BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Stop by and check them out from time to time to see what has changed. May God's blessings to you be abundant. rlkeller


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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

OUR CALLING


“… 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.” (Ephesians 4:1b-3)
 
          We are called to live holy lives. We are called to live as ambassadors of Christ. We are called to present the gospel message to those we encounter who are blind and do not see. We are to be humble and gentle, kind and loving. We are to be patient with others.  We are to love as Christ loved.  Are we up to the task? It’s an individual charge that we receive from God. Each of us is supposed to pick up the gauntlet and move forward in the name of the Lord. Even in the mundane chores of life we can exhibit Christ’s love, kindness and patience. There is nothing extraordinary about what we are asked to do. It should become a part of who we are; a part that has been molded into our character by the Holy Spirit.
          Once we received Christ in our hearts and lives we were changed. For the first time in our lives we were truly clean. The burden of our sins had been lifted from us and we were truly alive. In response to that new life we are to allow the Spirit of God to begin a construction job that would take the rest of our lives. We never fully arrive at the destination of perfect holiness, yet we are seen as holy by God because He sees us through the blood of Christ.
          In the body of Christ there is to be a unity of the Spirit. We are to keep that unity, as much as it is within us, through a bond of peace. We are to live at peace and in peace with others. It is achieved through the cultivation of our personal relationship with God. A garden that is ignored is a garden that will shrivel up and die for lack of sustenance and maintenance. Our relationship with God is exactly the same. If we go about our days without time spent alone with Him, by our actions we display God’s importance to us. We must always remember and never forget what God has done for us. Without Christ’s willingness to die for our sins we would be eternally lost. What does that truly mean to us? Does it mean enough to change? Does it mean enough to alter the trajectory of our walk with Him? It ought to. But it is your decision. No one can make it for you. Live as a person who has been given a second chance at life, because that is the reality of it. Be all God desires you to be in Christ’s name.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, April 29, 2013

OBEDIENCE


“… (The Lord) said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.’” … “After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” … “The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.” (Job 42:7b, 10, 12a)
 
          Obedience; it is vital to the walk of a Christian. What is the point of saying you are a believer in God and yet ignore His word? Why would you live your life and not follow the statutes of the King? Job was attacked by Satan; God allowed it to show Job’s level of obedience and devotion to Him. Satan was allowed to do all manner of punishment to him and all that belonged to him, just short of taking his life. Job was visited by 3 seemingly trusted friends who cast aspersions on his character by assuming that he had done wrong in the eyes of God and was therefore being punished. John 9:3 comes to mind: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” God was putting Job’s faith to the test and in the end he passed with flying colors as shown in vv. 10 & 12.
          What does Job have to do with us today? Many times calamity strikes at our heart or our entire family and we don’t understand why. What good is our faith if it is not put to the test? If a ship at sea never encountered violent storms, how would the captain know it was truly sea worthy? The true test is whether our faith abandons us or if we know our God so intimately that it stands strong in the face of any test. After Job had gone through his trial and come out on the other side of it, God asked him to pray for his friends. God was angry with them for their lack of support and their failure to tell the truth about God to their friend Job. If was only after Job followed God’s instructions that the Lord restored to him more than he had once had. His obedience was rewarded. We, too, are to obey our God, even in the face of mounting odds. Nothing and no one is greater than God. God’s nature will never change. Obeying Him should be a ‘no-brainer’, as the saying goes. We shouldn’t even have to give it a second thought. It is when we disobey God that things get dicey. Faith leads to trust which leads to reliance which should lead to obedience. We can only accomplish all this by cultivating an intimate relationship with our God.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 75

           God’s timing is perfect even though we many times we don’t realize it.  We are bound by the constraint of time and God is not.  We make appointments that are based on a certain day and time.  We oversleep and become late for events on our calendars.  We become impatient when we feel too much time is being taken from us.  God does things for us when He knows the right time has come.  Scripture tells us in Psalm 121:3-4 that God “neither slumbers nor does He sleep”.   He is in touch with our comings and goings so much so that nothing that happens to us escapes His gaze.  His timing is impeccable. It is never wrong.  We live by the clock, God does what pleases Him and it is always good and righteous and just.  This is just one reason why God can be trusted, so much so that we can surrender our very lives to Him and He will take care of us.  When we rely on God for our everything, we can rest assured that all will be done in order and turn out for our greatest good and to His ultimate glory.  rlk

Friday, April 26, 2013

THE CLEANSING

“Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” (Hebrew 7:26-27)
 
          Old Testament High Priests were holy men from the tribe of Levi, as ordained by God. They carried out the sacrificial ordinances by offering sin sacrifices for the people of Israel. Each year a Jew must have his sins expunged through a blood sacrifice. Melchizedek appears in scripture as a type of Christ, in that he had no beginning or end to his life (Hebrews 7:1-10). Christ came “in the order of Melchizedek and not in the order of Aaron” (v.11), from whence earthly priests came. Christ was the one priest who had no beginning and has no end and is the only one who can remove the sins of all men once for all time because of who He is; the Son of the Most High God. His shed blood was all that was needed to completely eradicate the sins of each and every man. To eradicate means to “pull up by the roots”, thus doing away with it completely. That is exactly what the blood of Christ does for us. It must, however, be understood that this ‘gift’ of grace from God must be accepted. We don’t stand forgiven by osmosis. We must recognize our need of cleansing and receive forgiveness by asking Christ to come into our heart and life by His Holy Spirit. That’s when changes begin to take place for us if we will allow them. Our free will allows us to receive forgiveness and simply walk away just as 9 of the 10 lepers did when they were healed by Jesus in Luke 17:11-19.
          Receiving Christ into our lives is a monumental event in a person’s life. Every sin you have ever committed in your entire life up to that point in your existence has been removed from your record; you have been completely cleaned. As way of illustration, think of how difficult tar is to remove from any part of your body; it is nearly impossible. Now think of Christ’s blood as a type of solvent, if I might be permitted to use such a lowly comparison, which totally wipes away all remnants of the tar, residue and all. That is, in a manner of speaking, what Christ’s blood has done for us. Therefore in the words of Jesus, you are forgiven, “go and sin no more” (John 8:1-10).

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

CONTINUE IN YOUR FAITH


“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation - if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” (Colossians 1:21-23)
          Colossae, though a small town 100 miles inland from the port city of Ephesus, still had problems within its Christian community that Paul was compelled to address. A false teaching which allowed that strict legalistic self-denial would protect the believers from evil powers had surfaced. Paul chose to combat this doctrine with a reiteration of the sovereignty of Christ. Sovereignty, in this case, means supreme power.
          In the above scriptures, Paul is reminding the Colossian believers that they were once apart from God and enemies of His due to their sinful behavior. The death of Christ’s body on the cross offered a way for them and us today to be brought back into right relationship with our Creator. When individuals receive the forgiveness Christ offers they are immediately seen as holy in God’s sight and the gap between creature and Creator has been bridged. Not only are we seen as holy, but completely free of all sin. As if that were not good enough, our past sins shall never be held against us in the future. We are forgiven and God chooses not to remember it against us ever again.
          Paul alerts his readers that we are not in a ‘one and done’ situation, but that we must continue on in our faith; we are to allow our faith to grow. To do this we must not move from the hope given to us in the gospel. We must read the scriptures to maintain a level of continuity; an uninterrupted connection with our God, for to not do so would cause us to shrivel and die spiritually. Just like our physical bodies need sustenance, so our spirit requires spiritual food. This is found in reading the Bible and being in tune with other positive Christian influences around us. A well-crafted, spirit infused sermon can provide food, as can the lyrics from hymns and contemporary Christian songs. Churches that spend time worshipping God feed the spirit also. So you see we have a part to play in our own spiritual growth. Like a garden, where one must cultivate the soil and tend to the seedlings planted to as to see it come into full bloom, we must do nothing less to see our faith come into full bloom even in the face of life’s problems.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

TRIALS

“…for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6b-9)
          Many Christians do not understand why they must go through trials in this life. They misunderstand the true nature of God, in that; they expect only good and pleasant things to come their way because they have received Christ. There is a very specific reason why we as Christians experience trials and it is spelled out here in Peter’s first letter to the believers scattered throughout various provinces. Our trials come to prove the genuineness of our faith. Is our faith the kind that folds like a lawn chair when the least little obstacle comes our way or is it the kind of faith that will stand tall in the face of any storm that hits us. Peter is telling us that our faith is far more valuable then gold, for even gold will melt at 1,948 degrees. We are to brace ourselves by feeding our spirit man with His word and know in our heart and mind that trials come for our benefit and not to harm us. As we grow we will begin to grasp their benefit. When we accept the fact that God is in control of all things, we will understand that means He is therefore in control of all things that affect us as well. He either causes or allows everything that takes place for His own purposes and for that He must be trusted.
          It is an interesting concept to believe in someone we cannot experience with our senses. Through spiritual eyes, believers see God all around us. As doubts fade and our faith grows we become filled with joy that cannot be expressed with mere words. It is in the intimate relationship we cultivate with our God that we experience this. We love God, believe in Him and trust Him and that blesses Him. God only wishes good for us and not evil. Evil exists in the world; we see it and hear of it every day, but God is not the author of it. Like God, Satan also never sleeps as he attempts to destroy this world and everyone in it. It is our faith in God that kick starts our journey which leads ultimately to our great reward; the salvation of our soul.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

WHO ARE WE LIVING FOR?

“For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” (Romans 14:10b-12)
 
“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.” (Isaiah 45:22-23)
 
          The Roman believers were dealing with the age old problem of judging their own. Paul had to deal with this problem essentially by reminding them that we will all stand before God’s judgment seat; believers before the Bema or Mercy Seat of Christ where our works will be tested by fire (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10) and unbelievers before the White Throne Judgment of God (Revelation 20:11-15). On that great and terrible day all rights will be wronged and all judgments made, justly and without emotion. On Judgment Day all those who shunned and disregarded their need for God will stand before Him in awe as their tongues, which questioned His very existence and ridiculed those who served Him, will have nothing to say. All those who “believed” in Him, yet didn’t allow Him to have say in any of their affairs, will rue the day they lived only for themselves and never took advantage of the gracious gift of salvation that God freely offers. On that day, atheists, agnostics, apostates, hedonists, members of false religions and cults; all men who turned from the One true God in favor of an easier road, will stand in judgment of their fateful decision. For it was their decision and not God’s to cast aside His precious gift. God sends no one to hell and takes no pleasure in having to send them there (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 1 Timothy 2:4). It is by a person’s rejection of Christ and the forgiveness His death provides that they are condemned.
          For those who embrace the truth and live for God, their judgment will not involve their salvation, for if they have received Christ and are living for Him their eternal destination is secure. Only the works they have done for the kingdom will be judged. As believers in Christ we are to strive to be like Christ in all we think, say and do. What benefit does it provide for ourselves or anyone else if we slide into heaven by the skin of our teeth? We should want to be all we can be for God. Allowing Him to have His way in our lives is one way to start.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, April 22, 2013

OBEDIENCE THROUGH FAITH

“Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles* to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.” (Romans 1:5)
 
          Faith is supposed to lead to obedience. Paul clearly states that through Christ the disciples were called to become apostles with the mission to convert not only the Jews, but now also the Gentiles. A disciple is a follower, but an apostle is one sent on a mission. Although the twelve disciples wavered in their faith from time to time, once they experienced Pentecost and were filled with boldness and God’s Holy Spirit, they were ready to proclaim the grace and mercy of God to the nations.
          I want to address the notion of faith leading to obedience. There must be a reason why Christ went to the cross on our behalf. Could it be that we are simply to accept the gift of forgiveness and move on? No. There is supposed to be a change that occurs within our heart, soul and spirit. Biblical obedience simply means that we will allow ourselves to be guided by an external force, which in this case is the Holy Spirit of God. How can we know this guidance that is being offered? It can only be known through close contact or fellowship. Spending time with someone is how you will come to know them intimately. We must spend time with God each day so that we become familiar with His promises and His requirements. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” His promises and His requirements are always in our best interest and shall bring Him the greatest glory. God wishes to bless us; however, we must give something up. While we will always have our free will, we are to willingly give it up to God so that He can effectively instruct us and then use us to minister His grace and mercy to a lost and dying world.
          God is in complete control of all things and knows what He is doing. If we say we believe in God we need to start to trust Him to use us for the sake of the Kingdom. We can do mighty things in the name of the Lord if we will surrender to the leadership of Christ in our lives. Our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price and because of that purchase, we are once again in right standing with our Creator God. Allow Him to mold you and use you for His glory today.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man (Paul) is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’” (Acts 9:15-16)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 74


          Life is always changing. One day it’s sunny, the next it’s rainy.  Our bodies’ age, our weight constantly fluctuates and our health is dependent on outside forces that many times we cannot control. Through all of our lives there remains one thing that is constant; one thing that will never change.  That one thing is Almighty God.  It is absolutely mind blowing to think of all that we do in our lives, both good and bad, yet God stands as a lone bastion of continual strength and truth. There is no falsehood in Him.  God stands alone as the one who can provide for us, sustain us, heal us, protect us, lead us, instruct us and love us throughout our lives.  As believers, we can trust and rely on God for His track record shows that He has never failed us.  Things may not have always taken place the way or when we wanted them to, but I am confident that not one of us can say it was the wrong timing or provision.  Any mistakes that have been made are by us, not God and usually because we became impatient and ran ahead of Him.  God knows what He’s doing and shall never, ever fail us.  He is the one constant in this sea of inconsistency that we can place our undying, unwavering faith in. rlk

Friday, April 19, 2013

RESURRECTED TO NEW LIFE


“For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-22)
 
          Corinth was a hodgepodge of various influences from the East and the West with Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Jews all living together in one city. A wide variety of beliefs were proclaimed side by side on the city streets. Divisions had occurred in the Corinth church with spiritual arrogance becoming an issue. Apparently some, like the Sadducees in Jesus day, did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Paul is addressing that issue in the portion of the letter shown above.
          Paul makes the case that if the resurrection of the dead did not take place our faith in Christ would be a waste of our time. Paul first saw Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19). He was in His resurrected state and appeared as an intense heavenly light. So while Paul did not know or see Jesus while He was alive on this earth, he had a very real encounter with the risen Lord which caused him to repent and do as he was instructed, be a light to the Gentiles. The thought of Christ being resurrected is a fact to him and he forcefully defended its reality.
          Without Christ’s resurrection, our faith is useless. If all we have is hope of salvation in this life with no hope of an afterlife with God, then we are indeed without any true hope at all. For hope is what ignites passion and enables us to present the gospel message with such assurance. Christians today stand firm in their belief that Jesus Christ was raised by the power of the Holy Spirit from His grave to stand among men once again before He ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. Those who deny the resurrection of Christ have not experienced the life changing event that salvation brings. When we encounter the truth we are compelled to stare wide eyed at its validity and embrace it as absolute truth. Because of the resurrection of Christ we have a life worth living.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

WE ARE TO CHANGE

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)
 
Belief - a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.
 
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
 
          The title ‘Lord’ is the English equivalent to the Hebrew ‘Jehovah’. It is the name the Jews never utter. Whenever it occurs in scripture they substitute the name ‘Elohim’ for God or ‘Adonai’ for Lord. The meaning of Jehovah is either ‘HE IS’ or ‘I AM’ depending on its usage. “ … it denotes the self-existence, independence, immutability, and infinite fullness of the divine Being, which is a pledge that he will fulfill all his promises.”* If you take the Bible in its entirety and don’t just pick and choose the verses that you like, believe and adhere to, you will find that when the Bible says that all you have to do is proclaim “Jesus is Lord” or as it says in verse 13 “call on the name of the Lord and you shall be saved” it doesn’t mean that you can proclaim these truths and then simply go on with your life. That would be the same as realizing that God loved me no matter what state I am in and not allow that fact to change you.
          When we come to the realization that Jesus truly is our Savior, having saved us from the fiery pit of hell, we should also understand that He desires to be our Lord as well. He is capable of doing for us whatever is necessary for us to succeed in this life, but our success cannot be measured monetarily. Our success is linked to our obedience to the word of God which is found in the Bible. Being a Christian involves a whole lot more than just declaring “yes, I believe in God”. James 2:19 tells us that the demons of hell believe in Christ and shudder and quake in fear at the sound of His name. God is not some genie in a bottle that we call on whenever we need Him. God is the Almighty Creator of all things and deserving of all glory, honor and praise. We are to shed our old skin and become all He knows we can be FOR HIM and His kingdom.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* American Tract Bible Society Dictionary

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

THE FOOLISHNESS OF THE CROSS

“Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:22-25)
 
          The way it was back in Bible times is still the way it is today. “… the logic of the Gospel defies human wisdom and conventional expectations.” * The Jews are to this very day still looking for a Messiah King who will rid them of injustice, intolerance and suffering once and for all. The thought that their Messiah would come in the form of a baby born in a manger and grow up among the commoners of their land was far more than they could accept. His claim to be God’s Son pushed them over the edge, so they had Him killed.  Gentiles** were and still are looking for a logical explanation for all this God talk. They cannot agree to what they cannot experience with their senses. Remember, the Gentiles Paul is speaking to in Corinth never saw Jesus, so while faith associated with sight was needed during Christ’s ministry years, raw faith without actually having seen Him is now required. The Weymouth New Testament translation of Romans 5:7 sums up the illogical nature of Christ’s death: “Why, it is scarcely conceivable that anyone would die for a simply just man, although for a good and lovable man perhaps someone, here and there, will have the courage even to lay down his life.” It’s true. Christ dying on a criminals cross makes absolutely no sense to the finite mortal mind. That is the beauty of the message; that is the beauty of grace. All of God’s power and wisdom were found in the person of Jesus Christ. There is nothing about it that makes any logical sense at all. It is nothing more than God’s divine favor administered to man. The truth of the gospel is there for anyone to see, hear and respond to. Questions by the millions are asked by people who have yet to believe. Answers are not forthcoming. Answers to questions that require faith to accept and believe will never come. It would negate the need for faith.
          While Christianity may seem like utter foolishness and its followers like weak minded fools, one day every eye shall see Christ as He returns in all His glory. Then it won’t seem so foolish; then it will be too late. Embrace the risen Savior while He may be found and live debt free.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

* Asbury Bible Commentary
** Anyone who is not a Jew.

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.” [Asbury Bible Commen

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

IMMERSION

“So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:12b-14)

          Paul’s letter to the Roman Church was written in Corinth while he was on his way to Jerusalem with funds he had collected for the poor. He had never visited Rome to this point and was hoping to lay out a systematic presentation of the Gospel so as to win the favor of the Romans. This would enable him to utilize Rome as a missionary center or home base, if you will, to launch from. He had designs on visiting Spain with the Gospel and Rome would be a perfect launching point.
          Here we see Paul encouraging those believers in Rome to set aside dark deeds and put on the armor God offers to every believer. This armor is discussed at length in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church. We are not to act one way in plain sight of others during the day and be involved in highly questionable activities after the sun has set. Paul tells us directly to clothe ourselves in Christ. When we place clothing on our bodies it hangs on us and covers us. Clothing protects us from exposure to the elements. In like manner Christ protects us from all evil and directs us into all truth. We are to put on Christ as we would a garment and wear it daily so as to protect ourselves from the wiles of our adversary. The devil will do his best to trip us up so it is crucial that we become immersed in Christ. That goes further than Paul’s statement of clothing ourselves. I believe it goes much deeper than that. Immersion doesn’t always imply being dipped in some sort of liquid. It can also mean “involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest”. We need to involve ourselves in Godly endeavors. We need to make sure we avoid places and activities that provide unnecessary temptations. A Christian’s life is not a boring one filled with a lot of restrictions, but rather an exciting life where we live for God and watch His will unfold right in front of us. We must be paying attention to see it and must be attuned to what He is doing or we will miss it. God knows what He’s doing. Immerse yourself in Christ today and see what happens. Immersion isn’t salvation, but rather the next step which brings a closeness and understanding. Make Christ the focal point of your life.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, April 15, 2013

LOVE REPLACES THE LAW

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18)
 
          The editor’s title for the section in Leviticus from 17:1 thru 26:46 is ‘Instructions for Holy Living’. While we are no longer bound by the Mosaic Law as current Jews are, we are still to live lives that are examples to the world of the love our God has for all of mankind. We are to forgive and not hold a grudge. We are to never seek vengeance on another, but rather show mercy. We are to show love to our neighbors. Our neighbors, as the below note tells us, are not limited to those within our community of faith, but rather those who are alien to our beliefs. Therefore, we are to show love to all. As an outcropping of that love, we are to exhibit patience, compassion, mercy and grace. It isn’t always easy, especially in the face of ridicule or ignorance; however, the scriptures are clear, we are to show all men the same level of love and mercy.
          Let’s clarify the whole Mosaic Law deal with regards to our having to obey it. We are not bound to it and that it true, but when we receive Christ, having our sins expunged, we are to begin to live differently. As we draw close to God, we learn what it means to truly serve Him. In our efforts to serve Him we invariably end up living out the Mosaic Law even though it is not required of us. We are not bound to it as if it were some sort of ball and chain holding us back or weighing us down. We are able to freely live as Christ would have us live, according to the precepts which line up to the will of God. These precepts are based on love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. We don’t have to make a yearly sacrifice to God any longer, but rather, are to be show the world what it means to live in obedience to God’s word. There must be a standard of living for us to follow. The only one, in my mind, that is constant and worthy of adhering to is the Word of God, which maps out our course. To know it is to read it and reading it should compel us to live it. We are not to be door mats for the world to have their way with us, but rather examples of the love God has for those who are lost and floundering in this life.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

NOTE: Leviticus is part of the material Yahweh revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai.
NOTE: A “neighbor” was anyone with whom there was contact, whether Israelite (v. 17) or alien (v. 34; Matthew 22:39-40; Romans 13:9). [ Both notes taken from the Asbury Bible Commentary ]

Saturday, April 13, 2013

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 73

          I’m a big ice hockey fan.  My team: the New Jersey Devils.  They are mired in an 0-5-4 slump that could knock them out of the playoff picture.  We were at the game last night and once again their offense was woeful. They out shot their opponent 39-11 yet were shutout 2-0.  Ugh!  Why do I bring up all this?  I am frustrated by all this and I have no vested interest other than the cost of the tickets.  I can’t even begin to imagine what the players’ level of frustration is. Frustration is a part of life.   
          We are not exempt from frustration as Christians.  We deal with it just like anyone else.  As we read God’s word and get to know Him intimately as I have been saying, we will slowly begin to understand what it is to have peace in frustrating situations.  It isn’t magic or some sort of voodoo; it is nothing more than shifting our focus onto God and off of the thing or things that are causing our angst.  Hockey isn’t life or death and in the eternal scheme of things is pretty unimportant.  Yet a case could be made that it is a microcosm of life itself where there are highs and lows, exhilaration and desperation.  Place your focus on the solver of all problems and release your frustration. rlk
 

Friday, April 12, 2013

A PROPER DENIAL

“And he said to them all, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.’” (Luke 9:23-24)
 
          These are heavy words. What must we do in denying ourselves? Surely we aren’t to deny ourselves life’s essentials: food, water and clothing. What are we to deny ourselves then? We are to renounce selfish ambition. We must remove ourselves from the center of our lives and enthrone Christ there. We must, figuratively speaking, carry the cross each day of our lives. We are ambassadors of the cross; Christ’s representatives. If we shun this responsibility and go our own way, thinking it too hard a path, we will lose our life in the process. If we seek to serve God in all we do, slipping and falling at semi-regular intervals, we shall save our lives in the end. It is not perfection God seeks, but rather our trying to emulate Him in all we think, say and do that pleases Him. Eventually, as we follow Him, we will get it. Through diligent effort we will begin to think, speak and act a little more like our Lord each day. It is a long, slow, arduous task that we undertake. A reward is waiting for those who finish this race. Perseverance is supremely important. Sprinters will not be successful in this endeavor. It is the one who paces himself that will win in the end. Seeking to serve our Lord requires us to place all personal agendas, hopes and plans at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to morph them into something far more desirable and satisfying. Our walk is an individual walk. We don’t go as a group. We must take this journey on our own, all the while knowing we are never actually alone at all. God is with us and in us by His Holy Spirit. Even when it seems like we are by ourselves in the fray, God reminds us in unique and undeniable ways that He is with us. The only way to fully realize all God has in store for us is to make a full commitment to Him. All selfish ambition must be allowed to die as we push forward in obedience to God’s call. It is truly the only way we will ever save our lives, by a complete and total surrender of self to the will of God.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

HEALING

“ … He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
 
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
 
“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 5:21)
 
          While I believe that God heals us today just as He did back when Christ walked the earth, I believe there may be something a little deeper in the meaning of the above scriptures than a  physical healing. We hear the verse from Isaiah spoken whenever someone wants to elicit faith that God heals in the here and now; however, could it not be speaking of our sin as the disease that has afflicted us rather than a mere illness. I use the word ‘mere’ because physical maladies, no matter how serious could never usher us into hell were we to die from them. Sin, however, can.
          There is no doubting the fact that Christ bore incredible pain and suffering for each of us even though He was deserving of none of it. The scourging alone, which tore chunks of flesh from His body, would have killed most men. He was pierced and crushed for our sins. He who had never known sin became sin that we might be viewed upon as sinless by God. Let that sink in. Any misdeed throughout your lifetime up to the point of your conversion was heaped upon Christ. Now multiply that by millions upon millions of souls whose sins needed to be purged and we have a heavy laden situation that only one man could eradicate properly and completely; that being the God-man Jesus Christ. Without Christ there is no forgiveness. Without Christ there is no healing from the deadly disease of sin. Is our God not worthy of our praise and adoration? Should we not be willing to dedicate our lives to the service of Almighty God? We need not serve God out of some sense of duty or religious requirement; we should want to serve Him out of a love that was born when we first came to know Him. It is only through our drawing close to Him that we shall truly know Him for intimacy only comes through time spent with someone. God desires our fellowship and loving obedience. It is not to restrict us, but rather to set us free.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

FORGIVEN

“… God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
 
          Have you ever done something for someone you didn’t know? Okay, now would you lay your life on the line for that person; would you literally die for that person? Since we tend to love our lives and not want to lose them or have them taken away from us, I would seriously doubt that anyone would lay down his life for a stranger. Do you understand that that is exactly what God did for us? We weren’t strangers to Him; He created us. God was a stranger to us.
          God knows us better than we could ever know ourselves and loves us more than we will ever comprehend. Knowing that love is not passive, but rather requires action, God gave us a living, breathing example of His undying and unconditional love by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, to live among us. Once Mary was with child God’s plan of salvation was put into action. When we knew Him not He came, ministered to us, healed us, showed us mercy and compassion, loved us and then took the fall for us. We were the sinners, not Him. We were the ones who were disobedient to the precepts of God. It’s as if we were the ones nailing the spikes in His wrists. We were the ones who deserved to be on that cross, not Jesus.
          So here we are, proclaiming that we are a Christian. What does that truly mean to us? Do we understand the price that was paid for our souls? Do we? Is our finite mind even capable of grasping the magnitude of what has been done for us? I know I try to comprehend it, but the immensity of it escapes me. I was a sinner, now I stand with my sins completely paid for by someone I didn’t even know at the time. As I ponder that thought I realize that my life would be radically different had I remained in my sins. It was a conscious, freewill choice I made a little over 34 years ago.
          1 John 4:10 reiterates the glorious truth of the ‘buy back’: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” We will sin again. No man, save Jesus Himself, shall ever be sinless, but 1 John 2:1 reveals to us that we have an advocate in Christ whose atoning sacrifice covers all sin. All we need to do is confess it to God with remorse in our heart, seeking the forgiveness He so willingly gives to all who request it. Be of good cheer. If we have surrender our souls to God's care, we are forgiven.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ANGELS

“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrew 1:14)
“A ‘ministering’ spirit is one that is employed to execute the will of God.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)
 
          The writer of Hebrews is making two important points for us in this statement. 1) that angels are lower than Christ, in that they have no redeeming power, nor do they sit at the right hand of the Father; 2) they are commissioned by God Himself to assist believers on their path to glory.
          One example we find in scripture is in Daniel 9:22-23 when Gabriel is dispatched to deliver a message to the prophet. We also know an angel came to tell Mary she was to bear the son of the Most High God. An angel came to Joseph and told him the same so that he would marry Mary. An angel came to Lot prior to destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, and this is just the tip of the ice berg regarding the appearance of ministering spirits in scripture.
          Luke 15:10 shows us that angels have an interest in man and are joyful when one sinner repents. Angels take special interest in all the facets relating to the redemption of man as evidenced by the aforementioned visit to Mary and Joseph. The angels also announced the birth of the Messiah to shepherds in the fields. Angels came to minister to Jesus after He had been tempted by Satan. An angel gave Jesus strength in the garden of Gethsemane. Angels were there at the grave where Jesus was buried. Angels were there to announce Christ’s resurrection. They were also present at Christ’s ascension, assuring the disciples of His return.
          Angels appear to defend and protect God’s people as well (Psalm 34:7; Genesis 19:1, 15; Acts 5:19; Acts 12:7-8). Angels are sent to give us the strength we need to turn our backs on temptation (Luke 22:43, 53). Fallen angels, the minions of Satan, are thwarted by the pure angels of God on our behalf. Angels aid and comfort us in our affliction and usher us into God’s presence when we pass from this life into the next.
          God’s ministering spirits are active and ever present in the world to aid those who have committed their lives to Christ. There is no such assistance available for the unsaved unless we approach the throne of grace on their behalf; however, angels are servants of Almighty God to do His bidding on the behalf of His children. If you have sought and received forgiveness for your sins, you are a part of God’s family and have nothing to fear, for angels are near to protect and assist you at all times.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, April 8, 2013

RECONCILIATION


“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10)
 
Reconcile - cause to coexist in harmony; to settle (as in a disagreement); restore friendly relations between two or more parties.
 
          The sin of Adam transferred itself to all men resulting in a gulf between God and man. Habakkuk 1:13 tells us that the eyes of God are too pure to look on evil, for He cannot tolerate wrongdoing; therefore, man was separated from God and would remain so until His plan of salvation would come to fruition. The death of Jesus Christ repaired that broken relationship. His blood, when applied to sin, not only provided payment for that sin, but also brought restoration. That lone act bridged the gaping chasm that existed between Creator and man.
          If you are a Christian, it may be difficult for you to accept that you were at one time an enemy of God. We are not Christians simply because we live in America and we are not Christians simply because we attend weekly church services. We aren’t necessarily a Christian if we are a member of a church or even a deacon or elder. Being a Christian entails giving something up. It involves letting go. Just believing in God is a start; however, as James 2:19 states “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.” Believing in God should elicit change in us. We should be compelled to emulate Christ. We should want to read His word. We should want to live for Him. Just acknowledging God’s existence doesn’t relinquish control of our lives and that is what is required. We must give ourselves away. We must surrender.
          There is a cost associated with living for God. We must be willing to turn from our old life. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17; NLT) Not allowing that change is like looking at your disheveled appearance in the mirror and walking away without making any changes. Actually, God does the changing; His Holy Spirit will lead and guide you through this maze called life. He will make alterations to your thought processes and character if you allow Him to. To not allow it is like dying of thirst and yet leaving a cool, refreshing glass of water on the table and walking away. Accept all God has for you. Draw close to Him and learn from Him. He has plans for you that you cannot realize in your life without submission to His will. There is really nothing to think over; the decision is really quite simple. Submit to God’s spiritual surgery and live.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

RANDOM RAMBLINGS 72

          Have you ever considered what your life would be like if you had never accepted Christ?  The busyness of our lives doesn't always lend itself to introspection, but we should probably make some time to ponder this all important question.  Why is it important, you may ask?  I think remembering where we've come from and where we are now is very important to the maturation process of a Christian.  I think it is also important for us to think of how our lives may have developed had we not surrendered to God and allowed His Holy Spirit to mold us into all He knows we could be. We might find that the potential alternative to the path we've taken will appear rather dark and ugly by comparison. There are rewards in heaven for those who remain faithful and live according to God's precepts. Scripture tells us that we could never even begin to imagine what God has in store for us on the other side. 

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT) - "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him."

rlk

Friday, April 5, 2013

OUR COMPULSION


“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)


            Compulsion is an interesting word.  Once we receive Christ, we are a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), old things have passed away … all things have become new.  During this transformation a compulsion should have been born.  This compulsion should have been a strong desire or “want to” that drove us to read the Bible.  It was a Spiritual hunger.  It should never leave you as long as you walk with the Lord.  It tends to leave you when you allow your spirit man to, in a manner of speaking, dehydrate.  I lived in Texas for nine years and you can’t do a whole lot outside during the heat of the summer without hydrating yourself constantly.  Christians must hydrate their spirit man with the “living water” that is the word of God.  It is the love we now realize God has for us that is to do the compelling.  He died for us all so that we might live.  We are no longer to serve ourselves, but submit to the leadership of Christ in our lives.  Christ not only died for us all but was raised to new life, which is emblematic of the new life we achieve once we receive Christ. 
            If you want to put salvation in earthly terms you might think of it like this.  Let’s say that for one reason or another you found yourself in serious debt.  Let’s say, for the sake of this example, $32,000 in debt.  You lost your job and as a result had to sell your house and move into a cheap apartment.  You had a debt that you were unable to pay.  At the moment you had no way of even making a single payment.  Now think of how you would feel if a total stranger came along and paid that debt in its entirety.  You would want to do something to show your appreciation to that man, wouldn’t you? That is exactly what has happened if you received Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.  He paid the debt sin had caused us.  We are totally incapable of repaying it.  Christ bridged the gap between God and man.  As a result of this loving act of redemption; a ‘buyback’ of the grandest magnitude, we are to have a driving compulsion to know Him intimately, read His word and live for Him, thus being His ambassador to a dying and sin sick world.

WALK WITH THE KING AND BE A BLESSING!  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

OUR WONDROUS GOD

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace."  (Ephesians 1:7)

          One drop of Christ's blood can wash us whiter than snow.  All the detergents in the world cannot do what Christ can do; not one of them.  You could spray yourself with Oxy-Clean or Shout from now until the end of time and you would never be able to blot out the stain that has been caused by your sin.  Yet God requires a payment.  It's the system He set up.  A blood sacrifice for sins committed.  But how could it be done so that it wasn't required annually?  God had this all planned out from the beginning so at a time when all appeared lost and Israel was desperately seeking their deliverer, Christ came.  But as a baby? What about the warrior king they were expecting?  God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that the Jewish people would reject His Son and that rejection would open the door to all men.  It was God's grace; His unmerited favor, that allowed for this.  God forgives the most heinous of sins if forgiveness is sought with a sincere heart filled with regret.  There is no fooling God for if He knows anything at all, He knows the hearts motivation of each and every man.  God loves us so much that He gave us all a second chance; and if necessary, a third chance and a fourth chance ... .  We simply don't get it sometimes.  I know I don't.  What is this grace that sees down into my core and knows me better than I could ever know myself?  Who is this God who gives us chance after chance to get it right?  I know who He is, but I still marvel at His undying and unconditional love for us.  I know who He is but I will never understand the patience He has with any of us, let alone me.  Embrace Christ for who He is, not what He has done, because He is worthy of praise regardless of whether He had saved us or not.  And then glorify Him for His wondrous work on the cross, for without that we would have no hope of anything but a fiery pit.  Seek and serve this wonderful God who loves us.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

THE AUTHOR OF OUR FAITH


“... fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

          The writer of Hebrews gives us a main key to success in a believers life: “fixing our eyes on Jesus”. Jesus Christ is the reason we have our sins forgiven. He is the One who considered it all joy to endure a horrific death on a criminals cross. Who else should we turn to? Who else can buy us back from the edge of the ledge? No one. No other 'religion' offers a complete and total answer for the removal of our sin. No one else throughout the course of history has ever stated that He was the Son of God and was equal with God. No one. Anyone else who would say such a thing would be lying.
          When it says that Christ scorned the shame, it means in essence that the shame He had to endure was nothing to Him. He gladly bore our sin and shame for He knew we never could. Once He uttered the words “It is finished!”, God's plan was firmly in place. No one can change what God puts in motion. No one can stop it and no one can change a thing about it. God's will for us all is to fix our eyes on the crucified Christ and in doing so allow that sight to make a permanent change in us from the inside out. Once we receive Christ our lives should never be the same. Surrendering to the author and perfecter of our faith is what we must do; we should be compelled to do it. There are two choices that have eternal ramifications: 1) Believe in God and receive His plan of redemption and as a result be forever changed, or 2) Don't believe in God, reject His plan and forever stay the same. One path leads to life, one to death. Where does your focus lie?

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SEEKING GOD



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

          It is to be the desire of the followers of Christ to hunger after His word. In these verses the writer urges God to keep his heart set firmly toward the statutes of God and not selfish gain. In a world where self-absorption is rampant, we would do well to heed these words. Temptations abound all around us and the believer whose attention is not fixed fully on God and His word will struggle. The devil has his ways of persuading us to take a break from Godly pursuits and dabble in something trivial by comparison. Always remember and never forget Paul's statement in his first letter to the Corinthians (10:23); “'I can do anything' - but not everything is good for you.” He goes on to say that not everything is constructive for us as believers. We must take the time to get into His word so that we will not stray off into the direction of worthless things. Our lives are of infinite value to the One who created us. He has given us a second chance through the blood of Christ, which bought us back from the brink of death. It is the greatest buyback in the history of mankind. 
          So how are we then to live this life out? Do we accept the payment of our sin debt and simply move on or do we submit to one true God Who purchased our freedom? And if we are to submit, how would we do this? Acknowledge His Lordship over you. Praise His name. Give Him thanks continuously for what He has done for you. Seek His face daily and allow His Holy Spirit to minister to your soul. For those who think this is being too religious, I say, religion has nothing to do with it. It should be a relationship that we seek. It is a love relationship of the highest order; one that should not be one sided. God loves us all with such an incredible, unchanging, never-ending, unconditional love that no equal can be found this side of heaven. If you truly want to remain focused on the Lord, then do so with dogged determination. Your reward shall be peace, contentment and fulfillment. This can be found in no one else. 

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!

Monday, April 1, 2013

LETTING GO OF THE ROPE


“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1)
 
           David wrote this Psalm as an indictment to those who do not believe in the existence of God. It is not a Psalm of Praise, but rather a Psalm revealing the true nature of the unregenerate soul. The word ‘fool’ in this context denotes a man who is morally deficient. He goes on to say that the immoral soul is corrupt, capable of no good thing.
          There has and always will be men who will deny the existence of God. They are control mongers who wish to be at the helm of their own ship, relinquishing that control to no one, whether seen or unseen. Those that make these denials shout out their need of proof. They require hard cold facts that would prove the existence of this unseen God that millions have sworn their allegiance to. Visible, tangible proof is not available, nor shall it ever be, for faith does not require natural sight, but rather supernatural sight. It requires sight in the spirit. Faith is seeing things that are not as if they are. Faith is placing your trust in someone or something that cannot be experienced with your natural senses.
          To fully experience God, one must let go of the rope we have been clinging to and trust that we will not fall. Sometimes it isn’t until we get to the end of that rope that we release our hold, thinking we have no other choice. God shall not fail us. Throughout history, as depicted in scripture, God has been faithful to those who have called upon His name. To those who dedicate their lives to Him, God becomes an unfailing source of all things. God knows us intimately and wishes us to know Him in like manner. It is only those who dedicate themselves to surrendering their will to God a little more each day that shall come to truly know Him. His character is revealed in His word. The recounting of real events in history reveals God’s nature. He is true to His own. He shuns those who shun Him, all the while leaving a door open for their redemption. Our Almighty Jehovah God is the supreme force in a universe of His making. To contradict the statement ‘there is no God’, it can be readily stated that “there is no one like God” for He knows all, sees all and is capable of all things. Those who devote their lives to Him and Him alone are of all men wise.

WALK WITH THE KING TODAY AND BE A BLESSING!