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


Saturday, March 30, 2013


          On the eve of Resurrection Day I wanted to opine regarding the meaning of Christ’s death, burial and rise to new life. While I believe it to be a real event in the course of history, I also believe it symbolizes something very special; our own death, burial and resurrection.
          When we become a Christian, we die to self, our old nature is buried and we become a totally new person.
          Because of the cuts, bruises, lacerations and literal chunks of flesh that were torn from the body of Jesus, we are healed. That means, in part, that we are no longer sick with sin. He bore our punishment, while being guilty of doing no wrong.
          When the veil tore in two from top to bottom as a result of His death; (get that, TOP to bottom) that was God saying mankind now has open access to Him. Man no longer had to go to a High Priest who was the only one with the authority to enter God’s Most Holy Place in the Temple. This veil was an estimated four inches thick; no man tore it, only God could have.
          Our acceptance of Christ is designed to make such a radical change in us that the world notices that change. Have you allowed that change to take place or have you stunted its growth by not surrendering to the will God has for your life? God loves you more than anyone else ever could. He created you out of nothing for His own good pleasure; for fellowship with you. He wants you to know Him as well as He knows you … intimately. Take the time on this glorious occasion to reassess your life. In that reassessment, see if you have truly given yourself totally to God so that He might make in you the person only He knows you can be. rlk

Friday, March 29, 2013


“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
                                         (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
          When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden that lone act caused a gap to exist between man and God. Christ’s death on the cross bridged that gap. We then became “reconciled” with God. The previous relationship man had with God had been restored. When our sins are erased through Christ’s blood, we stand forgiveness. Think about all the regrettable things we have done in our lives. In many cases we wish we could take them back; but, life doesn’t have a delete key. We do, however, have the next best thing with God. We have redemption, which is a ‘buying back’ of sorts. The debt we owed because of our sins was far greater than our ability to pay, so God provided a buyback program through Christ. His death paid for all our sins. We have a clean slate. We will sin again, because of our propensity to do the wrong thing, but as long as we approach God with genuine sorry and regret in our heart and ask to be forgiven, we shall be forgiven.
          As believers in Christ we are His ambassadors. We represent Him in all we think, say and do. We need to consider that each day for every time we say or do something we are a representation of God. Are we a favorable representation or an unfavorable one? Are we drawing people towards God or pushing them away by what we say and do? It’s worth seriously pondering.
          As Christians, we must understand and never forget the incredible price paid for the sin we so willingly committed. I cannot personally fathom taking on such the brutal and inhuman beating Jesus went through. The thing that is even more amazing to me is that I know in my heart if it were necessary, I believe He would go through that all over again. His death, burial and resurrection was a complete act that will never need to be repeated for it got the job done. This is why he proclaimed on the cross “It is finished”. Our redemption had been secured. Our freedom won. For those who have already embraced the grace of God and received forgiveness, our restoration is finished. Now our task is to walk and talk like the redeemed person we are.


Thursday, March 28, 2013


“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6a)
          In his letter to Timothy, Paul reestablishes the belief that there is only one God, echoing the sentiments of what is called the Shema (pronounced with a short ‘e’ and a short ‘a’ and emphasis on the second syllable). The Shema is found in Deuteronomy 6:4 (“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”). The Hebrews established the ‘Shema Yisrael’ (which are the first two words of that portion of the Torah or Mosaic Law) to counteract the polytheistic claims of the pagan religions that were in existence. Paul adds to this formula the fact that Jesus Christ is the one mediator between God and man. It doesn’t say He is one of many, but that there is ONE God and ONE mediator. If there were many ways to get to heaven, why would Jesus have had to die? We simply could have taken a different path to get to the same destination as the Hindus believe. So then, if that were the case; what about sin? There was a price that needed to be paid in the Old Testament. Now the price is no longer required? Says who? The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Is this no longer true? God says it is. Jesus GAVE Himself up as a ransom for all people. We were dead in our sins and we didn’t even know it. Even before we knew Him He died for us. Christ paid our sin debt. Without that payment being made we would have died in our sinful state. Jesus Christ willingly suffered a brutal and inhumane death so that we might live. Do you understand the magnitude of that one lone act in history? The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the linchpin of our faith. Without that our belief system crumbles to dust.
          In verse 4, Paul reiterates the fact found elsewhere in scripture, that God desires all would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. What is truth? According to Paul and every other spokesman chosen by God, the one truth in this world of falseness is that there is one and only one Jehovah God and He requires that the sins of man be paid for through a blood sacrifice. The actions of Adam and Eve brought separation between man and His God. It was not intended to be that way; however, free will allowed it. The blood of Christ alone can wash away our sins. As we draw close to the glorious day of His resurrection, better known to the world as Easter, remember and never forget the price that has been paid for your freedom.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013


“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love’; and, ‘You reward everyone according to what they have done.’” (Psalm 62:11-12)
          In this Psalm, David is making clear to us the importance of what he is about to say by the words he uses. Repetition is a common way of doing that. He starts off by telling us of the power God has. Man’s power, in fact, all other power will fail, but God’s power will never fail. God is more powerful than any source of power known to man, yet we know that because of His unfailing love, that power is held in check against us. We are to revere God and not be afraid of Him. Only those who are against Him need be afraid.
          39 times the adjective “unfailing” is used and always in the Old Testament. Three other times it is used to describe God’s kindness, but all other instances refer to His love. Synonyms for the word unfailing define it clearly: continuous, boundless, endless, persistent, reliable, certain, dependable and faithful. God’s love for us shall never fail and never end.
           David is quite certain, through his own life experiences, that we are all rewarded according to what we have done in this life. He knows, as well should we, that our reward may not always be a positive thing as with David’s adulterous act with Bathsheba and the subsequent murdering of her husband. Therefore, we are to take stock of our lives; reassess. Have we lived a life as a true ambassador of Christ or have we lived a life only for ourselves and our own personal gain? If we say we are a Christian we should understand all that implies. Jesus calls His followers "the light of the world" in Matthew 5:14. In the very next verse He calls us not to "hide our light under a bowl, but rather to place it on a stand so it might give light to all in your household". The implication here is that we are to use the grace God has given us to bless others and not keep it all to ourselves.
          So you see, once we give our lives to God they are no longer our own. We have a calling to administer the same mercy, love, compassion and patience to others that the Lord showed to us. On the last day we will be rewarded for what we have done, both good and bad. We don’t want to ever have to look on that day with apprehension but rather with anticipatory joy and excitement. It’s truly up to us how we live.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013


“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
          It is difficult to read Paul’s letter to the Philippian church and not see the love and joy he has in his heart for this group of believers. It may seem odd that he writes of such joy towards them seeing that he is writing from prison (vv.13-14). That fact alone should inspire us to be joyful and at peace in any circumstance, for I am quite certain the vast majority of us have not been incarcerated. That fact lends itself to the thought that our situation could always be worse than it currently is.
          The nature of Paul’s prayer for the believers at Philippi is one of profound love and appreciation. Paul wishes their knowledge and insight in the Lord to increase. When he speaks of ‘insight’, Paul is speaking of judgment, discernment or moral perception. There is a way that we, as believers, are to live and Paul is encouraging the readers of his correspondence to essentially walk close to the Lord that they may be able to make proper judgments regarding those things which are godly and ungodly. Their discernment will allow them to differentiate between the two.
          So it is in our lives as Christians today. As we walk this path laid out before us, we too will need the ability to tell the difference between what is from God and what is from our own mind, borne out of selfish desire. Our lives need not be complicated. We make them that way ourselves. This is why it is imperative that we draw close to our Lord and seek His mind in all matters of importance, for He is always right and has our best interests in mind at all times. As we serve God and seek to do that which is pleasing to Him, we must learn how to discern things properly so that we will remain pure and blameless on the Day of Judgment. In all things we are to bring glory and praise to our God.
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 b.c. It was a strategic city for the launching of Western Christianity.” (Asbury Bible Commentary)

Monday, March 25, 2013


“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)
          John wrote the first of three letters to believers who had experienced a division in their churches as a result of Gnosticism. The Gnostics were those who based their beliefs on the knowledge of spiritual truth apart from the actual practice of it. They perverted the Gospel in three ways: 1) their failure to accept Christ as deity in earthly form; 2) that faith alone was necessary for salvation without morality and 3) their failure to exhibit the love that exists in the family of God. In these particular verses, John is establishing once again the idea that genuine believers will acknowledge their own sinfulness and walk in the light of God. He starts out by reminding his readers that he was with Christ in the flesh and had heard, up close and personal, what he was about to share.
          As modern day believers in Christ, we must understand the basic concept that God is truth and in Him is no falseness; He is the light and in Him is no darkness. Because of that, we are to live in the light of that truth as well. If we continue to live in darkness after knowing that our sins are forgiven then we are not in proper fellowship with God. Just knowing that Christ’s blood cleansed and purified us from each and every sin should make a profound difference in the way we live; however, that doesn’t mean we are to go about simply living good lives under our own power. Our limited resources could never sustain us. We must fully embrace our relationship with God. It’s up to us to live out the truth in our lives and walk in the light even as He is in the light and is the light. We must also understand that we will sin again, for we are human. In that event we must be quick to repent and receive afresh and anew His cleansing forgiveness. We mustn’t make the grace He has lavished on us a cheap thing, but in full appreciation and understanding of what has been done for us, we must live accordingly. 


Saturday, March 23, 2013


             The will of God is a curious thing.  Since God knows us intimately, inside and out, He knows exactly what will benefit us the most.  He knows where our gifts lie, because He placed them within us when we were formed in our mother’s womb. God knows where He wants to take us and patiently waits for us to catch up to Him.
Faith is an even more curious thing; believing in something or someone that you cannot experience with any of your senses.  Believing, trusting, relying on this unseen power enough to let it influence and mold you into someone you never thought you could ever be. 
God knows the plans He has for you.  Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Who else can unequivocally say that and be able to perform it just as He had planned? I dare say no one this side of heaven. 
So what is the point of my saying all this? Only this:  when you wake up each day, ask the Lord what He would like you to do for Him and watch His will unfold before you.  If you aren’t paying attention you will miss it, but it’s okay because our retrospective vision is usually pretty good … at least I know mine is.  Go with God today and know He has a plan for your life and be blessed. rlk



Friday, March 22, 2013


“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)

          These verses strike home with me because I can, at times, fall back into old speech patterns which are not at all pleasing to the Lord. I know better. I use the excuse that I am angry or upset, but that is irrelevant. I cannot allow my mood to dictate my speech. Do you have this type of problem as well? Many folks do. I can relate to Paul when he says in Romans 7 that he does that which he knows he should not do and doesn’t do that which he knows he should do. If it were not for Christ I would be lost, but my relationship with Him provides God’s grace.
          We are to speak words that "benefit those who listen". We are to encourage and edify rather than criticize and tear down. We are to rid ourselves of all slander, rage and bitterness. We are unable to do this ourselves. We must tap into the infinite resources God provides us through His Holy Spirit. We are new creatures when we receive Christ and can truly begin to act like one when we allow God to perform spiritual surgery on us. God wants us to know Him is such a way that we can begin to be in one accord with Him. He wants us to know Him so completely that His desires for us become our desires as well. It takes time; frankly, years. There is no quick fix here. It takes diligence and determination. We will stumble and fall from time to time. We must understand that is part of the process. We are painfully human and our Heavenly Father knows that all too well. He can and will instruct us and lead us into a better way of living as we submit to His Lordship in our lives. Even in this we have a free will. Our spiritual growth is dependent on us. How seriously we believe the Bible and how close we desire to be with our God is solely up to us; He forces Himself on no one. Always remember and never forget how in Christ God forgave us and act toward others accordingly.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
          What a wonderful image this provides for our mind’s eye. A thriving tree whose roots dig deep into the moisture rich soil for sustenance. When we trust in the Lord, we will thrive in all aspects of our life. As we live for Him we shall be forever provided for and sustained. Knowing in our hearts that God controls all things, we have absolutely nothing to fear. Being human we will be apprehensive regarding upcoming events; however, over time we will realize that we have been concerned over nothing. If God truly either causes or allows all things to take place and we are in right standing with Him, then quite literally, there is nothing to for us to concern ourselves with. Just as God parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites, so shall He make a way for you when there appears to be no way. Psalm 1:3 paints the same picture: “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.” “That person” is whoever places his full trust in the Lord and as a result delights in His laws. As New Testament believers the only law we are bound by is the law of love. We are to love one another for this fulfills the law of Moses (Romans 13:8-10).
          Are you confident in the Lord today? Based on scripture He is worthy of our trust, reliance and full confidence. God has never failed to do that which He has said He would do. He hasn’t always done what we have wanted done or what we felt needed to be done, but God has always done for us what He knew in His great wisdom would be best for us. Looking back on our lives, can we honestly dispute this? Tell me that any problem we found ourselves in was not by our own hand. If we submit to His Lordship in our lives and dig deep into the soil of His word, we will grow “like a tree planted by the water” and we shall prosper even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


“Stop being hateful! Quit trying to fool people, and start being sincere. Don’t be jealous or say cruel things about others.” (1 Peter 2:1)
          Peter’s letter is to Gentile believers in several churches in the Asia Minor area. As Christians, they were treated by the non-believers around them not as strangers, but more as exiles and refugees. This was because their new lifestyle was so foreign to the way they themselves used to live and the way those around them still did live. Their new way of thinking and way of life clashed with the current norm, therefore, they struggled with leaving past behavior behind. While Peter was well aware that discrimination, slander and ostracism were a common part of Christian life, these believers apparently were not. It seemed odd to them and caused them to question the reality of their new found faith. In verse one of the second chapter, Peter feels he must admonish his readers to shed once and for all the ungodly behavior that they were once again displaying.
          As believers today we should take heed lest we fall victim to the same confusion regarding living by faith. Gossip is rampant in today’s world and Christians are not exempt from it. In some churches an air of pretension exists as constituents pretend to be deeply spiritual, while living like anything but a representative of Christ outside the churches four walls. Christians can be insincere, envious and speak ill of others either to their face or worse; behind their backs just like non-Christians. As believers in Christ and all He stands for we ought not to live like this. We allow our emotions to get the better of us and our feelings to get bruised at the least little provocation. The solution to this is to draw close to God and place our entire focus on Him and not the chaos around us. Yes, there can be chaos all around even in the house of God if it is allowed to exist. Cliques ought not to be. Exclusion of any kind is ungodly behavior. Focus on Christ and His example and do not fall back into the mire of this world. It seems easier to give in to our basest desires; however, this behavior does not please God.
          We were bought with a price, the blood of God’s own Son. We must never forget the price that was paid for our freedom. We must have in our mind’s eye a continual vision of all that Christ went through to pay for our sins. If we have proper focus on those things that truly matter, we will not be inclined to roll in the mud once again. Seek to please God and God alone and you will have no time for ungodly endeavors.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
          Christians have a problem and it’s themselves. We all seem to forget the grace, mercy and patience God showed us when we were yet sinners. For some odd reason we want to be judge and jury to those around us who have yet to find Christ’s forgiveness. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he tells his readers not to judge any individual who is caught in sin. Temptation comes calling on us all. We must be mindful of how our Lord has graciously led us out of our entanglements and apply the same grace and mercy to others. So many times we harshly judge those around us and if a fellow believer becomes involved in sin we are all too quick to call them out. Paul instructs us to “restore that person gently”. We have no reason to lord our current forgiven status over anyone. We should live out our beliefs with a spirit of humility, knowing how easy it can be to become entangled in sin again.
           If a brother or sister in Christ has fallen into sin, how likely are they to confess and be restored if they know their fellow believers are waiting to pounce on their indiscretions without mercy. They are not likely at all and that is the point. We must never forget what grace is; it is the undeserved favor of God. To put it another way, we find favor with God solely because He has decided in His incredible mercy to show us that favor. We haven’t earned it in any way, nor could we ever earn it. We were sinners bound for an everlasting hell when God extended that undeserved favor to us. Many times we are like the man in the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35. This man was shown mercy regarding a great debt he owed, yet showed no mercy at all to a man who came to him with a much lesser debt owed to him.
          Showing mercy to someone, by definition, is showing them compassion and forgiveness even when we may have the power or authority to punish them. Now we who once stood condemned before God have no such power and authority, yet at times we treat others as if we do. This ought not to be. We must show mercy and compassion to those who don’t know any better and likewise, show that same mercy and compassion to our fallen brothers and sisters. If God had not done that for us, where would we now be?


Monday, March 18, 2013


“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Trust - firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
          When we place our faith in Christ, can trust be far behind? Faith is belief. Trust is an outcropping of that belief. We are placing our trust in God. To what extent we trust God is up to us, but we are supposed to place the entirety of our trust in God to maximize our knowledge, blessings and benefit. Doing anything halfway will bring limited results. In reality, we must either be ‘all in’ or not bother. The Bible says in Revelation 3:16 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” It is said that lukewarm or tepid water induces vomiting. It is referring to the believer or church that is indifferent to living for God or only does works for God when it is convenient or when they derive some benefit from it. Believers such as this should be warned that such inaction and indifference shall result in rejection on the last day. Such believers have made God’s grace and the death of Christ into a cheap thing. As a result it will not go well for them in the end.
          Our trust is to be complete. We are to rely on the truth, ability and strength of Almighty God to fully take care of us. God is our champion, our deliverer and He is our Heavenly Father. As we place our faith in Him hope will blossom within our hearts. Peace and joy will flourish in our hearts as a result of our tenacious* faith. Our hope is fueled by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. He is the One that fills us. He is the One who leads and guides us. The catch is this: we must be attentive. As will live for God we must be ever watchful, ever listening for His still small voice to tell us to go this way or that way. It behooves us as ones who identify with Christ that we take full advantage of the resources that have been left for us. If we do so we will have joy and peace in our hearts which overflows from our obedient spirits. In that joy and peace lies enough hope for a lifetime.


* tending to keep a firm hold of something; clinging or adhering closely; determined.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


          Saw THE PASSION for the first time a couple nights ago. I bought it last year but never really had the chance to sit down uninterrupted and watch it. I knew what Jesus went through for me because I have read it in the gospels umpteen times before. I had always been mildly offended by the artist renderings that made it look like the Romans dragged a single rose thorn across Jesus body multiple times. In reality, when the Romans were done with Jesus, He looked like a slab of raw meat according to all I have read. “Just as there were many who were appalled at him -- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness …” (Isaiah 52:14) That is what scripture says with regards to the beating Jesus took. In my opinion, this movie comes as close as you could come to depicting that on screen. When the Roman scourge actually dug into His side taking chunks of flesh, I knew I was seeing what really, truly happened to our Lord. They beat the crown of thorns down about the head of Jesus. They mocked Him and spit on Him and continued to whip Him all the way to the top of Golgotha’s hill. He did that for us all. Other religions either deny the existence of Jesus or make Him out to be less than who He really was. I know Him personally. He is the Son of God and He is God. Since I am a visual learner, I will never forget the image of Christ hanging on the cross, bloodied, broken, a mere shell of a man; all for me, all for you. Reject Him if you are so inclined, but “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) rlk

Friday, March 15, 2013


“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
          Peter uttered these words to the very men who despised Jesus and had Him crucified. The Pharisees rejected Christ as their Messiah and now demanded to know by what authority Peter not only healed a lame man but spoke the words he was now saying to the crowds. Filled with the Holy Spirit of God he declared that it was none other than the very man they had murdered, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Above we find that Peter clearly states a truth that stands through the ages: salvation is found in no one else but Jesus Christ. No one else is coming. Christ alone took the brutal, torturous beatings. Christ alone allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross that was reserved for criminals. Christ alone suffered through separation from God for a time. Why on earth would anyone willingly go through this horrifying and excruciatingly painful ordeal? Why? Because God wanted us to know how deep His love was for us. He was willing to send His own Son to suffer and die so that we might live. No other religion provides payment for our sin debt. Most don’t even acknowledge Christ’s existence or at least deny His Sonship. Yet no other name under heaven can bring redemption to a man’s soul. People look for an easier way. They embrace belief systems that supposedly provide love, peace, enlightenment, but nothing can wash away our sins; nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ.
          Sin is a dirty business. It is ugly and nasty and evil. Who would take it on, stare it down and obliterate it once for all time? No one else can except God Himself, in the form of man; the God-man Jesus Christ. Jesus said the Pharisees in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days.” The fact that He used the first person “I” tells us of His equality with God. God saved us from ourselves and our own propensity to sin. He rescued us from our downward spiral. Nothing else this side of heaven can provide for us eternal forgiveness of all our sins.
          If someone proclaims another way to heaven, ignore him, in fact, run from him. Know the difference between the truth and lies. Stay focused on the only One who died for you. God loves you so much that He spread out His arms and died.


Thursday, March 14, 2013


“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” (2 Peter 1:8-9)
          What qualities are Peter speaking of? Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love; these are all qualities that are to exist in a Christian. We must cultivate them like a garden. They don’t just happen. They are borne out of certain diligence to acquire them. To not do so is to forget from what the Lord plucked us out of. We were all dying in our sins. Christ took our punishment and shame willingly. God knows the formula for better living; He knows what will bring us true peace, contentment and fulfillment in this life. He knows that if we exhibit these aforementioned character qualities we will not only be better off ourselves but be an example to those around us of what can be if they too would submit to the Lordship of Christ.
          To possess these qualities is to own them like a new set of clothes. We are to wear them. We are to exhibit them. We are to be a shining representative of our Lord each day. While days will no doubt come when we will not be ‘on our game’ so to speak, that doesn’t mean we lose these qualities. Because we are human we will have good days and bad days; days when our mood is up and days when it is down. We are painfully human and God understands this. He created us from nothing in our mother’s womb. He knows everything about us and in so knowing also knows the greatness that is within us, for He placed it there. It started as a seed and depending on how we have proceeded in life; that seed either grew or dried up for lack of nourishment. However, like a burned out vineyard, if we seek hard enough we will find a piece of the root somewhere that is alive and from that smallest piece of live root can grow a luscious vineyard once again.
          Do not be discouraged if you do not feel you have these characteristics listed above. It is never too late to acquire them and they are available to you just for the asking. If you ask God to move within you by His Holy Spirit and make you all He knows you can be in His name, it will happen. It takes time, but as it has been said before, time only means something to us … time is irrelevant to God. Become all you can be; allow God to mold you a little more into His image each day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)
          Anyone with an addictive problem, such as alcohol, cigarettes, drugs or gambling, has to admit they have a problem before they can get help. Essentially, they have to confess their addictive behavior and then ask for help. Scripture tells us we are all addicted to sin, in a manner of speaking (Romans 3:23). We habitually sin because we don’t really know any better. We’ve been born with a sense of right and wrong, yet have a repeated tendency to do that which is wrong, rather than right. Like any other addictive behavior, a person cannot get help until they confess and seek help.
          For the unbeliever seeking forgiveness, there is one important additional step … repentance. As stated, we are all sinners; no one is absolved. Just like any addiction, we have a choice. We can ignore those who say we have a problem and thus continue on our downward spiral or we can wake up and finally realize that those trying to help us just might not be the enemy after all. People that care say something. That is why Christians witness to lost souls about the forgiveness God offers resulting in a second chance. God does what He promises. If we confess our sinfulness, He will forgive us; once for all time. He will never hold our confessed sins against us again. When we receive His forgiveness, termed ‘redemption’, we are instantly purified making us righteous in His sight. God sees us through the blood of Christ. Nothing else is required for our sins to be washed clean. Nothing else will cleanse us either; only Christ’s blood. It is the sole reason He willingly went to the cross in the first place. God knew nothing else could do the job. Sending Jesus Christ into this world is the most powerful way God could have shown us His love. A living, breathing example; one who fit in with those He lived among.
          Even after we have been redeemed we can still sin. When we do, we simply ask God to forgive us with an attitude of sincerity and remorse and He forgives us. When someone says they’re sorry the implication is that they will strive to change their future behavior. To not make that adjustment cheapens God’s grace. Seek forgiveness, receive it, reassess your life and move forward in God’s grace a changed person.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


“Above all you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)
          Peter’s second letter is to well-grounded Christians who are under attack by false teachers who have infiltrated their churches. They were propagating a false teaching regarding the grace of God, resulting in skewed ethics and morals. This was becoming a problem particularly for new believers and those weak in their faith. Here we see Peter stressing that the Word of God which we hold so dear was not written by mere men, but was spoken by Almighty God via the Holy Spirit into and through prophets, hand chosen by God to relay the message He wished to impart. The grace of God is defined as unmerited or undeserved favor. It is something we do not deserve to have bestowed upon us, yet God, in His good pleasure, has seen fit to bless us with it. Not only are we to understand that the Bible is God’s Word and not words that emanated from any man, we are to accept it as such and live by it. These believers written to by Peter were for the most part solid in their faith. Peter encourages them to never revert back to their old sinful lifestyle based on heretical teaching. We are to know and understand that what is written in scripture can be relied upon and that the promises given can be trusted to be true.
          As we look at our own lives can we honestly say that anything we have trusted the Lord to do for us has failed? I dare say ‘no’. Men squabble about the authenticity of scripture all day long, in the hopes of finding some real, substantial truths they can hang their hat on and not writings that were undoubtedly filled with human error, at least in their minds. Man doesn’t want to be controlled. They don’t want to be reined in. They don’t want restrictions. They want to find fault with standards that have been set in ages past so as to justify their own lives as they have chosen to live them. To accept the reality of God requires us to not only place our faith in Him, but trust in Him as well. If we have decided to trust Him then we must trust what He says about Himself and about His Word in the Bible. If we do not, we are merely picking and choosing that which we feel comfortable believing rather than accepting the truth as it is laid out. Trust God. Trust His Word. It represents our standard to live by. Without it we are rudderless ships.


[ Read 2 Timothy 3:14-4:4 ]

Monday, March 11, 2013


“Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him.” (Deuteronomy 8:6)

          In chapter 8 of Deuteronomy, Moses is speaking to the people of Israel after having administered the Ten Commandments. He is telling them to observe and obey the commands God had set forth. Blessings abound for those who do; disciple awaits those who do not. There is also a solemn warning to remember and not forget God once their bellies were full, their livestock pens were filled and their comfort is achieved, for if they do they will be destroyed. This may seem like a very odd thing to us, to be destroyed for disobedience. Punished perhaps, we can relate to that based on punishment our parents may have doled out to us at one time or another, but destruction? I believe this means that if after we have enjoyed all the blessings God has for us we become proud and feel no need of Him in our lives we will come to ruin. It may not be immediate, but if we stay on that course we will surely find ourselves severely lacking at some point. God is gracious, kind and loving. He warns us and has placed His Holy Spirit in us to guide us; however, we must take advantage of Him to direct us in our daily lives. Thinking we can make it in this life without God is risky business and foolhardy at best. We can do nothing of any consequence, nothing of any eternal value without God. Living for ourselves provides only temporary satisfaction. Living for God provides lasting peace and ultimate fulfillment.
          Remembering God when times are good can be a challenge unless you have determined to diligently strive after Him. What we need to do is make Him a part of our everyday life. Establishing a relationship with God comes with salvation. Cultivating it is up to us. God isn’t going to force feed us His Word, nor should anyone else for that matter. It must be our decision or it will not stick. We must determine in our own hearts to serve and obey God. We must also be the ones to remember Him at all times, whether good or bad. Calling on Him only when we are in trouble leads to a shallow, one-sided relationship that will not profit us one iota. As we make the commitment to serve Him regardless of our circumstances we will begin to experience the true grace of God. There is nothing as satisfying as knowing we are right with our God and that He loves us without hesitation or condition. I challenge you to immerse yourself in God this day and see what a difference it makes in your life.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


          I was walking the mall the other day and something dawned on me. As I looked around at the people around me I noticed that the vast majority of them were either sitting or walking and either talking on phones or feverishly texting. The thought occurred to me, have we lost the art of interpersonal relations? We sit in front of computers 24/7 chatting with this person or that person. We yak yak yak on our cell phones to whoever. We Skype, email, Facebook, twitter … where is the human touch? Where are the casual, meaningful conversations people used to have with one another? Now it seems as though people have no time to do anything but rush about from one place to the next. Are we slowly killing ourselves for the want of kindness and dialogue that involves something deeper than shallow, meaningless banter? We text in a language of symbols and as a result seem to have lost the art of correct spelling altogether. The dumbing down of society is in full swing and no one seems to notice. It’s no wonder people don’t have time for God; they don’t seem to even have time to live.
          As for me, I seek a simpler life; a life where I take the time to ponder nature’s beauty and wonder at the marvels of God’s creation. Life is precious and indeed fleeting. In the grand scheme of things our lives are but a mere tick of the clock; here one day, gone the next. We truly must not waste our days in the manner that we do. We must embrace life; interpersonal contact breeds love, peace, harmony, contentment and as in the end, fulfillment. God is always here to assist in that endeavor. rk

Friday, March 8, 2013


“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
          Are you in a difficult set of circumstances that have you deeply troubled? Oh yes, Christians have difficulties just like anyone else in this world. Did you know that God sees you in your situation and has either caused or allowed it for His own purposes? Did you also know that nothing can befall you that God cannot see you through? To think that once we become a Christian our lives will be pristine and perfect is foolhardy. We must still live in this decaying world and are subject to the same trials and tribulations as the rest of creation. We, however, have an advocate that the world knows nothing of. We have the Holy Spirit to comfort us and lead us through our darkest hour. Our Heavenly Father is at the end of that which has us vexed. He will see us through to the other side of it. For what reason do we encounter such troubles you may ask? Paul states it clearly in his second letter to the Corinthian church; we are brought through and comforted by our Lord so that we may provide that same comfort to others at a time when they are in need.
          We do not serve a God who is hard of hearing or unable to see, for scripture is clear; God is all-seeing and all-knowing. To think that we are in our circumstances alone is contrary to God’s Word. Hebrews 13:5 echoes that which God had said in Deuteronomy 31:6 - “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” The word ‘never’ simply means “at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever”. Therefore we can rely on God to keep His word because we have no doubt ever encountered a time when He could not be trusted. I dare say God has been the most reliable of anyone we have ever known.
          So when we find ourselves on the other side of the turbulence that has knocked us about, comforted by God and at peace, we must be ever mindful of those who are in the midst of some difficulties that we might be ready to bring them comfort just as God has done for us. By this we show both our brothers and sisters in Christ and the world the mercy, grace and love of God in a way they can see and embrace.


Thursday, March 7, 2013


"I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." (Jeremiah 17:10)
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
          There is no place we can hide our true thoughts or intentions. That needn’t frighten us as Christians unless we are involved in things that we ought not to be involved in. The fact that God judges a man according to his heart’s motivation, rather than external things should be pleasing to Christians. This way the righteous shall be rewarded on the last day. However, it is not a reward we are to seek, but rather the shear knowledge of living in obedience to the proclamation of God which should bring us pleasure. The blessings will come, make no mistake about that, but if getting blessed is the driving force behind serving God, then our thinking is amiss. We serve God because we feel compelled to first and foremost because of all that He is. Secondly, we ought to serve Him because of all He has done for us.
          A good adage to follow is ‘would you say or do what you are about to if Jesus were standing right there with you?’ God desires that we live peaceful lives as we live for Him. He wants to raise us up to be beacons of light in a dark world. He wants to use us to proclaim His mercy and grace. God knows all about what you are going through right now, so cast your fears, concerns and anxiety fully upon Him. If there is any offensive way in you, give it over to God. He already knows about it and will forgive you if you ask. There is nothing God cannot and will not do for you if you put the full weight of your trust upon Him. I have often said in my writings that God knows us intimately. This is why; because He truly does know all our thoughts and the motivations of our hearts. You truly cannot know anyone any better than that. He desires to bless us and has chosen to use us. Allow God to have His way in your life, for in doing so you will over time be at peace and have a sense of true fulfillment, regardless of your circumstances.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013


“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” (Isaiah 25:1)
“ … if we are faithless, he will remain faithful(*), for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
Faithful - loyal, constant, and steadfast ... resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.
          Is God faithful? If so, just how faithful is He? We can know by our own walk with Him just how faithful He is. Let me ask you a question: In all the years you have walked with Him has God ever once failed or disappointed you? I have had a personal relationship with God for nearly 34 years and I have never, ever known Him to fail to do that which He has promised. Any pain that I have experienced, either emotional or physical, I have brought on myself; it had nothing to do with God. In spite of my being obstinate through the years, He has never left me which is evidence of His incredible patience. God is constant in all His ways; we are woefully inconsistent. Although our faith wanes at times, His faithfulness remains true as testimony to God’s unchanging character. God has wonderful things in store for those who trust in and rely on Him to see them through this life into the next.
          God’s faithfulness is such that we are given no reason to doubt that our forgiveness is real and everlasting. It shall not ever be taken away from us. Our confidence should stem from the fact that God has never given us a reason to not trust Him. Armed with this knowledge we should faithfully serve God in whatever capacity He leads us.
          We must be able to differentiate between God’s denial and our own stubbornness to do as we please. To believe in God is to know Him and to know Him requires time, patience and determination. The closer we become to God the more things will begin to make sense. Eventually we come to the place where make sense or not, we will trust Him. Why; because God has been and always shall be loyal, constant, resolute and unwavering in His faithfulness to His children. That is a truth that we can rely on throughout our life. For that we are to lift up and praise His name.


(*) This is a wonderful affirmation of assurance that although we are called to endure and be faithful, salvation does not rest ultimately on our faithfulness, but upon that of Christ. [Reformation Study Bible]

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


“So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full— then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)
          These are the words of God to the people of Israel just after the Ten Commandments had been presented to them by Moses. While there may not be a direct correlation between this time in history and us today, I believe it would be very appropriate to exercise poetic license by saying the following: 'When you have trusted the Lord to provide for and sustain you in every way and you have eaten your fill and are comfortable, do not forget your God.' It is easy to focus on the here and now and let God slide to the deep recesses of your conscientiousness. We serve a jealous God. He will share credit with no one for He is the One who has provided for and sustained us and not we ourselves. On our best and most productive day our efforts would pale in comparison to what God has done for us. If God decided to completely turn His back and disown us, we would cease to exist. There would be no light, no air to breathe … just massive nothingness. But we serve a God who is loving, kind and merciful. He knows we are but dust and to dust we shall someday return. Enjoy the blessings He has given you; however, never forget Him.
          We are never to forget Him not for the ‘things’ He has done and is still doing. We are to never forget Him because He is worth remembering. We are to remember Him always because of who He is: the Almighty Creator God who made us from nothing for His own pleasure. It is a matter of our will to determine to serve God and worship Him. There is nothing He can’t do for us if asked, yet God is not a genie in a bottle granting wishes indiscriminately. He is who He is and He does what He does because He loves us with a never-ending, unconditional love. How can we not want to share Him with those around us who have not yet found Him? May God be praised both now and forever simply for who He is.


Monday, March 4, 2013


“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9)
          Moses was dead. God installed Joshua as the new leader of the people of Israel. It was he who would be responsible for leading the people across the River Jordan into the land promised to them by God. The above verses are part of what God had said to Joshua when He was commissioning him to be Israel’s leader.
          As New Testament believers, we are not required to adhere to the Book of the Law. Christ’s death on the cross bridged the gap between God and man when He paid for all our sins with His own blood. In the course of our walk with God have you ever considered that as you live your life for God you actually are obeying the original commandments sent down from Mount Sinai by Almighty God through Moses?
          We are to obey the decrees of Christ. We are to begin new behavior by virtue of our conversion. Once redeemed the Holy Spirit of God resides within us. If we allow Him to, changes begin to manifest themselves. As we read His word we begin to realize that His charge for us is to love and obey God, love our brothers and sisters as we love ourselves and be ready to share with others the hope that is within us. We need to understand that God is always with us. There is nowhere that He is not for He is ever-present or all places at the same time. We have nothing to fear or be discouraged about for our Lord will be with us wherever we go in this life. These are promises we can count on.
          To take full advantage of the promises of God we must know what they are and the only way we can know that is to read His word. Ask God to expand your mind to better understand what He wants to say to you. He will you know. He wants you to know Him better so that you can be not only blessed in this life, but a blessing to others. As we seek to serve God with our lives on a daily basis we end up living the Ten Commandments even though it is no longer required. Obey God and as a result be strong and courageous in your faith.


Saturday, March 2, 2013


          Sometimes, just when you think things are at their darkest a light appears. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, try to do the right thing and want to live lives that are pleasing to God, but fall into the continual trap of fretting and worrying. It is normal behavior, yet so unnecessary. I concern myself far less than I used to about the future, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get concerned. The future can appear very daunting at times. There is a certain blackness about it; void of any color. It’s exactly like entering into a pitch dark room. Even after your eyes adjust to the darkness you still cannot see. If we are a Christian, we have a built in light; He is the Holy Spirit. Although we still cannot see where we are going, if we rely on God’s Spirit to guide us, we will end up where we are supposed to be. We cannot make it in this life all by ourselves. There is no prize at the end for doing so. Only death awaits us, for it comes to us all. Even the conclusiveness of death cannot put a damper on the hope that should be within the genuine believer, for God is in us and will take us into His eternal rest when our life is over. For the Christian, the unknown is nothing to fear. We should embrace the unknown for in it lies the plans God has for us. He has never, nor will he ever fail us or leave us behind. It is His solemn promise in His word. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6) “Them” represents all the unknowns that awaited the Jews after they crossed Jordan into the Promised Land of Canaan. It also can represent all that is unknown to you. Don’t lose your focus.
        “Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
          Look full in His wonderful face,
          And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
          In the light of His glory and grace.”
          [Words & music by Helen H. Lemmel; 1863-1961]

Friday, March 1, 2013


“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:10-14)
          Jesus was God’s grandest revelation of Himself to the world. He created the world and everything in it and then came into the world in the flesh to reveal Himself to His chosen ones, the Jews. However, they rejected Him so gentiles were then offered the gift of new life (Romans 11:19-21). It is more than just receiving Christ that must be done. The Holy Spirit of God reveals Christ to us and we know just as the hand-picked men who were to become disciples knew; Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, the Christ; the Savior of the world. Through our acceptance of Christ’s redemptive work by willingly dying on a cross reserved for criminals, we have been given a new lease on life. Each and every sin we have ever committed has been forgiven, never to be held against us again. We have become children of God. It is not just believing in His name, for even the demons believe in the name of Jesus and shudder at the mention of it (James 2:19). We are new creatures in Christ. We are to behave differently. As we allow the Holy Spirit to move within us we will begin to change. It is imperative that we nourish our spirits by feasting on His word. How else can we truly know God more intimately and understand how we are to live our lives? I believe God wants to use us all to minister His mercy and grace to those who do not yet know Him. We are born of God, not by any mere man and therefore we should emulate our Heavenly Father and not the latest fad or trend that comes down the pike. We are to be different, because we are different. Not weird different, lovingly different. If we are truly attempting to live for God we will be at peace with our life choices because we have sought His guidance and waited for it. God desires that we know Him and love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We will never be perfect this side of heaven, but that is no reason why we shouldn’t reach for it as a runner extends his reach for the finish line.