BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Thursday, January 31, 2013

THE CHARACTER OF GOD

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” (Psalm 86:5)
          In this Davidic prayer we find three character traits of God: 1) that He is forgiving; 2) that He is good, and 3) that His love is abundant. This speaks volumes regarding who we serve and what we can expect from Him. What will our response be? The Reformation Study Bible makes a good point when it says “God does not forgive all people indiscriminately; He waits until they turn to Him with prayers of repentance.” A person must recognize they are in need of saving before they can be saved. Those who simply say they believe in God yet never call out to Him for the forgiveness He offers and freely gives have missed the point entirely. Forgiveness doesn’t fall down on all of creation like rain without even being sought, it falls down like water from a shower head on the individual who sees the need of cleansing, asks to be cleaned and is thus cleansed.
          The love that God has for His creation is never-ending and plentiful. It shall never be in short supply. It meets all the criteria laid out in 1 Corinthians 13; the absolute definition of love. It tells us unequivocally what it is and what it is not. God is love and therefore is the embodiment of all the characteristics listed in Corinthians. If you would like to know what God is like, read 1 Corinthians 4-8, for they define the character of God. But He is so much more than that. David knew this because He had an intimate relationship with His God. There would be no Davidic Psalms, nor any great stories to tell if King David went to the Temple on Sunday mornings and simply sat there, proclaimed that he believed in God and then went about his business. Our God desires a level of intimacy that many are unwilling to give perhaps out of ignorance or pride. The relationship we have with our God is designed to change us from the inside out. A metamorphosis is to take place within us so that we are no longer who we once were. The Bible calls us a new creation. The old has passed away, behold all things are new (2 Corinthians 5:17). God readily forgives if we ask for forgiveness. There is no other way to receive payment for our sin debt. Christ’s horrific death on the cross was not for nothing. It paid the price for our freedom.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!
 
NOTE: The Book of Psalms is a prayer book as well as a collection of hymns. [Reformation Study Bible]
 
NOTE: “A Prayer of David. We have here one of the five psalms entitled Tephillahs or prayers. This psalm consists of praise as well as prayer, but it is in all parts so directly addressed to God that it is most fitly called ‘a prayer’.” [The Treasury of David; www.spurgeon.org]

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

UNITY OF THE BODY

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” [Ephesians 4:1-6]
 
          Ephesians is one of Paul’s prison letters. Being somewhat claustrophobic, I can’t even imagine what it is like to be bound in chains in a dark, dank prison cell in a land that is not my home; yet Paul’s faith carries him through each of his prison stints. Through it all he remained true to his calling as an apostle of Jesus Christ. We think we couldn’t do such a thing ourselves; however, God does not give you the ability to do so until you need it.
           Ephesians was a church that didn’t have the internal issues that some of the other assemblies had. Paul knew that counter-Christian doctrine was circulating and so he addressed the issue of unity among the brethren in the beginning of this fourth chapter. Unity breeds harmony. Love is the catalyst to a harmonious unity. The source of all things and the one hope that all believers have is found in God. He is the only constant in the maelstrom of chaos that is this world. As believers in Christ we are also representatives or ambassadors, if you will. If we bear the title Christian, we represent Christ in all we think, say and do. It behooves us to do our best in this life to emulate our Lord. To this end Paul states to the Ephesians and to us today, to be humble, gentle and patient with fellow believers and do so in love. Love is like a big generator. Generators, simply put, are machines that take mechanical energy and make it into electricity. Since we are to be a light to the world, what better analogy could there be than a generator. God showed us exactly what love was meant to be through the willing and voluntary death of His Son. We are to take the love that was transplanted in our hearts and use it to show love to one another.
          Man has chosen to believe that there is any number of ways to get to heaven. Many of their ways simply involve being good as they perceive being good is or doing good deeds that they feel are good. “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) Paul clearly states that mankind has one hope. There are not many roads to heaven, but only one and that road leads through the cross. Always remember GRACE this way: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!
 
NOTE: “Each of these characteristics, when practiced within the community of faith, aids in maintaining harmony, ‘the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace’. Unity is not automatic. It is maintained by diligent effort. Yet the basis for unity is clearly evident because the new community has been established on common ground. There is only one access to the new community, even though God is the Father of all persons. The word “one” serves as a reminder of the equality of the citizens who all are sinners saved by grace.” [Asbury Bible Commentary]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

GIVING

“Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly be rewarded.” [Mark 9:41]
 
          It should immediately be said that this is not a statement validating service or kind deeds as a way to heaven. There is one way and one way alone to achieve eternity with the Lord and that is through receiving Christ as Savior of your soul and Lord of your life. His death on the cross paid your sin debt making you free of everything that has separated you from Almighty God. Having said that, I believe this verse speaks of the natural inclination that becomes ours once we start to live for God. Whereas before conversion we were more self-driven, now we are beginning to become more others-driven. Regardless of our individual situations, things could always be worse so we need to look outward rather than inward when it comes to need. God has promised to meet each and every need we will ever have, so in response to that great promise we should be inclined to reach out to others less fortunate to bring them into God’s presence by our association to Him as His child. Would people know we were a child of God simply by our lives; doing an act of kindness while expecting nothing in return is a good start? True love never seeks a return. Love in return should come as a natural outpouring from the heart of the recipient. It cannot be forced or extracted in any way. It must be given, just as Christ willingly gave at Calvary. I do not know for sure what the reward is that Christ speaks of in this verse; however, our reward should be simply knowing that we are forever loved and forever free of our sins and have a place in God’s heaven because of our decision to believe and receive that which has so freely been offered to us.
          Those less fortunate are not so in a physical or material sense alone, but rather many times in a spiritual sense. They are spiritually bankrupt; their compass is broken making them unable to find their way. God desires believers in Christ to seek out the ones who are in need for they do not know the true source for all they will ever need is within their very grasp, yet unseen by them. We must be the ones to be the light that illumines the landscape surrounding them so that they might catch a glimpse of heaven and thus be drawn into the waiting arms of the Savior. Submit to the will of God and watch what happens.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, January 28, 2013

DO YOU KNOW THE MESSIAH?

“The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he.’” (John 4:25-26)
Messiah - the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.
Christ - the title, also treated as a name, given to Jesus of Nazareth.
 
          The people of Israel were seeking, and still seek to this very day, their Messiah. They believed in Jesus time that Messiah would come in splendor as a mighty warrior king to defeat the Romans. When the Son of God came as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes they were unreceptive. He grew up among them and they were unable to see who He truly was. It required the spiritual eyes that only faith provides. Jesus did many things in His ministry that displeased the religious leaders of His day; but knowing what needed to take place, He went about His business undeterred. There was a long history of distain and hatred between the Samaritans and the Israelites, so when Jesus not only traveled through Samaria instead of around it as a Jew would normally do, it caused a stir. Then He actually spoke to a Samaritan woman at the well of Joseph, Jacob’s son, as He requested a drink of water. The Samaritan woman, who had been living in sin, knew of the coming Messiah. She knew that He would explain all things and bring freedom with Him. The freedom He provided and still provides is one of a spiritual nature and not of a physical nature. A man or woman can be physically free yet still be in bondage to sin. The freedom Jesus brought with Him was of an eternal nature; freedom from sin, now and forevermore.
          Today, men still seek Him. It seems as though the holidays bring out a spiritual element in all of us. But shouldn’t we be embracing the Christ each day and not just when it is a national holiday. We should because it is a very personal thing. Religion is a system of beliefs; very ambiguous and vague; it can represent any belief system. What I speak of and what I believe God is seeking from us is a deeply personal relationship with Him. It comes from surrendering to His will and reading His word. How else can we ever get to know Him better? If we want to learn about one of our national patriarchs, such as Ben Franklin or George Washington, what would we do? We would read a biography about him, would we not? Of course we would. Reading the Bible reveals to us God’s character. It tells us of His promises to us. It teaches us how to live peaceably among our fellow man. God wants to use us all for His glory and for His kingdom. Do you know the Messiah today? Do you really know Him?
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!
 
NOTE: “The nation of Israel was divided into two nations in the days of Rehoboam (1 Kings 12). Israel was composed of the ten tribes to the north, and Judah was made up of Judah and Benjamin. The animosity between the Jews (inhabitants of the Judah, the southern kingdom) and Israelites began immediately after the division, as Samaria was the capital city of the northern kingdom (with Jeroboam as her first king). Rehoboam assembled an army to make war against Israel to reunite the kingdom, but God intervened through His prophet Shemiah (1 Kings 12:21-24). Later, in speaking of the reign of Abijam, Jeroboam's son, 1 Kings 15:6 says ‘there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.’ Immediately after the division, Jeroboam changed the worship of the Israelites in 1 Kings 12:25-33. No longer did the inhabitants of the north travel to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice and worship (Deuteronomy 12:5-14). Instead, Jeroboam set up idols in Dan and Bethel. Later, after Israel's fall to the Assyrians, they began to intermarry with the Assyrians, contrary to Deuteronomy 7:3-5. This is why the Jews hated the Samaritans as ‘dogs’, or ‘half-breeds’. [http://www.housetohouse.com/]

Saturday, January 26, 2013

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 62

          There is a question that I came across a few months back that I didn’t know the answer to.  The question was “If you were accused of being a Christian would there be enough evidence for a conviction?” I would like to think so, but being hard on myself to begin with I kind of doubt it.  I might be considered by others to be kind or humble or considerate, but would I be seen as Christ-like? Now I know that I don’t need to be perfect in my thoughts, words and actions; that would be impossible. But should I not at least make the attempt to be more like Christ? I should. I do try … and I fail, continuously.  I feel like a child when they are just learning how to ride a bike without training wheels.  I want to please the Lord and I believe I do most of the time, but would there be enough evidence to show that I am a believer?  It’s a daunting question; one I hope remains unanswered, because I just might not like what I find out. rlk

Friday, January 25, 2013

THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)          
          While there were no major doctrinal issues as with the Galatians or Romans letter, this letter from Paul to the Philippians is chocked full of theological content. Here Paul writes about some of the true aspects of being a follower of Christ. With the world breathing down our necks daily tempting us to think, say and do that which is unsavory and displeasing to the Lord, we are told by Paul what is worth thinking about. Whatever we think comes out of our hearts. What we pour into our minds heavily influences our motivation and our thought process. Our thoughts have a direct line to our mouth and definitely influence what we do. So Paul is saying to spend our time thinking about those things that are not necessarily of this world; words like true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy represent that which we should place our mental focus on. As we strive to be more like Christ each day it behooves us to follow Paul’s recommendation.
          In addition to the instructions he gives regarding our thought processes, Paul also points out to his readers that they should put into practice all the teachings that he has laid before them. Note that he mentions among these things whatever they had ‘seen in me’. As the old adage goes, ‘sometimes our lives are the only Bible people will ever read’. What do people see in us? As Christians we need to present Christ in a favorable light always. Sure, we will have bad days and slip up from time to time, but that should not be the norm. Our striving should be to truly represent Christ the best way we can. It can be difficult at times and we will have days when all we want to do is crawl into a hole and hide. God doesn’t expect us to be flawless in the way we live; however, I believe He does expect us to at least make the effort. Striving for perfection even though we know we can never achieve it is our noble task as believers. Don’t stress over it. Simply give yourself to God and allow His Holy Spirit to do internal spirit surgery on your heart. God knows all you can be in Him and as you work towards that end His peace will be with you.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!
 
NOTE: “The letter is addressed ‘to all the saints . . . at Philippi.’ Philippi was the site of the first Christian mission in Europe. It resulted from Paul's response to ‘the Macedonian call’ (Acts 16). The city, named after Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, was located eight miles north of Neapolis, the port city. Philippi became a Roman colony in 42 BC. It was a strategic city for the launching of Western Christianity.” [Asbury Bible Commentary]

Thursday, January 24, 2013

DELIBERATE IMMERSION

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:3-5)
          Paul’s message to the Ephesian church was necessary in light of the conditions existing in Asia as described in the footnote down below. In an effort to combat the ‘new’ teachings that were circulating he pointedly states that they were once headed down a road to nowhere, deserving nothing but God’s wrath until they experienced His saving grace. Satisfying our inner urges is never a good thing. The fact is it will only lead us to pain and destruction. We are not speaking of the destruction of material possessions per se, but of the destruction of our heart and spirit. When we give way to our basest wants and desires we open up a Pandora’s Box that is difficult to close again. Many times we don’t realize what we’ve actually done to ourselves until it is too late. This is the reason why we must trust the Lord when He says that these cravings will do nothing positive for us. The fulfillment we may receive is fleeting and peace is nowhere to be found.
          Our hope is found in the undying, unconditional love that God has for us. He is indeed rich in mercy. We know this because when we continue to strain at the leash and struggle to do what is right, He loves us still. We who were once dead in our sins were made alive in Christ. We must understand the magnitude of this wonderful gift that has been given to us. There is nothing we could ever do to save ourselves. By what standard would we live if not God’s? How would we measure progress? No, it is through God and God alone that we find life and it is a life worth living.
          There is no doubt evil lurks around every corner. To ward off its influence on our lives we must immerse ourselves in God through His word. Time in church is ill spent if we are there only for show and not to have our spirits fed. Spiritual growth is a deliberate thing that we do. We do not achieve it by osmosis as plants sustain themselves. We must make the effort to know Him and not stop until we are all we can be in Him.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!
 
NOTE: “At Ephesus, the center of Paul's Asian ministry on his third journey (Acts 19:10), the Christian faith had come face to face with black magic, cult religion, and the power of demons. There, too, it had been maligned by Jews (Acts 19:9), and later it was infiltrated with new doctrine offered through the “cunning and craftiness of men” (4:14) and was stripped of its ethical principles (Ephesians 4:17-5:20). Therefore, having seen how the “devil's schemes” (Ephesians 6:11) had affected his ministry in Ephesus, and having already encountered the “new religion” sweeping through the province of Asia, Paul wrote Ephesians and Colossians to believers in Asia to remind them that no religion offered more than the Gospel, because in Christ every spiritual blessing had already become theirs.” [Asbury Bible Commentary]

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

HEART MOTIVATION

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5-6)
 
“… the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17)
 
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)
 
          There is nothing we cannot ask for in the name of Jesus that God will not grant us, provided we ask with proper motives. God cannot be fooled into thinking we have pure motives when we do not. He knows the motives of the heart (1 Thessalonians 2:4); whether they are pure or impure.
          Just what is wisdom anyway? Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. When we need wisdom, where should we turn? Man has his own definition of wisdom; however, it comes from a finite mind that is fraught with prejudice and judgment. Men define their terms based on their own needs and goals. No, it is God to whom we should look for true wisdom for only God has perfect knowledge and impeccable judgment. It is in His nature to dispense to His children only that which is good and right and helpful. If we do not receive that which we have requested, perhaps we have asked with the wrong heart motive. God is our provider and sustainer. He is more than willing to provide for us the wisdom we need for any given situation. Look at Solomon in the Old Testament. In 2 Chronicles 1:10-12 Solomon, son of David, seeks wisdom and knowledge to lead the people of God. He didn’t ask for riches, wealth or glory for himself, but rather that which was pleasing in the sight of God. His motives were correct and because of that God gave him the riches, wealth and glory he did not ask for anyway.
          When I asked the Lord to assist me in my writing and bless it I didn’t do it for my own success and glorification, but rather that His children would be encouraged, edified, instructed and blessed and that His name would be glorified among His people. I believe my motive is pure, therefore, I fully expect God to honor my request and use me in this manner. God knows what He wants to use us for and He wants to use us all in one way or another. Don’t doubt His ability to answer your request for wisdom or anything else for that matter. Ask what you will, but ask carefully and prayerfully, making sure that what you seek is not for your own pleasure and gratification.
 
WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ASK RESPONSIBLY

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
          As believers, we take these verses out of context and apply them to our lives telling ourselves that we can receive whatever we ask for from God at any time. We are mistaken. I am not sure why we desire so many temporal things rather than the eternal things of God, but for some inexplicable reason we cannot help being drawn to them like a moth to a flame. What Matthew is referring to here are the things of the kingdom. When we ask for Godly things and for our basic needs to be met, God responds. We don’t have to beg or plead with God, only ask. The Lord knows the motivation of our hearts. He also knows what we are in need of. In spite of that it behooves us to ask anyway, for the answers bolster our faith. If we don’t ask, our needs will undoubtedly be met; however, we may miss the significance of such an event because we weren’t watching for it.
          The things of this world will surely pass away. The things of God will not. It is pretty cut and dry. When we ask for the things of God we are asking for patience, perseverance, joy, peace, love for our fellow man … things of that nature. Success in this life is not gauged by how many ‘things’ of earthly value we have, but rather by our obedience to the standards set by the Lord. We should be mindful of what you are asking for. Is it something you can purchase on your own when the finances are available? Then if you simply must have it, wait until you can afford it, don’t beg God for it and don’t allow yourself to fall into the credit card abyss. If you are asking for something that money cannot buy, like humility or joy or tranquility in the face of difficult odds, then ask and expect your answer with confidence. God loves you and will lead you into all things that are necessary for a fulfilling life.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!
 
NOTE: “Jesus' promise is for the righteous-people who share kingdom values-asking basic needs and requests concerning the kingdom.” [Inter-Varsity Press New Testament Bible Commentary]

Monday, January 21, 2013

LIVE LIKE GOD IS REAL

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow. Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
          As believers we know these verses to be true yet we still dabble in sin as if there were no God at all or at least no ramifications for going against His precepts. Paul is clear in his letter to the Galatians. God is no one to be trifled with. When we ponder the value of doing that which satisfies our sinful nature, we entertain the notion that God winks at such indiscretions as if we were precocious young children in the vein of the old adage ‘boys will be boys’. Nothing could be further from the truth. We should not deceive ourselves into thinking God will ever look the other way at our indiscretions. This does not preclude us from having fun; it is just fun that has been redefined. The closer we become to our God the clearer the definition of that fun shall become. We are not called to be hermits, afraid to go outside for fear of displeasing the Lord. However, if we are going to live for God, we need to tap into that which is pleasing to Him and not harmful to ourselves or anyone else.           
          Consequences are a universal rule that is not spiritual in nature, but rather the rational, common sense response to our words and/or actions. Sowing and reaping is the Biblical equivalent to consequences. We should never, ever think that we can get away with something in the presence of God. I have done things that I knew at the time were wrong and I paid dearly for them. He knows what is good for us and many times we do not. If we sow to the spirit then we will most assuredly reap what we have sown and eternal life shall be in our future. There is no doubt that we all make misjudgments and mistakes throughout our walk with God. One mistake will not cause us to be cast into the Lake of Fire on the last day. We simply must understand that God’s love for us is so deep and abiding that He wishes us to avoid such pitfalls. Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord through regular scripture reading, prayer and fellowship with other believers will enable us to see that which is pleasing to the Lord and that which is not. Then it is up to us to choose. Will we do that which will benefit us eternally or that which will entertain us for a short time. God is not mocked; what we sow we will reap. Seek the face of God and live the life He intends for you.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 61

          I was asked to speak at my church this past Wednesday regarding the first book I had published last summer – THERE ARE NO McDONALD’S IN HEAVEN: WAITING ON GOD. I was touched and blessed by the turn out. As is very typical of me, I had copious notes for my talk, yet when I began to speak the Holy Spirit engaged and I was off to the races barely referring to my notes at all. What I had to say was well received and the Pastor gave me an A+ for my efforts. It was a very good night. I got to do what I like to do, speak about the Lord and He was honored and glorified in the process. It was a win-win for all involved. I set up a table with my books, some bookmarks and some of my new Bread of Life Ministries business cards. After I was finished folks purchased the book, seven to be exact, and one woman I know wanted to know if I would sign it for her. Others saw this taking place and a line formed for me to sign all their books. One women came to me with tears in her eyes and said “You really got to me. I’m so glad I came.” I wrote all this today to say that and then to say this: that is what it’s all about for me. If one soul is touched by my efforts, if one soul if blessed or encouraged or edified or instructed in some small way then I will consider myself a raging success. In the world’s eyes I will be just another writer. In God’s eyes I will be a blessing and that is all I truly desire out of my writing and speaking; to be a blessing and make a difference in someone’s life. May God’s will be done going forward and may He receive all the praise, honor and glory for anything I do in His name. rlk

Friday, January 18, 2013

DEALING WITH TEMPTATION

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
          In light of the fact that Corinth was a decadent city with a mixed bag of constituents, Paul is compelled to write 1 Corinthians. His compulsion was based on oral reports and letters he received from believers within the church he had started during his first visit there. His words ring true for us today.
          Seeing as God is ever-present (omnipresent) and all-knowing (omniscient), He is intimately aware of each and every temptation that comes our way. 2 Timothy 2:13 speaks clearly regarding our occasional lack of faith when it says: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” God is the constant; we are inconsistent at best. His love and faithfulness towards us never wanes and never dies. I can personally attest to the fact that while a way of escape is always provided from on high, we can and do many times walk right past it, hell-bent on having our own way. The results can be devastating, as I and many others have found out up close and personal. It didn’t and most certainly doesn’t have to be that way. God doesn’t desire for us to get caught in the bear traps life at times presents to us. The closer we become to Him the easier it will be to hear that still small voice* of His Holy Spirit as it guides and directs us through the mine fields of life.
          Paul chooses an interesting word when he states that we can ‘endure’ the temptation. Many times the temptation does not go away, but rather stands there right in the midst of you attempting to lure you into sinful behavior. In enduring the temptation we are to carry on, even through potential hardships. It may be a test of your faith. Satan knows our weak points; however, it should go without saying that God is greater and more powerful than the devil ever was or ever could be. There is nothing foreign to our God; nothing He cannot and would not do for us. Our part is to make sure we focus on the Lord and not on our surroundings. When we do that we sink just as Peter did when called upon to walk to Jesus on the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 14:22-32. If we stay close to our Lord, we will be able to discern that which is within the parameters of His will for us in this life.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!
 
* 1 Kings 19:11-12
 
NOTE: The evidence of Acts 18:1-8 and 1 Corinthians suggests that the church was in many ways a mirror of the city. The majority of its members were Gentiles, former idolaters, largely of lower socioeconomic status. The heterogeneous mix of Jew, Greek, slave, free, rich, and poor inevitably led to tensions and internal rivalries. We cannot reconstruct the specific Corinthian situation with precision. First Corinthians, an ad hoc (defined: formed, arranged, or done for a particular purpose only) response to serious problems in the church, was probably written in the spring of 54-57 A.D.. Paul's knowledge of the situation depended on oral reports and a letter from the church. [Definition of ‘ad hoc’ added by author]

Thursday, January 17, 2013

BE PEOPLE OF THE LIGHT

“Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life.” (Philippians 2:15b-16a)
          Paul authored this letter from prison. Scholars say that he was either in Rome or Ephesus during the writing of this letter. The date of its writing is unclear, although some speculate that its’ writing was done sometime between 55 and 61 A.D.. The letter was written to the Christians and their church leaders in Philippi (v.1).
          The words above are meant to encourage them and the modern reader as well regarding letting your faith be evident to those around you. Especially in this day and age, this is no time to place the reason for your hope and joy under a bushel basket, thus hiding it from the world. It is something we ought to do with boldness in the face of the disrespect that has been and is still being shown to believers today. The message Paul is speaking of is of course the message left to us by Jesus. It is a message of love and redemption. As a result, it is a message of hope. Forgiveness freely given; all we must do is receive it. It is God’s gift to us; a gift that gives us life. Without forgiveness we have no hope for the future. Without forgiveness we are walking dead men. The message the gospel brings to this dying world is one that shines forth with a brilliance so intense that those who know it not are blinded by it. They shy away from it because it lights up the deeds that they do revealing their true nature. Evil deeds are easy to spot by everyone except the one doing them. Their conscience has been seared over (1 Timothy 4:2). As believers we must be careful not to be swayed by this world. As we shine our redemptive light into this world, we must hold fast to its’ message or we may become entangled in sin that can so easily bind us (Hebrews 12:1).
          God is our provider, sustainer, protector and guide. He accomplishes this through the Holy Spirit which resides within us. As we draw closer to God He will draw closer to us (James 4:8), thus making our light more intense. Let it shine for the whole world to see. Be proud of your faith for it is the means of salvation.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!
 
NOTE: “Philippi was the site of the first Christian mission in Europe. It resulted from Paul's response to “the Macedonian call” (Acts 16). The city, named after Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, was located eight miles north of Neapolis, the port city. Philippi became a Roman colony in 42 B.C. It was a strategic city for the launching of Western Christianity.” [Asbury Bible Commentary]

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

BE SPIRIT WALKERS

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (Galatians 5:16-17)
          When we receive Christ into our hearts we not only receive forgiveness of all our sins, we also receive the Holy Spirit. It is that Spirit that Paul is speaking of in these verses. Walking by the Spirit is done by seeking His council and guidance. God directs us via His Holy Spirit. If we listen to the Spirit of God we will not do those things that come from a sinful nature or at least we will be less likely to. We override the influence of the Spirit by allowing ourselves to be drawn into situations that may not be healthy for us both physically and spiritually. Remember, we have a free will. We can do as we choose and as a result our new and old nature war against each other all the time. It is very much like the ‘white dog – black dog’ scenario. Whichever dog we feed the most will be the stronger of the two. We must feed the white dog and starve the black dog so that we make right choices. God will enable us to withstand the wiles of the devil if we will listen and obey. Peace is born out of our obedience. It leads to contentment and fulfillment. When we live contrary to God’s will we are on edge and feel out of sorts. I know … I’ve been there. When that happens, God doesn’t whack us on the head with a 2x4 and tell us how stupid we are, as a pastor from my past used to proclaim in various sermons. Rather, I believe God speaks peace to our hearts and loves us back onto the correct path, just as the Prodigal son’s father did in Luke 15:21-22. That story is an illustration of exactly how God feels about us.
          Our Lord is not a tough task master; that title would apply to Satan. He tickles and tantalizes us until we traipse off in the opposite direction we should be going. As Christians, ambassadors of Christ, we would do best to recognize and avoid the many traps Satan has lying about. If we stay focused on our Lord and not on that which is all about us, we will be able to side step the land mines that litter the landscape.
          “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.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

HOW TO ELUDE DEATH

“Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” (John 8:51)
 
          In a world where people do everything in their power to put off death all the while enhancing their physical appearance, we read these words to the Jews from Jesus. There is one way and one way only to cheat death and that is to obey the word of God. I know people who work out to tone their bodies. Some hone their bodies into sculpted masterpieces. Others want to look like they are in their 20’s when they are in their 50’s. For what purpose do they do these things? I can only imagine why. The reality that they are either ignorant of or refuse to believe is that we live in temporal shells; tents made of flesh. Our bodies house our soul and spirit. It is a good thing to remain fit, but to take it to the extreme is a waste of time. Even if you were to prolong your life by a few years, all shall die at one point or another. Prolonging your life without God is just more time spent in futility. Solomon spoke of a “chasing after the wind” in Ecclesiastes. He was referring to all the things that he pursued in his life aside from God. Everything outside the realm of God is fruitless and elusive; always out of one’s reach. It is only when a man/ woman dedicates his/her life to the pursuit of righteousness that they find true satisfaction this side of heaven. There is nothing in this world that could ever compare with the glory that awaits those whose lives are sold out to the Lord. What could possibly be the benefit of any other pursuit in this life? Apart from serving God life is as Solomon’s puts it in Ecclesiastes 1:2 - “Meaningless! Meaningless!”…“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” With God things are very meaningful. Obeying the word of God is what is expected of one who is following Christ. Never seeing death means that eternal life with God is your reward. A Christian is born twice and dies only one time, that being death to their old nature. The non-believer is born once and dies twice. (Revelation 20:11-15)
          After all the many dalliances experienced by Solomon throughout his life, he was still able to come full circle and proclaim the following at the conclusion of Ecclesiastes – “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of every human being. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, January 14, 2013

LOVING GOD'S WAY

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:20-21)
 
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
 
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
         
          These three portions of scripture paint a vivid picture of just how we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. First off, we cannot hate anyone and have it be alright with God. The Jews sent His only Son to the cross to be crucified and God didn’t hate them, yet some of us work up a good hate for just about anyone who wrongs us. Scripture tells us to be wise a serpents, yet gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16). In other words, we are not to allow others to walk all over us, but we are also not supposed to trample others underfoot as well. Love, do not hate, but in the process of loving be wary of those whom you sense cannot be trusted. Extend a hand of friendship if so led; however, do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. If you say you love God, you must love your brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is how the world knows we are disciples and ambassadors of Christ. How else would they know? If we speak and act like the world, how could anyone in the world possibly know we are walking with God? What about us would tip them off? Our love for one another and I might also say that our peace in difficult situations, no matter what the magnitude, would speak loudly as well.
           The Bible is very clear regarding having an issue with a brother or sister in Christ. The world says the one that is wrong is to initiate the reconciliation; however, the Bible says just the opposite: you who have been wronged, you go to the guilty party and make amends. That shows the offender love and a spirit of reconciliation which should cause him or her to soften their heart towards the offended party and agree to a harmonious settlement. It is then that you can both present your gifts at the altar. Love breeds forgiveness. Forgiveness reveals love. God is the definition of love. It flows from His character. It is out of His love for us all that forgiveness is possible. Genuine love is easy to spot. It shows in ones’ eyes and in the selfless acts that one does. True love is love that seeks nothing in return. Those who receive unconditional love feel compelled to return it of their own volition. We are to love our brothers and sisters the same way we love our God. The Bible calls us liars if we do not.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 60

          The question is sometimes asked: what is true love? It isn’t lust. In fact it has nothing to do with the physical side of a relationship at all. I have the answer and it is right in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not  dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

          Not only does it help us see what true love is supposed to look like, it also reveals to us the type of love our Heavenly Father has for us. These words easily describe the characteristics of our God. Let these words sink in. Apply them to your own relationships. Understand that with regards to God we are not in any way, shape or form worthy of such love by our Creator. We have spent much of our lives straining at the leash rather than seeking and following His will for us. We have taken His love and forgiveness for granted. We have made His grace to be a cheap thing by the way we have lived. Yet God loves us still. His love is never changing. It is constant, just like He is. Let the words burn into your heart. This is the model for loving someone. This is the way we are to love ourselves, our spouses, our parents, our children and our brothers and sisters in the Lord. A good resolution for this new year is to seek to love others the way God loves us. Amen? rlk

Friday, January 11, 2013

WHAT SHALL I FEAR?

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?"(Psalm 118:1, 5-6)
          This Psalm is listed among the Thanksgiving Songs attributed to King David. These verses remind us today of something that is very important. Nothing that is done to us or happens in this life can take away God’s love for us or remove what He has done for us. While there appears to be many fearsome people and circumstances that could come against us, there is truly nothing that can be done to us that God is not mindful of and that He cannot rescue us from. Therefore, we have nothing to fear but the Lord Himself.
 
          Awe – a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.
 
          When we say we should fear the Lord we are not speaking of fear in the sense of being afraid; we are speaking of a reverential awe. We are to be in awe of His great power and majesty. As subjects kneel before the kings of this earth, we too should kneel out of respect and awe at the glory, majesty and power of our God. There is no one on this earth that compares to Him. There is no one who can replicate what He has done and is able to do. We are to give thanks to Him not just one day each year in November, but rather every day of our lives. His love is never-ending and comes without any conditions attached to it. We can call out to Him any time of the day or night and He will hear us. There is nothing the government or any individual can do to crush the hope that a Christian has. A place is reserved for us in God’s heaven. All He asks is that we live for Him. It is a small thing to ask seeing as there is no one in existence who can offer what God offers us. The key element in committing to honor and obey His precepts is forgiveness. It can be found nowhere else and in no one else. Only one man willingly went to a bloody cross to eradicate all sin for all time. There is no one else. He is worthy of all our praise.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

NEW BIRTH - A LIVING HOPE

“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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” (1 Peter 1:3-4a)
 
         Any hope that we may have in the future as believers is derived from God. That hope is manifested in the resurrection of Jesus. If God can raise Christ from the dead, then how alive must we be when we receive our new birth from Him. It should be without question that any and all praise would go to our Heavenly Father and Almighty God for this great and unfathomable mercy. We did absolutely nothing to deserve it.
 
“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)
 
          God’s grace; His undeserved favor has given us a new birth. This living hope is nonperishable. It is permanent and everlasting. Through the promises that appear throughout the Bible, we can have a confident expectation of future blessing. Our inheritance is not a temporal thing. Temporal things rot or decay and their resulting dust is blown away by the wind. Anything God gives us can and will “never perish, spoil or fade”. Therein lies our future. Therein lies our promise that gives us the resultant hope - a new birth; a second chance. Our faith in God has produced this marvelous reality for us. Our new birth has cleansed us from any and all sin. Our separation from God has been removed. Our acceptance of His loving merciful forgiveness through Christ’s death on the cross has provided our bridge to salvation and a new life. This is our inheritance – salvation. Freedom from sin; freedom not to sin again, but to allow God to change us into all He knows we can be in this life from the inside out. We were created with a purpose in mind. That purpose wasn’t to live as we choose, even though that is our option. That purpose is to live for God and magnify His name. In exchange we would live in peace and harmony having all our needs met. We buck at that. We have the propensity to want our own way. This is why we were given a free will to choose which way we live the life we have been given. God wants us to worship Him of our own free will and not as a requirement. It’s our choice to make. What shall your choice be?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

THE TREASURE OF GOD

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
          The things of this world are temporal; nothing lasts forever. Our televisions die … our clothes become threadbare … cars eventually cease to function. Every material thing is subject to decay or loss; deteriorating over time. Only that which is related to God or is done for Him will last the test of time. We store up material things thinking they are what we want; things we believe will bring true satisfaction and fulfillment, but these things can do nothing for us in the end. They are nothing more than ‘stuff’; the baggage of life. There is nothing wrong with ‘stuff’ in and of itself; however, if we store these items as treasures we will be sorely disappointed when they are lost to the elements as all material things inevitably do.           What are the treasures of heaven? These treasures are the things that money can’t buy. They are allegiance to God; a total reliance on Him. As a result we accumulate those things which we cannot put our hands on: peace, joy, comfort, fulfillment, hope. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord we find that the things of this world begin to mean less to us then they once did. Our hearts will begin to turn towards the things of God rather than the things of this world. We will begin to see things differently; we will see them with spiritual eyes.
          Am I saying it is wrong to acquire material possessions? No. What I am saying and what I believe our Lord is saying is that we need to understand what these things actually are and not place too much stock in them. They are either material necessities or simply things we desired. They are there for our entertainment or enjoyment, nothing more. Only God can fulfill the deep need we have for the things money could never buy. Only God can provide the peace we seek and the hope we crave. There is nothing this side of heaven that will ever replicate what our God can offer us. There is no forgiveness found in the things we acquire. Whatever the world has to offer is nothing more than a cheap imitation of the real thing. Those things that define your treasure speak loudly of where your hearts allegiance lies.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

ONE TRUE GOSPEL

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Galatians 1:3-5)
          Back in Paul’s day, just as today, there were false preachers and teachers of the word of God who tried to turn believers away from the true teachings of Christ. Paul was disappointed that the Galatians had been sidetracked so easily in their faith. He spends the first portion of the letter reestablishing the fact that there is no other gospel other than the one true gospel of Jesus Christ and that he, Paul, had without question been sent by God to preach to them that one true gospel.
 
“‘Grace’ translates the Greek charis, which means ‘an undeserved act of kindness.’ Paul uses this word more often than any other New Testament writer and gives it immense theological significance. It refers to all that God has given us in Christ, nothing of which we have earned or can repay.” *
 
The grace of God is nothing to trifle with. It is undeserved to begin with, so we cannot boast in any way that we have achieved it. Regarding false teachers and preachers Paul is very clear in verses 8 and 9 of the first chapter that anyone who deviates from the one true gospel should be under the curse of God and undoubtedly would be. Paul paints a clear picture of God’s grace when he says that Christ “gave Himself”. He essentially poured Himself out for our sake. He allowed Himself to be brutally beaten, savagely flogged ** and nailed to a cross that was reserved for common criminals. He volunteered for that. He did it willingly. He did it for you and for me. While it’s true none of us asked Him to do it, without that selfless act we would all be walking dead men (and women). Our sin would convict us and there would be no absolution forthcoming. It was this message that was being altered by the false teachers and preachers in Paul’s day and it is that same message that is being watered down today. Don’t let anyone deceive you. Christ came, Christ lived and Christ died. He did it for a specific purpose; He did it to pay the sin debt for every man, woman and child who was ever created. No other way of redemption is available or ever will be. If someone ever tells you otherwise run in the opposite direction, for they are heretics and frauds and their words are not to be entertained for even a moment. Believe in God and serve Him only.
 
WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!
 
* Taken from the Reformation Study Bible.
** Flog is a polite word. Scourge is the proper term. A ‘scourge’ is a whip with strips of leather that had affixed to them pieces of broken bone, jagged metal, beads of lead and the like to actually tear flesh from the body of the one being punished. That is what Christ endured for us.
NOTE: “Paul had received word that in Galatia, where he had preached the Gospel, there were some who were preaching ‘another gospel,’ which was unsettling the believers. These other preachers were responsible for ‘bewitching’ (Gal. 1:6-9; 3:1) them.” [Asbury Bible Commentary]

Monday, January 7, 2013

THE EXAMPLE OF GOD

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
 
“A firm knowledge of God’s love and of one’s place in His family (1:5) motivates the self-sacrifice necessary for Christian life.” [Asbury Study Bible]
          Ephesians is a letter that has been identified as one Paul wrote from prison.* Imagine yourself sitting in a dank prison cell, perhaps by yourself, perhaps with other prisoners. How much joy and peace would you have? Would your faith in God carry you seeing as it was your faith in God and the pronouncement of your beliefs that got you incarcerated to begin with? Paul’s writings were plentiful in prison. He was sold out to the Lord and knew who He was in Christ. He was redeemed from death. He was chosen by God to proclaim His word wherever he was led. He was a child of the King. Do we know who we truly are in Christ and what we have been saved from? Christ gave Himself for us. He willingly died for us all. Once we ask for forgiveness we are free from our sins. We have entered into a relationship with God. What we choose to do with that relationship is up to us; however, we must realize that it will not grow without our participation. We are dearly loved by God. We are called to walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us. In this increasingly horrifying world in which we live, it is becoming more difficult to love those around us, yet how else will the world know God loves them. We have trouble loving fellow Christians, yet we are commanded to do that very thing in John 13:34-35. In John’s gospel are these words from Jesus: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We are told by Paul to follow God’s example. If God has either asked or told us to do something, you better believe He has empowered us to do it. His Holy Spirit resides in you if you are in relationship with Him. The Holy Spirit is your guide. He will show you where to go, what to do, what to say when the time is right. We must understand who we are and whose we are. Nothing this world has to offer us even remotely compares to the majesty of our God and future He has planned for His children. Are you willing to follow His example?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* Matthew Henry’s Commentary; the abridged version of his 6-volume work.

NOTE: “… the Ephesians, who, having been in time past idolatrous heathens, were now converted to Christianity and received into covenant with God, which he illustrates from a view of their deplorable state before their conversion (in) Ephesians 1:1-3:21.” [Matthew Henry’s Commentary]

Saturday, January 5, 2013

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 59

          There are times in my life that I feel lost and don’t have any purpose. Other times I am focused and ready to tackle whatever comes my way. My future is an empty canvas. I can make it anything I want. I know God will be in it. Writing will be in it; hopefully speaking as well. Doing voice over work seems a likely course to take to supplement my writing. What else? The future is cloudy. As I attempt to serve God to the best of my ability within the framework of time and space I have been given, I will stumble and at times go sprawling on the ground face first. Do I give up or do I get up and move forward. Moving forward is the only real option. Standing still is no option, because when you stand still you are really going backwards. Why; because others around you are moving forward leaving you standing where you are. Clarity of thought is essential. Knowing the mind of God is desirable. Being devoid of any Godly influence is foolhardy. There is nothing we can do in this life on our own that has any eternal value without God having a hand in it. Notice I said ‘any eternal value’. I’ve done many things this last year that have value to someone, but whether they have eternal value is up to God. I love God with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength. It is my desire to please Him with my life. Do I always accomplish that, no I do not. I do not say that with pride, but rather with honesty, knowing that I am frail and painfully human. God knows that to and He also knows I am trying. As we go forward into the future, let us all strive to do something, anything that has some eternal value. Do something for someone else without receiving anything in return. That would be a good start. God loves you unconditionally and so do I. May God bless you all abundantly in every way imaginable. rlk

Friday, January 4, 2013

RELIANCE ON GOD

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, …” (Nahum 1:7)
          In roughly 760 B.C., Jonah was sent to Nineveh to save it from God’s wrath. They repented in sackcloth and ashes seeking the forgiveness of God. (Jonah 3) Apparently the Ninevites fell prey to disobedience again in the future because in 612 B.C. Nineveh fell. The book of Nahum contains a vision the prophet saw regarding the fate of Nineveh. In the midst of the declaration regarding God’s anger against the Ninevites we find this gem which holds true today as it did back then.
          Through faith we know that God is good. The scriptures make endless references to that very fact. He is a fortress of strength and a haven of rest for us even in our darkest hour. Too many people down through history have relied on their own wits; their own plans for survival. Folks fail to accept the universal dilemma that we all face; we are a selfish, sinful lot whose main goal in life is to do our own thing. It seems as though it isn’t until man is at the absolute end of his rope that he even remotely considers God in some cases. We should all be grateful for the patience He has with us, for without it we would have been wiped from the face of the earth long ago. We were created to worship and praise God. Those who have placed their trust in Almighty God will be taken care of one way or the other. God is the first place we should turn, not the last resort when all else fails. God has a plan for each of us. He desires that we should prosper, even as our soul prospers. He desires that we live in peace and seek to serve others. He is our refuge; our tower of strength. There is no one like our God. He cares for us without question or hesitation because He knows us. He knows us intimately and desires that we know Him the same way. We will not trust Him until we know Him and we cannot know Him if we do not spend significant and meaningful time with Him.
          As we embark on a new year, make it a natural and regular part of your day to read a bit of the Bible. Make it a time when all is quiet and life is at a lull. Ask God to help you find that time. A single moment with God is better than hours doing anything else. Always remember: God cares for those who trust in and rely on Him.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

THE PURPOSE OF GRACE

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14)
          Grace is defined as unmerited or undeserved favor. Salvation means deliverance from sin and its consequences … AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. Do you understand what that means? Anything we have ever done of an ungodly nature has been completely removed from the record books. It’s as if you never did or said that thing. The mercy God shows us should be an example to us of how we are to treat others. His favor is also supposed to teach us to say ‘no’ to that which we have now discovered is ungodly behavior. Without the standard that God has provided for all mankind, we would never have known what was right and what was wrong. There has to be a standard to live by. It can’t just be live and let live. Imagine living in a country where there were no laws. You could do whatever seemed right to you. The problem with that is what seems right to you may seem wrong to others. Without standards conflict arises and chaos is the ultimate result.
          We must never lose sight of the fact that Jesus Christ willingly gave His own life in exchange for ours. We were bound for an everlasting hell as the consequences of the ungodly lives we had led. In God’s economy sin must be paid for. There was a payment due. It is what I refer to as our sin-debt. Christ paid that debt without hesitation. Almighty God sent His Son to earth to live among us for a time. The full purpose of His coming was to reveal the mercy of God to us all. The culmination of His coming was to die in our place so that we might live. All this was designed to redeem us from all evil and show us the way to a fulfilling life in Him. We are supposed to be eager to do good in the sight of God. The grace God bestows upon us allows for our purification. Let us stay clean in His sight going forward so that Christ’s death was not in vain.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

OUR SECRET SINS

“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” (Psalm 90:8)
          We, as a people of God, should never think that we can think, say or do something that will escape God’s ever watching eye. The eyes that see danger and protect are the same eyes that chastise and rebuke. When the Bible tells us of His omniscience that essentially means that anything that can be known is known by Almighty God. That is not meant to be a threat or have us walking on egg shells our entire lives, it is meant to be a comfort to us. It is also meant to instruct us that there is nothing we can think, say or do in our lives that will not be known by God.
          There are some people who feel they are doing their due diligence when they make an appearance in church on Sunday morning and still others that show up any time the doors are open and the lights are on. This does not make that person a Christian. That is simply what a Christian does. Typically, it is those believers who, through a lack of understanding, live their lives in ignorance. They don’t realize what is asked of them as Ambassadors of Christ and live a life that is not exemplary of God’s grace and mercy. Secret sins done in private may be a secret to all of creation, but they are fully known to God and are laid out before Him. He cannot be fooled and cannot be mocked. What a person sows in their life will result in the harvest they reap. If a life is filled with secret sins that fly in the face of God’s glory and by their very tenor disgrace the mercy He has bestowed upon them, then God shall shine a light on those sins at the proper time. We must never think we can pull one over on our Heavenly Father. He knows all things and will allow you to continue in them if you are determined to; however, the consequences may end up being devastating. The way to remove sin of all kinds from our life is to allow the Holy Spirit of God to extract them from us. Don’t let another day go by where a secret kept can stunt your spiritual growth. God is a righteous judge, but is also a loving Lord who will forgive all sin if confessed with a sorrowful and sincere heart.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

“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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
          The prophet Jeremiah was called by God to speak His judgment upon the people of Israel for their idolatry. They were to be exiled and cut off from God’s blessing for a time. In the seventy years that they are banished from their land they were not to lose hope. Even though they are under God’s judgment He provides a glimpse at what is in store for them. He declares that His plans are to prosper them and give them hope for the future.
          God may punish us all from time to time for our disobedience, but we bring it on ourselves. He withholds His blessing to us even today, but only for a short time and does this out of His everlasting love for us. God will not let us languish in sin forever, for He knows our hearts and has great things in store for us. As we embark on the adventure that is this New Year, we are to find hope in the fact that God already resides in all our tomorrows. He stands at the end of whatever trial we may find ourselves in and waits patiently for us to surrender to His will. God’s promise to us, just as it was to His chosen people Israel, is that if we seek Him with our whole heart we will find Him. He is not hiding from us but rather is in the open. We simply need to use spiritual eyes to see Him. The one way to ensure that our life is blessed is to call upon the Lord and serve Him. Our needs shall be met and our desires shall gravitate towards that which God knows is good for us.
          When God proclaims that His plans are to prosper us, we should not automatically assume that it is monetary in nature. There are much more important ways in God’s economy that we may prosper. Spiritual prosperity can carry you a whole lot further than money even would. It may not seem like it at the moment, but when we place our complete faith and trust in our God, He will make a way for us even when there appears to be no way.
          My prayer for you all is that you may have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and that you may prosper even as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2)

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!