading and writing I would be rushing about as well. The schedule this world demands of us doesn’t lend itself to solitary time with yourself, let alone God.
          David wakes, prepares himself to meet with God, watches and waits. I’ve written a whole book* on the topic of waiting on God. It isn’t an easy thing to do; yet David says he waits. I would suspect that though the other translations do not include what the Amplified translation states in parentheses, the implication is pretty clear. What else would David be waiting for? He was waiting for his God to speak to him. Being the King of all of Israel, no one would dare rush him as he goes about his reverential duties before God. However, being on the pressed time schedules that we are on regularly, something or someone seems to always be demanding of our time. It is imperative that we find time to commune with our God. Communing is not just complaining about unanswered prayers or rattling off a laundry list of requests; rather, it is having a conversation with God where we speak, but we also listen … to His word. We don’t have to do this, but we can and what a privilege it is to be able to spend time with the one true living God and creator of all things.

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!

* There Are No McDonald's In Heaven: Waiting on God; RL Keller; WestBow Press; 2012.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 48

          It’s quiet. No sound whatsoever. Cup of hot java to my right. Clutter around my laptop in an area I call my ‘nest’. It’s indicative of the life that I have led. Amid the clutter and chaos that has been my life I have one place that is clutter-free and calm. It’s my laptop. My laptop is concise and organized. THAT is indicative of my relationship with God. While I don’t understand why I needed to go through all I have been through in my life, I know now more than I did then and am the wiser for it. I know now that God is incredibly faithful in spite of my unfaithfulness. I know now that God will never, ever look away from me no matter what. He is a mighty God who knows me better than I could ever know myself and better than I could ever comprehend Him. I know what I know and I don’t need proof. I know in my heart, mind and soul that God is real and no matter what the skeptics say or do, I will always believe in Him. I haven’t made a dime from my books yet, but I know that I am a success in God’s eyes because I believe I am being obedient to the call He has placed upon me. I am using my gift. It isn’t a gift that I purchased somewhere. It’s a gift that was given to me by God. I write. I believe I write well. That is not a credit to me, but rather to my God who has enabled me to write well. If I reach one soul, touch one heart, encourage one person, instruct, admonish or enlighten one individual with what I have written then I will be a raging success in heaven. I do it because I believe in my heart that I was born to do it and I do it because God wishes me to do it. May I never take from God the credit that is solely His. I am truly nothing without Him.

Walk with the King today and be a blessing!

Friday, October 19, 2012

PSALM OF INSTRUCTION

Psalm 37:3-4
“Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord and
he will give you the desires of your heart.”

          While I did come across one reference work that attributed this Psalm to David’s son Solomon due to its proverbial nature, a vast majority attribute Psalm 37 to King David. He is older now and is using this writing to instruct his people Israel “some things about life, righteousness, sin and God's will and plan.”*
          In the first seven verses of this Psalm David lays out 5 precepts or rules for all believers for all time. They may have been written for Israel then, but they are eternally true and therefore wise council for us even now. Rule one in verse one instructs us ‘‘not to fret because of evildoer’’. Rule two is in verse three and tells us to ‘‘trust in the Lord and do good’’ as seen above. Rule three found in verse four says to “take delight in the Lord”. Rule four in verse five is ‘‘commit your way unto the Lord’’ and rule five is ‘‘be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him’’ which is found in verse seven. Our focus today is on verses 3-4 or the 3rd and 4th precepts.
          In this crazy mixed up world we live in, there isn’t a whole lot we can place our trust in anymore. Everything in this life is temporal. Nothing lasts forever. With that in mind we read David’s words ‘trust in the Lord and do good’. Now trusting in God is a faith issue, without question. Trusting in anything or anyone you cannot experience with any of your five senses is extremely difficult and requires a level of faith for the very definition of faith is to believe in something unseen as if it can be seen. David gives us one reason why we can trust God in all things by telling us in verse 25 “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread”. David, now an old man, is letting us in on that which has worked for him throughout his life. In spite of the sins and major blunders he committed in his life, he can still lift his head heavenward and pay allegiance to his God for he knows in his heart that God is constant. His love is unconditional and everlasting. We change with every shifting of the wind, but God never changes.
          The ‘desires’ that David is referring to in the second part of verse four are not every little whim and wish that we can conjure up in our mind, but rather his assumption is that in trusting God and seeking Him we will also seek to please Him with our lives and therefore our desires will be ones that are pleasing to God and not in contradiction to His rules and commandments. In serving God we find that we shall never have anything to fear, nor shall we ever be forsaken.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

*The Story Behind the Psalms; Dr. Jack Hyles; http://www.fbbc.com/messages/hyles_psalms.htm

Thursday, October 18, 2012

PSALM OF REPENTANCE

Psalm 32:1-2 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed are those whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”
          This Psalm of David is listed as “A Maskil”, which is translated in The Amplified Bible to mean “A skillful song, or a didactic* or reflective poem.” This Psalm is one of repentance for a sin David committed which can be read in 1 Chronicles 21. David commanded Joab, the leader of all his troops, to take a census of all of Israel. Under normal circumstances, this is done in preparation for war to see what numbers you have to take into battle. The Lord was not in this and became angry with David. David was punished, as was Israel, for his disobedience. As a result of his sin, David became ill. This Psalm is a penitential in nature and also praises God for forgiveness and healing.
          Here we see David as grateful for the grace and mercy God has shown him by not counting his sins against him. As king of Israel, his sin resulted in punishment for himself and his people. To be blessed is to be ‘favored and protected’, in this case by Almighty God. We can take for ourselves today the fact that once we have had our sins forgiven we are found to be favored by God and under His protection. This is unless we fall back into sin. Sin must be paid for. For the Christian in this day and age Christ’s blood atonement or payment for our sin was all that was needed to achieve forgiveness from God. However, we do still sin even after we have been redeemed. We are still under the blood and therefore may come to God at any time with a sincere and sorrowful heart seeking His forgiveness. God proclaims to us that He already forgave us even before we asked. It is in the asking that healing takes place. We cannot simply know that we will be forgiven and never repent of our sin. Repenting implies with it a turning away. We are then expected to do a 180° turn away from that sinful behavior. To not do that is to make God’s grace a cheap thing.
          The phrase “whose sins are covered” is indicative of the Old Testament, when sacrifices were made to God to cover the sins of individuals. The blood of Christ doesn’t merely cover our sins, but instead erases them as if they had never been committed in the first place. Those whose sins cannot be counted against them and in whom no deceit is found is called blessed. As children of God, we are all highly favored and come under the protection of God all our days as we live for Him.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

* ”intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction … “ – www.oxforddictionaries.com

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DIGGING FOR GOLD

Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
 
          The mood of this Psalm of David is one of both prayer and meditation. It appears in rotation starting with prayer in the first seven verses. David is calling out to God to show him the path that has been laid out for him. God, in all His wisdom, has a path for us all. We should do as David has done and ask the Lord to reveal it to us that we might not go astray. Distractions abound in this life, yet we have an advocate in the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us in the things that we should be saying, doing and in the way we should be going. David identifies with His God succinctly as he calls Him his God and Savior. David knows in his heart that salvation comes from God alone. He has placed all his hope in the God of his youth.
          As Christians we should do as David has done. When we pray to our Heavenly Father we need to ask Him to teach us and show us the things we need to know to better serve Him. Guidance from God Almighty is far greater than any guidance received from mortal man. Just as David relies on God’s truth, so should we. In doing so both David and by association we, are assuming and accepting that His truth is the one and only truth worth knowing and following. There are other thoughts and statements in this life that happen to be true, but none that bring life to our bones and hope for the future. To be taught by God’s Holy Spirit requires discipline and focus. We cannot know God without spending time with Him. It is in the quality and not the quantity of time we spend with God that lies the key to our success. We will begin to have a greater understanding of His word and His ways as we work the soil of our relationship. Just as one cultivates his crops, we must cultivate our relationship with our God. He doesn’t simply give us knowledge to be wasted. We must dig for it as one would dig for gold and then once knowledge is found, we are to apply it to our lives. If we truly believe that God is the Lord of all then we will adhere to His teachings for they are life and breath to those who believe.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

WALKING BLAMELESS

Psalm 19:12-13 “… who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.”
 
          If we didn’t have a natural propensity to sin, then we wouldn’t have needed Christ to die in our place. We sin. We sin as a natural course of living. If we are breathing than there is the chance that we will commit sin. If a person hasn’t received the gift of redemption, of sins forgiven, then they will sin all the more out of ignorance. The greatest sin is rejecting Christ. Aside from Christ there is no removal of our sin. David seeks the face of God as he implores Him to forgive the hidden sins and keep him from willingly sinning. Willful is intentional or deliberate: sins done on purpose with no shame on our face. David seeks to be kept from such sins so that they do not take control of him. Without the forgiveness provided by Almighty God through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary, we would be guilty without reprieve. Our punishment would be sealed along with our fate. We would have no way to pay for our indebtedness. Christ alone paid our sin debt.   
          Once we receive forgiveness through acceptance of Christ into our lives, we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God. The indwelling Holy Spirit touches and ministers to us regularly as we strive to live for God. To strive is to make great effort or to fight vigorously for something, in this case living a certain sort of life; a life that is obedient to God’s precepts and therefore pleasing to Him. We aren’t perfect just because we are redeemed; far from it. However, we are sealed by His Spirit until the final day and are to live a different kind of life than before we knew better. God has opened our eyes to our previous lifestyle. We may have thought we were good people, but compared to what God requires we were just as lost in His eyes as the vilest of men. Rejection of Christ is all it takes to condemn us. Knowing Christ intimately causes inward change in the heart of a man which is seen outwardly. We are forever after seen by God through the blood of Christ. Our soul has been purchased with the blood that was spilled for us all. Millions have taken advantage of what that blood can do, millions have not. It is available until God says it is not. Follow David in asking that your sins, the hidden ones and the willful ones, be removed far from you and you shall be blessed. This is how to remain blameless in the sight of God.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

AVOIDING DISTRACTIONS

Proverbs 4:25-27 “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
 
          There are distractions aplenty in this life. For those who are easily distracted, like myself, it can be a challenge. As Christians we are called to fix our gaze upon our Lord and not on the circus side shows that litter the side of the road we are on. A perfect scriptural example of this is found in the gospels. Matthew, Mark and John chronicled the event*. Jesus had asked His disciples to go before Him by boat to the other side while He dispersed the crowd He had just been teaching. Shortly after, the disciples saw what appeared to be a ghost walking towards them on the water and they were afraid. Peter said to Jesus, “if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus told him to come and Peter climbed out of the boat onto the water. As long as his gaze was upon Jesus and not the circumstances that surrounded him, he was fine; however, the winds and waves about him distracted him to the point that he lost his focus and began to sink. This tells us three very important things; 1) if we keep our gaze focused on God we will succeed in all we do, in spite of the circumstances; 3) if we succumb to the winds and waves of life that will without question buffet us about, we will sink; and 3) if Jesus tells us to do something, He is more than able to make it happen for us. We can know in all situations that Christ is there to save us just as He was for Peter as He lifted him out of the water and into the boat immediately.
          The Proverbs of Solomon are meant for our instruction. We can glean much wisdom from them if we learn them and abide by them. We are to be aware of our surroundings, all the while remaining sure footed on the path God has chosen for us. All too frequently the lure of a rabbit trail draws us aside. If we are not fully engaged in the things of God then we shall be tempted and our spiritual maturation will be put on hold. Think of it this way, if you don’t pay attention to that which is before you, you will be tripped up, as you would when a root breaks through a cement sidewalk leaving the walkway broken and uneven. It is very easy to stumble and fall if your attention is divided. Look straight ahead; “fix your gaze directly before you”.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

*Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:16-21.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 47

                In CS Lewis’ book Mere Christianity, he makes an interesting and profoundly logical argument for Christ being the Son of God.  In it he says the we are truthfully left no other choice but to consider Christ either a lunatic or a demon from hell … or what He claimed to be, the actual Son of God.  Those are the options.  Nothing lies in between.  To call Him a great moral teacher is an insult, for He was far more than that.  Great moral teachers don’t heal the sick and raise the dead.  Great moral teachers don’t reach out, in full view of many, and heal an ear that has been cut off by one of His disciples.  No, He was either a crazy man, demon or deity.  I personally opt for deity because He has come into my soul, filled me with His Spirit and changed my life for the better more than anything or anyone else ever could.  I have disappointed Him with my actions at times, but still He loves me.  One could never find a greater friend and savior than Jesus Christ.  My life would be empty and my future without hope were it not for my Lord and Savior.  My eternity is secure because of Him for He paid a debt He didn’t owe.  I had no way of paying that debt and He picked up the tab.  He bore my shame.  He took on my sin.  No, this man was no lunatic.  He was no demon.  He was the Son of God and He shall always and forever be worthy of praise.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

THE WRATH OF GOD

Romans 1:18-20 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of human beings who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
          As much as we would all like to believe that God is love, mercy, compassion and peace, there is a distinct side of God that reveals His wrath. Wrath in a tame sense is defined as “extreme anger”; it is also defined as “divine retribution for sin”*. Retribution is “punishment that is considered to be morally right and fully deserved”. Why is it deserved? Because God cannot abide with sin and so if those who have shunned God and His forgiveness to go their own way insist on continuing down that path, God has no choice but to punish them. They have brought it on themselves. His power and divine nature have been revealed through the ages and yet man has seen fit to ignore it or worse still, mock it and for that God must pour out His wrath. The Bible declares that God is a jealous God.
 
Exodus 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
 
          God shall not tolerate insolence or rebellion from His created beings. They are ignorant of His might and power and while He is loving and His love is unconditional towards those who have received Him, His love is not extended forever to those who hate Him. They are given the same opportunity to repent, but knowing the condition of a man’s heart, God will punish those whose sin and hatred has galvanized their hearts against Him. God is no one to trifle with. He offers a blanket pardon to all who would receive it. He asks for our service in making that offer known to our fellow man. He offers wisdom, guidance and protection in the face of terrible odds and will bless those whose hearts are turned towards Him. Yet woe to those who shun God and His ways for a day will come when “the sun will be turned to darkness and moon to blood on the great and terrible day of the Lord”(Acts 2:20). On that day, that last day on earth, man will seek redemption and not find it for the Lord will bring His wrath upon the earth that has cast Him aside. Fear the Lord in awe and reverence, for His power is great and His judgment is swift. Don’t be caught on the fence teetering between belief and unbelief. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve …” (Joshua 24:15 NASB).

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

*As found in www.thefreedictionary.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

OUR STRONG TOWER

Psalm 62:5-8 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
 
          We find in this Davidic Psalm much encouragement as he praises God with words that speak loudly of the character and virtues of our Lord. Rest, hope, rock, salvation, fortress, refuge, trust; all strong words that mean something specific to the believer.
 
Rest – for it can be found in no one else. It speaks of patience; it alludes to waiting.
Hope – without it we shall perish. In our waiting with patience our spirit is lifted by His Spirit and hope rises like a new day’s sun.
Rock – a man whose foundation is anything else will sink and perish; however, the foundation God provides shall never be moved or shaken.
Salvation – in this case ‘deliverance’. David has on more than one occasion been delivered from calamity. We should expect nothing less.
Fortress – protection. A fortress provides safety; it’s walls keep out unwanted foes. The Lord shall keep us safe at all times.
Refuge – shelter during the storms of life. God is a dependable shelter, preserving our honor and salvation.
Trust – reliance. We can rely on God at all times for He is our safe haven.
 
          What a wonderful picture David paints of our God. In my mind’s eye I can see a mighty, glorious fortress rising up above the chaos. It has bright, shining banners flying high above its towers; it’s ramparts impenetrable. This is where we may reside; within the confines of this refuge which is our Lord. If we stand firm in our faith as David did time and time again, we shall never know defeat. It is in the closeness of our walk with God that we find the door that opens to such a fortress. We are to rely on Him not just in times of peril, but at all times. He is our rock and our salvation. He is the only lasting, and most consistent hope we shall ever have. We need to embrace Him and place our trust in Him for God has never let us down. Our very existence is because of Him. We can rise above any and all problems if we realize the incredible power God provides to those who rely on Him and Him alone. Without God we are helpless and hopeless. With God there in nothing we cannot do.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

GODLY ADVICE

Proverbs 19:20-21 “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a human heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
 
          In our lives as Christians we need to realize that God’s purposes are for our benefit and not to harm us. It is a matter of faith. If we believe in God then we must trust Him. If we trust Him then we must accept as fact that the advice or discipline that comes to us from the Holy Spirit is for our ultimate good, in spite of what it may seem like at the time. Our relationship with God can only reach its highest potential from our perspective if we spend time with Him. Time is a precious commodity. Nothing can stop it, nothing can retrieve it. Time lost is gone forever. Time wasted is like the smoke from a blown out candle. It twirls and rises, then dissipates into the air and vanishes.
          If we listen to the wisdom of God and accept the correction He sends our way we shall be counted as wise. Many of us think we know just what we need to survive this life and run ahead of God as if to give Him a break. “I’ve got this one Lord” we seem to be saying by our actions, only to stumble and fall. We are like children learning to ride bikes for the first time. We begin with tricycles, than slowly move on to two wheelers with training wheels for added stability. We take the training wheels off before God intends for them to be removed and we go flying and not in a good way. Our bumps, bruises and scrapes are not the fault of God, but our own. Our attentiveness to the wisdom of God, as evidenced in part in the Proverbs of Solomon in the Old Testament, shall make us wise; however, wisdom is only valuable if it is put into practice.
          We make plans constantly. We plan for today, plan for tomorrow, plan for the weekend, plan our vacations, plan weddings, plan for college … in our plan-making we forget to add the most important ingredient – God. Somehow He gets left out of so many of our plans. Since He resides in us by His Holy Spirit, we end up taking Him wherever we go, yet when we plan, we have the tendency to take a break from our Bible reading and prayers until we need Him. That is pretty normal behavior. I’ve done it myself. But shouldn’t God be a part of all our plans. His purposes will prevail regardless of any plans we make. Making plans isn’t a sin; making plans is a good thing. What is wrong is doing it to the exclusion of God. He loves us unconditionally and wants to be a part of our whole life, not just the parts we have decided to let Him into.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DOING RIGHT IN HIS EYES

Deuteronomy 13:4, 18b“It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. … doing what is right in his eyes.”
 
          Deuteronomy consists of three speeches Moses gave to the Israelites just prior to their entering into the Promised Land. Moses wasn’t being allowed by God to enter in due to his disobedience to God’s specific command to speak to a rock to bring water forth for the people to partake of. Numbers 20:1-13 reveals to us that Moses, frustrated with the rebellious, complaining Israelites, struck the rock twice with the staff God had given him instead of speaking to it as commanded.
          The above scriptures are part of his second speech where Moses speaks of specific stipulations in God’s covenant that the Israelites are to follow. In the thirteenth chapter he speaks of the dangers of idolatry. Idolatry is when we place extreme admiration, love or reverence towards anything or anyone other than God. Note the word ‘extreme’. God is to be not just our savior, but also our Lord. We are to revere Him as such. Just because the above words appear in the Old Testament does not mean it isn’t meant for us today. We are not bound by the law, but will be living it out if we truly are in a right relationship with God.
          Let me explain. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were required to follow the Ten Commandments which were given to Moses on Mount Sinai. According to scripture, God Himself etched these commandments on two stone tablets with His own finger (Exodus 31:18). These commandments were to be judiciously followed by the nation of Israel. Once Christ came onto the scene everything changed. His death, burial and resurrection fulfilled the Mosaic Law (which is also what the Ten Commandments were referred to as) and opened up access to God without the presence of a High Priest. Matthew 27:50-51 tells us that when Jesus ‘gave up His spirit’ the veil separating the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place was ‘torn in two from top to bottom’. The Most Holy Place was where the presence of God resided. The veil was 20 feet wide, 60 feet tall and 4 inches thick*. The renting or tearing of the veil from top to bottom meant that no man could have done it. This was symbolic of direct access to God being made forever available to all who would believe. As Christians, when we receive the Holy Spirit upon salvation, our natural inclination over time begins to become a living out of the Ten Commandments even though it is not required of us.
          Doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord God should be the goal of each and every believer; for He is the one who saved us from eternal fire and damnation. We could never have paid the price required to remove our own sins. We give Him lip service as if He is unimportant, while the reality is nothing and no one could ever be more important.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

*When the prototype of the first temple was built, the tent of meeting, they hung a curtain to separate the Holy of Holies where the Ten Commandments were in the ark. It was believed that God stayed in this area of the temple. Once a year, the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies. The veil represented a self-imposed separation. It went from being 15 feet wide by 15 feet long with a linen veil in the time of Moses to 20 feet wide by 60 feet long and 4 inches thick in the Temple of Jesus’ day. These dimensions would dispel the myth that someone just ripped it in two. The veil was torn apart to show that people had direct access to God. Jesus’ statements before the cross, introduced his disciples to the idea of being at one with God. Now everyone could go directly to God. It looks as though they kept making the veil thicker to have a greater degree of separation from God. (http://www.biblewise.com/archives/2006/april/overview/veil.htm)

Monday, October 8, 2012

GRAFTED IN

Isaiah 43:11-13 “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.  I have revealed and saved and proclaimed - I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand.  When I act, who can reverse it?”

          Almighty God declares to all of Israel through the Prophet Isaiah that He is their only savior. Israel, the stiff necked people that they are and have been, has seen the power of God with their own eyes; yet their faith still wavers whenever things don’t go in their favor. God knows this about them and still loves them. God is telling them that they are safe in the hollow of His mighty hand and that what He does is irreversible. How does this relate to believers today? We aren’t Israel? Ah, true enough, however, in Romans 11:17 we are told "If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root." ‘Some of the branches’ represents Israel. The ‘wild olive shoot’ is the non-Jew or gentile. The ‘olive root’ is God. Because Israel rejected Christ as their Messiah, the gentiles were/are allowed by God to be grafted into His plan of salvation. So all the benefits and blessings that were intended solely for Israel can, are and will be experienced by any and all who call on the name of God for the purpose of the forgiveness of sins.
          So as believers today we can know that God is our savior. He has saved us for our sins, and essentially, from ourselves because I think it should be accepted as fact that we are our own worst enemy. I say that because no one on this earth or above the earth or below the earth can make us say and do some of the stupid things that we say and do. Satan makes the suggestions; however we put feet to those suggestions all on our own. We see the evidence of God all around us and yet at times still act as if we are unaware of His existence. We know in our hearts that we are safe in the hands of God, and yet still stumble around like drunken sailors as if we didn’t know any better. We are children of Almighty God, the One true God. He cleansed us from all our ungodly misdeeds and yet we still look for something more as if it could be found. Just as the Jews, we have nowhere else to turn. Jesus Christ is the one and only savior of man. It is paramount that we embrace that fact and cling to Him for our own righteousness sake. We are living within the framework of God’s grace. His undeserved favor is ours. Look at it this way: if Israel had never rejected Christ as their Messiah, we would never have been invited in. But they did and we can. Don’t waste time living for yourself. Surrender to God.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 46

          I am going to my first Rutgers football game today. They are playing Connecticut; should be a good game. As I think about today’s events a thought occurs to me; all those people cheering, screaming, booing … adoring fans of players they more than likely don’t know or will never meet. Then my mind roams to something a radio preacher said many years ago: We scream ourselves hoarse at sporting events, then go to church the next morning and are silent. Now I have Pentecostal roots. I gave my life to Christ over 33 years ago at the kitchen table of the Assemblies of God campus minister at Montclair State College in North Jersey, so I knew exactly what that radio preacher meant when he made that statement. While I am not a proponent of shouting out in church, I think there is something sweet about the sound of soft, verbal praise to God. It sounds almost angelic. I understand the difference between an open air stadium and a small (by comparison) building meant for worship. I do also realize that so many of us, myself included, fidget, doze off or let our minds wander during a one hour church service. Hmmm, wonder what we would have done during one of Paul’s preaching stints that lasted for hours? The Spirit of God is within us and the Spirit of God is around us, yet we allow ourselves to be bored in the house of God. It’s a curious thing. I suppose the world has taught us to yearn the exciting things in life. To be interested we must be shown something exceptional. I can’t think of anything more exceptional than God, but the fact remains we are human and human we shall always be. God understands us. He knows our minds stray. He also knows our hearts. He loves us just the way we are. Perhaps I could lift my hands in praise to Him once in a while … from the heart. Perhaps I could not care who saw me. Regardless of whether I do or not, our consistent God will continue to patiently mold me into the person He knows I can be.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

THE WAYS OF GOD

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
 
          Isaiah 55 is a chapter which speaks of  God's grace covenant with His children. In it He invites those in need of forgiveness to come to Him, tells of the covenant He is making with man and invites  the wicked to seek Him while He may be found. There shall be a day unknown to man, when God will not be available to call on for it will be too late. So many people fail to take their eternal destination seriously. In ignorance they go about the daily business of living not knowing when the end will come and apparently not caring. The saying ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ is faulty thinking, for while it may seem like bliss for a time, it’s end is calamity and destruction which will come on them without warning.
           Nothing on this earth compares to God. Nothing compares to His love, His mercy or His forgiveness. When man loves, he tends to place all sorts of conditions on that love. When God loves it is forever and comes with no conditions. When man is merciful it is subject to his own personal whims and emotions. When God is merciful, it is free of emotion and full of compassion. When man forgives, he tends to never forget. When God forgives, He chooses not to remember it against us ever again. So you see, God is far superior in thought and deed than man could ever hope to be. The creature can and will never, ever be greater than its Creator.
          Let’s take a brief look at Job to get some greater insight into the mind of God. After being dealt blow after blow to his family, possessions and then his own flesh, Job questioned God. In 38:2 God tells Job in no uncertain terms “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Prepare to defend yourself; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” I read that and immediately a picture comes to mind: the fear felt when a family patriarch has something important to say and in his booming voice says: “Everybody sit down, be quiet and listen to me!”  It’s like, uh-oh, we’re in trouble now.
          We can’t possibly know the mind of God. Oh, He may reveal certain things to us by His Holy Spirit, but unless we are in tune with Him we will miss the message. The thoughts of God are so lofty and His way of doing things so unlike ours that we need to submit, listen intently and act accordingly. Those who are obedient shall be blessed.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

TRUE FRIENDS

Proverbs 27:5-6 “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
 
          In this age of technology, we spend more time talking to machines then we do actual people face to face. It could be said that we have become so busy and, yes, self-absorbed, that we have no time left to truly know someone. It is true of our relationship with God and it is true of our interpersonal relationships as well. We may have brief snippets of conversations in passing or before or after church service, but what about friends. Do we truly have any close friends? People we would trust our life with; people we could share anything with. When we have a troublesome problem, is there someone that immediately comes to mind that we could unload on. And what of chastising someone for a sin you see them committing. That would be showing them love. To let someone continue on in their sin is not love at all but fear of rejection or not wanting to upset them. We can trust the wounds of a friend. We know they do it in love for our benefit. Those that patronize us or flatter us with compliments and praise cannot be trusted at all. It is better that a friend come up to you and confront you with a problem they have with you then to hide it inside and let it slide.
          Be careful of those who are just tellin’ it like it is or only expressing how they feel. Many times it is just an excuse to rip a person unmercifully regarding some trivial matter to establish a pecking order either at work or even church. No one likes to be rebuked, but it is the faithful rebuke of a friend that in the end becomes a salve to your wounded soul. True friends can be trusted no matter what. I have a dear friend whom I have never met except through emails and a few phone calls, but know I can trust him with anything and discuss with him concerns, important upcoming decisions and in general, the issues of life … and I ask him to pray for me. A true friend will offer to pray without being asked. He is that type of friend. He has rebuked me, instructed me and loved me through many a trial, and me for him as well. And I couldn’t even tell you what he looked like if my life depended on it.
          God is very good to us. He is faithful and true. His rebuke to us through a brother or sister in Christ can correct our wrong behavior and thus save us discomfort and pain in the future. Beware those who are disingenuous, embrace those you know in your spirit you can trust with all things.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

OUR LIVING HOPE

1 Peter 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, …”
 
          People need to have hope. Without hope life is dry, dismal and mundane. Without hope, peace escapes us and comfort is hard to find. Hope. Hope for tomorrow. Hope for the future. Hope: “a feeling of expectation and desire, believing that something good may happen.” As Christians we not only have hope, but we have a “living hope”. Jesus Christ is not dead, but rather is very much alive and is seated at the right hand of Almighty God. Because He rose from the dead we have hope. His return in the clouds someday is called “the Blessed Hope”. We praise God because in His unfathomable wisdom He sent His own Son; His only Son, to die for the sins we committed. We are to blame for our sins. No one made us sin. No one put a gun to our heads and told us we must sin or die. We broke God’s laws and were found guilty. Jesus came to earth in the form of a created being to take on all our sins and because of that a seed of hope was planted. It bloomed into the living hope we now have upon His glorious resurrection.
          Peter uses such wonderful words that give a person hope. Mercy, new birth, living hope, resurrection; these words are powerful words. The mercy of God is compassion personified. It is within God’s authority and power to punish us for our sins; however, in His mercy and grace He forgave us. If you honestly consider all the wrong you have ever done in your entire life and then multiply it by untold millions you might come close to the number of sins God has forgiven. When Christ went to the cross He bore all those sins. If we have a conscience, the guilt of one sin is weighty enough for us to bear. Our guilt and regret becomes heavy and is designed to drive us to repentance. Think of the immense weight Christ bore for each one of us. This is God’s incredible mercy and grace in action. This is what gives us hope; sins forgiven, a clean slate. If we have received Christ in our hearts and actually asked God to forgive our sins from a sincere heart then we are born again and are living in the grace of God; His undeserved favor. And because Christ lives we have a hope that is forever living and breathing. If you are His then someday He will return for you and take you to be with Him in heaven for all eternity. Rejoice in this great news!

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CALMNESS: BY-PRODUCT OF HOPE

Proverbs 29:11 “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”
 
          The Proverbs of Solomon proclaim in the first few verses that they were written “for gaining wisdom and instruction”. It also tells us that a wise man will “listen and add to their learning”. You remember Solomon: Son of David, king of Israel. He was the one who asked for wisdom to rule over Israel rather than for personal riches and material possessions (1 Kings 3:1-15). God was so impressed with his request that He granted him what he asked for and what he didn’t ask for as well. So Solomon is a person we should seriously listen to when it comes to wisdom and guidance.
          Have you noticed how much anger exists in the world today? We see an increase in road rage, angry bands spewing hatred (e.g. Slipknot), people flying off the handle with little provocation. Stress can be a cause. Tough economic times could be another. A lack of employment which can cause indebtedness. There are any number of reasons why people are angry; yet Solomon tells us that “fools give full vent to their rage”. I have a sneaking suspicion that statement would cause those angry people to become even angrier. No one wants to have their anger pointed out to them and certainly no one likes to be called a fool. Angry people aren’t as rational as calm people. They have given in to the rage that boils just beneath the surface. We all have had injustices done to us throughout our lives. It’s not in the injustice, but rather in the way we handle the injustice that helps define us as a person. Will we go ballistic or will we shake it off and be calm in the face of it. Face it, we all get angry from time to time. How do we channel those feelings? Do we go off half-cocked or do we remain calm in spite of our circumstances. A wise man will “bring calm in the end”.
          People that feel there is no hope tend to give in more easily to anger. Some folks are just angry by nature; the least little thing will set them off. Without Christ there is no assurance of hope for the future. With Christ, no matter what happens to us in our lives, we have the assurance of heaven. Heaven; where all our tears shall be wiped away. Heaven; where we shall dwell in the house of God for all eternity. Heaven; where all our striving will end. There is no real need to become angry over the many injustices we encounter in this life. The devil thrives on poking us with a sharp stick to draw our attention off of God. Those who don’t know God in the first place are mired in their anger and pain and see no hope for their future. Christians can be that wise man who brings calm, diffusing the anger.

 WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

SECRET OBEDIENCE

Matthew 6:1-4 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ in front of others, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
 
          God knows all things. It’s called being omniscient. There is nothing He does not know. The Bible tells us that He knows the hearts of men (Jeremiah 17:10; 1 Kings 8:39). If God truly knows all things, then it would be impossible to keep anything from Him. There isn’t any hidden sin or good deed that He does not know about. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus is speaking specifically of good deeds. There is nothing you can do that God does not know about already. Our main goal as Christians is to be as anonymous as possible when doing any good deed. It would literally be impossible to keep your left hand from knowing what your right hand was doing, but this is the illustration Christ gives to help us understand that no one need know that which we do for others. If we announce it to others they the praise we receive for that good deed is our payment. No reward is coming from your Heavenly Father.
          The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were an arrogant lot. They paraded around in full regalia, with emblems and full ornamentation. They denounced Christ and His teaching as heresy; contrary to God’s Word. They were the keepers of the Law of Moses. They were the ones the Jews should listen to and follow. They announced their good deeds to the poor with blaring trumpets and the pomp and circumstance of people had come to expect from such an event. Jesus was telling people to keep these things to yourself. Help others as a result of your faith, revealing your love for God by your actions. Say nothing to anyone. According to the Jewish leaders Jesus was spoiling everything. He was contradicting what they felt was necessary and didn’t desire any competition in the matter. Jesus was very specific in His instructions: do not announce your deeds as those in the synagogues do. He called them hypocrites. Hypocrites! By definition they are putting up false appearances; their actions are in contradiction to what they say they believe. They are making a show of it.
          God rewards those righteous believers who live their lives not for themselves, but rather for others. No fanfare, no pronouncements. Quietly going about the Lord’s business is the order of the day. God shall lift you up at the appropriate time, if lifting you up is necessary. We must allow Him to use us in such a way that He is glorified and not ourselves. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31 … and do it without anyone knowing it.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!!