BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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MINISTRY BLOG LINK: http://pandevidamin.blogspot.com

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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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Monday, February 29, 2016

GOD’S FAVOR

“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.”  2 Timothy 1:9 NLT
          The grace of God is His favor.  In spite of all we have done in our lives that has flown in the face of Old Testament Law, our Maker loved us and still loves us even now.  Christ dying on the cross satisfied the OT sacrificial system of repentence once for all time.  It was God’s way of giving all creation an opportunity at a second chance.  We all have been given the right to disregard and even reject God’s plan.  That’s the beauty of salvation.  God’s forgiveness is received because we ask for it, not because it is forced upon us.  If you don’t want to receive forgiveness for whatever reason you don’t have to.  Therefore those who decide to serve the administer of forgiveness do so because they desire to of their own free will.
         Do you realize what the Creator of the Universe did for you?  He did something you could never have done for yourself.  He forgave you of your sins.  He did so willingly knowing you were in desparate need of it.  He planned it from the beginning of time knowing full well that man would stumble and fall.  We can choose the life we will live, but life starts and ends with God.  If we enter into a personal relationship with the Lord we will live as a child of His and spend eternity with Him.  Your life will be blessed in direct correlation with the amount of time you spend cultivating that relationship. If we choose not to we will end up on the outside looking in, as the saying goes, and miss out on all the blessings God has in store for those who love Him.
       We are called to live a holy life.  This means we are to live by a high moral standard.  What is the standard we’re to live by?  You’ll find it in scripture where the Lord has a plan all written out for us.  It’s for our ultimate benefit.  We think we know what’s good for us, but in the end we really have no clue.  God’s plan is flawless, however, it requires faith and trust for us to receive the maximum benefit from it.  Don’t fight it.  Give in to the purest, most perfect love this world will ever know.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Friday, February 26, 2016

GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.” 1 John 4:9 NLT
          I told a man one time that Jesus died for him. His response was, “I never asked Him to do that.”  I could tell by his reaction that the underlying meaning in his words was “don’t lay that guilt trip on me, I never asked Him to die for me.” Perhaps he didn’t think of himself as a sinner, most unbelievers don’t.  They readily admit they aren’t perfect, but they also aren’t nearly as bad as this person or that person.  Invariably the name of Hitler and Ted Bundy get brought up as the example of true sinners worthy of hell fire.  So if man isn’t a sinner then why on earth did Jesus come in the first place?
          The fact is that we are all sinners. Sin, in its simplest terms is disregard for a moral/ethical standard, primarily the one set forth by Almighty God.  Just because a person doesn’t believe that to be true doesn’t negate its’ authenticity.  There has to be some standard to follow.  It should be obvious that man can’t establish it.  He carries far too much baggage to put forth rules that are fair and just for everyone.  The One who created all of mankind is the One who would be best suited to decide what was fair and equitable for His creation.
          So why did God come in the form of the man Jesus to walk the earth among His creation and then allow Himself to be tortured and hung on a criminal’s cross to die.  There had to have been some compelling reason for the Creator of the universe to do that.  It involved a lie and disobedience to a command.1  That’s all it took to set the downward spiral of sin in motion.  God knew man would sin against Him, yet He loved him anyway.  Regardless of what man did against the will of the Lord, He loved him anyway.  And He always will love us, but that we shouldn’t see that as license to live as we please.  Christ came to cleanse us from the stench and stain of our sins.  That’s why He came.  He had to come, for if He did not we would forever be lost with no hope of forgiveness.  Have you thanked God for His mercy and grace today?  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

1 Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-4

THE NEXT NEW DEVO WILL BE SENT OUT MONDAY, FEB 29th, 2016.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

GOD’S PLANS FOR YOU

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT
          There are days as a believer that we wonder what on earth is going on.  What is God doing?  Why is this happening or that not happening?  Trusting the Lord can be difficult when faced with reality.  The answer to all this is to make God our reality.  Here in Jeremiah God makes us a promise.  All of God’s promises are guaranteed to be fulfilled in His time.  It may not happen when you expect or would like it to, but He knows exactly when the best time is to bring His promise to fruition in your life. 
          The Lord only has good in store for you.  Any setbacks that come your way were either caused or allowed by your all-knowing Heavenly Father.  He knows just how to build our faith and it isn’t by letting us have a perfect, pristine life without any strife.  Placing our complete and total faith in God will lead us to trust Him no matter what.  The storms of life will tear at the very fabric of our lives, but nothing ever escapes the ever-watching eye of the Lord.  His hand is quick to save; therefore, there is absolutely nothing to fear.
          It should comfort us to know that if we take the time to speak to Him and take the time to listen as well, He will listen to us and guide us into all truth.  If we look for Him as a means of leadership and encouragement for our life we will find Him.  A cursory glance isn’t enough.  We must seek His face.  A good place to start is His word.  If we seek Him we will find Him; just another promise from our faithful God.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

PLAN TO DO GOOD

“If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness.” Proverbs 14:22 NLT
          I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is referring to planning to do evil habitually and not one single time.  One misdeed done as an error in judgment or out of haste, while still wrong, doesn’t necessarily lead to successive acts of evil. It can, but that doesn’t mean it has to.  If you follow the path of evil and never turn from it you will end up being lost for all eternity.  If you do that which is good in the sight of God, you will receive blessing upon blessing as a result.   Notice I said “good in the sight of God”.  What we think is good and what God thinks is good tend to be two very different things. “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”  Proverbs 3:7 (NLT)
          It can be difficult to avoid evil when you came from an evil past.  Former associations make living a godly life hard, but the Lord is always there, even within you, to ward off the temptation to fall back into old habits.  Even if you’ve not been involved in evil doings thus far, there is always a first time, so stay close to God in your daily walk.  Just as Adam and Eve saw no harm in partaking of the forbidden fruit based on the serpents convincing lies, so we can fall just as far, just as fast and just as completely.
         Planning to do evil makes it a premeditated act.  That means you have pondered the thought and rationalized the rightness of it.  Regardless of the convincing argument you’ve had with yourself, sin is still sin in the sight of God and nothing on this earth will ever make a sinful act not a sin.  God doesn’t wink at sin, nor does He excuse it.  He forgives it if forgiveness is sought from a sincere and sorrowful heart.  God knows the difference between lip service and sincerity.  Don’t be fooled.  Plan to do good, godly acts as you live for the Lord and give Him all the glory for the results.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

FIXATE ON THE LORD

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”  1 John 5:21
          What is an idol?  It is something or someone a person often blindly or excessively admires.  In it’s simplest terms, an idol is something or someone who steals your focus off of God.  The idol doesn’t do the stealing; it is us.  We are the ones who gravitate toward things or people who entertain us or enthrall us to the point where they become a fixation. 
          The above verse is the last verse in John’s first letter to an unnamed group or church.  It is his last warning to them from this correspondence.  This group was experiencing division within the brethren with some claiming spiritual superiority and as a result leaving.  John’s purpose was to assure those remaining that the doctrine they were taught was scripturally sound.  The devil looks for sheep who are weak or separated from the main flock.  Therefore a divided church can be easy pickin’s for him.  John is stressing that anything that causes us to take our focus off of God will weaken us spiritually and cause us to stumble into sin.  Diversions are all around us.  They can pop up at a moments notice in the attempt to lure us from the safety of our faith-based life.  We must be aware of the enemy’s tricks and stay within the hedge of protection the Lord has for us.  If we wander off the beaten path we may end up in a place we never intended to go.
          A heart totally sold out for God will still stumble from time to time, but need not fall as a result.  We can catch ourselves and continue on because in the name of Jesus Christ we can conquer anything that comes at us.  We need not look to replace the Lord with anything else for this world only offers temporal things that could never take God’s place.  Everything God knows we need is available to us if we will only maintain our focus on Him.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Monday, February 22, 2016

CLOTHED IN CHRIST

“Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. … clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”  Romans 13:13a,14 NLT
          It is totally unacceptable to live your life with one foot in the kingdom and one foot in the world.  If you dwell on evil things you will over time succumb to their lure.  In stead, clothe yourself with the very nature and presence of Christ.  You put on clothes to go out in public every day, put on Christ as well.  Start your day speaking with Him.  Notice I said ‘with’ Him, rather than ‘to’ Him.  Speaking to the Lord is nothing more than rattling off a laundry list of problems or complains which is not exactly what prayer is meant for.  While it’s true that you can speak to the Lord about absolutely anything that is on your heart, having a dialogue with Him is far more beneficial.  God loves us and wants to commune with us so have the Bible open when you pray or speak with God.  Ask the Spirit to guide your thoughts and you will tap into the mind of God thru His word.  It requires time and spiritual maturity and it doesn’t make you any sort of spiritual giant if you do these things.  It is expected of us all. 
          Do not entertain that which you know to be ungodly.  Turn and walk away so as not to be drawn in to something you never intended to partake of in the first place. The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, …”.1  It is the foolish man who feels that ungodly things can be harmless as long as he believes in God.  Don’t be caught in such a trap.
          The Lord will never lead you astray, nor will He ever forsake you.  If we strive to live decent, godly lives in the name of Jesus those around us will see the Lord portrayed before them.  Our hope and prayer for humanity is that they will respond by receiving Christ,  the one and only hope for the eradication of all our sins.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

1  Proverbs 14:16a; also “Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7 and “Turn away from evil and do good.” 1 Peter 3:11a

Saturday, February 20, 2016

LOVE CONQUERS ALL

“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9 NLT
           Christians are to be a forgiving people just as we were forgiven, yet at times it is very difficult for us to forgive certain individuals or events that have taken place.  There is normally pain involved with a transgression done to us and it gives birth to a myriad of emotions that can make forgiveness seem out of reach.  Solomon, referred to in Proverbs as ‘the Teacher’, gives us this wise nugget of truth.  Love is the winner when a person’s fault or error in judgment is forgiven.  It is when we won’t let it go that a breach in friendship takes place. It’s unfortunate when a friendship can be severed due to a misunderstanding, but it always isn’t a misunderstanding.  It can be pretty big indiscretion that leaves feelings crushed and trust obliterated.  God forgave any and every act of disobedience we had ever committed, so forgive even when it hurts to do so.  God watched His own Son die on a cross reserved for criminals; bloodied, beaten and barely recognizable.  Forgive.  The best of friends can forgive and move on.  Those that refuse to perhaps were not as good a friend as you had once thought.
          1 Corinthians 13:5 says in part that love “keeps no record of being wronged”.  I understand very clearly how difficult this can be.  We utter the words “I forgive you” yet carry with us the memory of the event.  Sometimes that which has been done or said to us, while forgiven, haunts our memory for years.  Some events replay in our minds our entire life.  We ask the Lord to take it from us but it just doesn’t seem to ever dissipate.  It’s memory fades with time, this I know from personal experience, but a scar is left in place of the memory. 
          I’m not aware of any scripture that tells us to forgive and forget.  There are many benefits to having a memory, one being that it can help us keep from having the same event happen to us a second time.  We forgive but are wary of certain individuals and/or situations going forward.  It’s called self-preservation; the whole “wise as serpents, gentle as doves”1 thing.  In the end, love conquers all, so lovingly forgive those hurtful things that come your way from either friend or foe and allow the Holy Spirit to mend your heart as you continue to strive to be more like Christ in your daily life.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
1  "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”  Matthew 10:16

Friday, February 19, 2016

FORGIVENESS SPAWNS CHANGE

“… if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 NLT
       Sin is disobedience to a moral or ethical code or in religion circles, disobedience to God’s Law.  However, sin is not a stain worn by the unregenerate soul alone, even those that are saved sin from time to time.  We know that forgiveness is available.  We also know something the unsaved do not know; you have to ask for it.  It’s not some glib request so we can feel good and then go about sinning again.  Forgiveness is supposed to give birth to change within our hearts. 
     For the believer, sin can be the result of a moment or moments of spiritual weakness, but ceasing control of the situation with the help of the Holy Spirit within us can keep sin from becoming habitual.  We must confess our wrongdoing to God and ask Him to forgive us.  As scripture states, He is faithful and just to forgive us.  He knows our heart’s motivation.  He knows if we are going to change our ways or just say ‘thanks’, give Him a wink and continue on.
      When we are first born again scripture promised us that all our sins had been washed away, as evidenced by the above verse.  We get a second chance to do things right in the eyes of God.  Doing good deeds is great, but that alone will never in a million years get you into heaven.  Doing good deeds with a selfless heart simply for the sake of doing them for no personal gain is the correct path to take.  No one need know what you do in the name of Christ but you and God.  If the Lord wants to use you on a grander scale then He is more than capable of open the doors needed to make that happen.  Our focus needs to be to live as close to a sinless life as possible by imitating Christ as best we can by the power of His Holy Spirit.  We are cleansed in the sight of God because we are forgiven.  Live as freed men; freed from the shackles of sin.  Our life is not our own.  Live for God in Jesus name.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

NEVER ENDING LOVE

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NLT
            We are assured of salvation once we are redeemed.  The result of salvation is to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.  John Calvin1 believed and preached that God hand picks those who would be in heaven with Him and those who would go to hell before time began. There is another school of thought which says that we are not predestined, but rather the plan of God to save mankind is what is predestined from the beginning of time.  In the end God will sort it all out, but for now we can ‘hang our hat on’2, as it were, the fact that there is nothing known to man that can pry us away from God’s love.  We can turn our back on Him, but He will continue to love us anyway. 
            There is a major disconnect between Christians and the world.  Being imperfect we can’t seem to project the proper image of Christ to the masses.  Those who are skeptical look for any reason to disregard the Bible and Christianity, seeing it as a crutch or set of restrictive rules they must follow.  Knowing we are loved without condition can be a starting point to mend the disconnect.  If we took seriously our becoming more like Christ in each thought, word and deed, then like Christ, we would have a charismatic pull like some sort of magnetic field, that would draw others to us.  This would not be for our own gain at all, but for the glory of God.  Any good thing others see in us should be attributed to God, for if left to our own devices we would crash and burn every time. 
            Bask in the glow of your freedom as a child of God, but do not mistake freedom for the right to do anything you please.  Stick close to the Lord and follow His prescribed plan for living and you will do great things for His kingdom.  Always remember, God loves you with a never ending, unconditional and eternal love that can never be quenched. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
1Born: Jehan Cauvin, July 10, 1509, Noyon, Picardy, France; Died: May 27, 1564, Geneva, Switzerland; Occupation: Pastor, author, theologian; Notable work(s): Institutes of the Christian Religion.
         John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism, aspects of which include the doctrine of predestination and the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation. In these areas Calvin was influenced by the Augustinian tradition. Various Congregational, Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world.
                  According to John Calvin, predestination is God’s unchangeable decree from before the creation of the world that he would freely save some people (the elect), foreordaining them to eternal life, while the others (the reprobate) would be “barred from access to” salvation and sentenced to “eternal death (180, 184).” Calvin was careful to distinguish the predestination of individuals from the corporate election of nations such as Israel (185). He argued that an explanation of predestination is only complete when it includes the election of individuals (187).“ [www.wikipedia.com]

                  In response I would only point to 2 Peter chapter 3 and more specifically verse 9.  If God wishes no one to perish, then why would He predestine some chosen by Him alone to be damned to hell for all time?

2 To depend on OR believe in something.