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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Thursday, March 31, 2016

WHAT IS THE WEIGHT OF SIN?

“He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.” Isaiah 53:3-4a
       Think for a moment of the heaviest weight you’ve ever had to lift.  Now picture a lead vest being placed upon you.  Heavy, isn’t it?  Now consider what it would be like to bear the weight of your own sin.  What if, for examples sake, each sin weighed 5 lbs.  Now think about all the sins you’ve committed in your entire life up to this point.  Maybe 100 or 500; but what if it were 1000.  What would it feel like to have to have 5000 lbs resting on us?  A Ford Taurus weighs between 4500 and 5500 lbs.  Let’s say you’re stuck under a Taurus.  Pretty scary thought, isn’t it?
       Now think about what it would be like to bear the weight of all the folk’s sins on the street where you live.  Now we might be talking about bearing the weight of 28 or so people’s sins.  That would be 140,000 lbs.  An Amtrak Superliner weighs that much.  Wow!  Now think about the fact that Jesus didn’t bear the weight of His own sin, for He was sinless.  He didn’t bear the weight of 28 or 100 or even 1000 people’s sins, but the weight of every sin committed by every person ever created.  Think of the magnitude of that.  How would it feel to take on that much of a burden?  Thankfully you’ll never know, for if you sought and received forgiveness from the Lord for all your sins you won’t have to bear any weight at all.  Jesus did that for you.
       That burden on the cross must have been smothering.  Not to mention that it brought about a separation from God that He had never known before.  That bloody, gory, voluntary death on a criminals cross was designed to buy the souls of men back from the brink of hell’s pit.  He did that for you and me so we didn’t have to.  What a wonderful Savior! What a wondrous thing has been done for us! Let this all soak in to the deepest part of your consciousness and once it has, lift up His name in praise for paying a debt you could never have paid.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

THE GREAT EXCHANGE

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT
       “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  So says John the Baptist as Jesus comes toward him (John 1:29) Jesus was the only sinless man to ever walk the earth.  Just as an animal must be free from blemish or defect in the Old Testament sacrificial system, so the Son of God must be.  It must be so because God ordained it to be that way.  Therefore it was the only plan that could possibly rid mankind of their sin; to have God’s own Son come down and live among men for a time.  He showed them the way to forgiveness, yet not all would listen.
       It’s no different today.  Just this past week I have heard two different people utter the following:  “I just want to live my life whatever way I want to.”  And “I don’t want anyone telling me how to live my life.”  I know both of these men.  One is a co-worker from Haiti and the other is my Chiropractor. They are conscious of God’s existence, yet pay Him no mind.  They are of the “live and let live” mindset.  They have no idea what they are saying for if they understood how perilously close to the edge of the bottomless abyss they truly are they might reconsider those words.
       God sent His Son to die and He died willingly and without hesitation for you and for me.  Christians are forgiven but may still not comprehend the magnitude of what has been done for them.  We had an immense debt that we were unable to pay on our own and someone we didn’t even know came and pay our debt.  What a wondrous thing salvation is.  Do you love God like you mean it?  Christ died for you.  Are you giving it your absolute best effort to live for Him?  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

SHED EVIL BEHAVIOR

“As the Scriptures say, ‘People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.  So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.”  1 Peter 1:24-2:1
       The comparison used here shows the difference between our temporal lives on this earth and the infinite existence of God and His word.  We plant grass seed in the spring, watch it grow and then watch it die in the fall and winter.  A short life span by comparison to even our own lives, but the comparison shines a pinpoint light on our lives as compared to the Word of God.  Like God Himself, His word was and is and always will be.  Therefore we are to abide by it for it is our owner’s manual for life.  Any problem you have the Word of God has an answer for. 
       Once the Word of God is in us we need to allow ourselves to be purged of all evil behavior.  We must submit to the spiritual surgery of the Holy Spirit from within. We must have the attitude that we want to become more like Christ in our daily lives.  Without such an attitude no change will occur.
       Any and all evil behavior is reprehensible to God.  This goes for ungodly speech and malicious, deceitful practices, not the least being hypocrisy.  People can see right thru such things, not to mention it giving believers a very bad name.  The name Christian should never be synonymous with anything negative or evil.  Those who call themselves Christians must represent that name with a certain level of reverence and dignity.  Allow the Spirit within you to cleanse you properly so you might be effective for the Lord.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Monday, March 28, 2016

OUR MEDIATOR

“For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.”1 Timothy 2:5-6 NLT
       There are two words I would like to focus on today.  Mediator and reconcile. Other words for mediator are intercessor, peacemaker and diplomat.  We know scripture refers to Jesus as one who intercedes for believers (Romans 8:34).  We know a diplomat aids in settling differences between two parties.  Jesus was the only go between that could ever bridge the gap between God and man caused by sin.  That is reconciliation.  When two parties reconcile they make peace with one another.  Through the blood of Christ man has been given the opportunity to make things right with his creator.  It isn’t a blanket proposal, but rather a gift offered that must be received and applied to one’s life. 
       Another thought I’d like to drive home is the fact that Christ gave His own life up. Jesus wasn’t forced to give up His life.  He didn’t have to do it.  But He did and did willingly.  By definition willingly can mean gladly, eagerly, ungrudgingly or voluntarily.  The only hesitation, if you could even call it that, was when Jesus prayed asking if there was any other way to accomplish God’s plan.  Already knowing the answer to that question, Jesus complied, saying, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”  (Luke 22:42)
       This is the message that we must give to those lost in sin.  That Christ paid the price for their sins. As believers we need to reflect regularly on the price Christ paid for us all.  The gory, bloody, painful death Christ endured for you and for me. Without Christ’s death there is no hope of forgiveness.  Embrace this truth and carry it in your heart always.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Definitions: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

LIVE IN THE LIGHT

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.”  1 John 1:5-6
       Have you noticed how many people say they know God, yet don’t live anything like Christ?  People do as they please and in some cases are super self-absorbed as if no one else in the world mattered at all but them.  It’s sad to me that the gift of a lifetime is within grasp of anyone who would take ahold of it and yet people end up falling back on only what they know within the sphere of their own puny, insignificant life.  They lie to themselves more than anyone else when they believe they have fellowship with God as if they even know what that is or what it entails. 
      Living a lie is all too common among sinners and even believers.  Some believers in the Lord hide behind a façade of spirituality that they believe cloaks their true motives, but God knows the heart of a man and knows that who is a liar and who is not.  You may fool everyone this side of heaven, but you can and will never fool God.
     God is light and light pierces the darkness, so if you are living a lie the Lord knows all about it.  Focus on that which is true and right and leave by the wayside the lie that you are doing fine with God.  Give up trying to live your life on your own terms. You will never find fulfillment, peace or contentment in the darkness. You will always be striving for something you can never reach. Submit to the ways of the Lord.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Friday, March 25, 2016

CONFESSING OUR SINS

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
       Here we have a conditional statement, otherwise known as an ‘if-then’ clause.  If we do something then this will be the result.  It should be very plain what we have to do.  I have often said that forgiveness is not a blanket that falls over all mankind just for acknowledging the existence of God.  It has not ever been that way; neither will it ever be that way.  We must do something to receive the free gift of forgiveness.  We must ask for it by simply confessing to the Lord that we are a sinner.  This might be difficult for some folks to come to that conclusion regarding themselves, but the Bible says that if we say we have not sinned then we are fooling ourselves and the truth isn’t in us (1 John 1:8). 
       Even believers under God’s umbrella of grace need to come to grips at times with the fact that their sinful nature has reared its ugly head and caused them to think, say or do something that is out of character for their new man.  Confession to God from a guilty, shame filled (contrite or penitent) heart will be forgiven.
     Upon our confession we will receive two important things from the Lord, forgiveness, as we have said and a complete cleansing of all wickedness.  Those that have yet to receive redemption do not know any better for the light of truth has not yet shown into their hearts and souls.  We, as believers, do know better, however, the power of sin thru temptation is strong.  We must fight to preserve our salvation for there is nothing Satan would rather do than lure us into a compromising situation, thus neutering our effectiveness for the Lord.  Examine your heart and be willing to confess any and all sins committed.  Only then will you experience the love of God thru His faithful and just forgiveness.  Until next time, walk with the Lord and be a blessing!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

THE CROWN OF LIFE

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
       Here we find some key words that I’d like to focus on.  They are patiently endure and crown of life.  We’re dealing with God’s promises and whenever we find a promise we find that He will bless those who do as the Word instructs.  To patiently endure is not very easy at times.  In the original Greek language the words testing and temptation have the same meaning as trials.  So the first portion of this verse actually means that if you go thru your life effectively dealing with and overcoming the trials that will most assuredly buffet you, you will find yourself blessed of God. Some trials will be long, severe and demanding; that’s why we are told to patiently endure.  Anyone can give up, but it is the earnest believer in Christ that straps himself to the mast during the fiercest storms of life who will when tested come out the other end a better person then when they entered into the trial. 
       There are two thoughts on the term crown of life.  Eschatology is the study of final things; such as,  death, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, or the Last Judgment.1 So eschatologically speaking, the crown of life would pertain to our life after death.  The Greeks also saw it as this life only as God originally intended it in the Garden of Eden.  Whichever it truly happens to be, we will be rewarded for our diligence in serving the Lord thru the darkest trials of life.
       Do you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and spirit?  Live for Him no matter what clouds darken your days.  He has brought the darkness so that the light within you would dispel it and allow you to grow spiritually in the face of it.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

SHUN THE DARKNESS

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” Ephesians 5:8-9
       It’s important to remember from whence we came. As Paul points out to the believers in Ephesus, we all were full of the darkness caused by sin.  After salvation has occurred we have the light of the Lord within us.  We are children of the light; therefore we are to live as such.  The Holy Spirit shows our heart what is right and good and true.  We must act upon these things.  Our old life has passed away. 
       Sadly, too many of us resurrect our old nature at inopportune times and go with the flow of a thing only to find out after it’s too late that we should have listened to the cautionary wisdom imparted by God’s Spirit within us.  We had become so fixated on the darkness that we forgot about the light.  Though temporary it can takes mere seconds to wreck all we’ve accomplished for the Lord.
       But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)  How can we dabble on the edge of darkness when Christ died so that we might live in the light?  No matter what our reasons may be, God desires for us to steer clear of the evil of this world.  He isn’t a dictator, forcing us to follow Him and abide by His every command.  We have the free will to choose whom we shall serve.  If we serve the Lord, we do it willingly, thru the compulsion brought on by the Holy Spirit at work within us.  Forget the darkness of this world.  It offers nothing but pain and sorrow when the music stops and the lights fade to black.  Willingly seek and serve Almighty God, for He alone knows you well enough to know exactly what you need to maximize your effectiveness in this life.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

GOD’S ARMOR

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:10-11
       The Lord is Almighty and we are not, so when we are told by the Apostle Paul to be strong in the Lord he isn’t saying that we are to be strong in our own strength.  We are in need of some armor.  Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church lays out the specific pieces of armor believers need against the wiles of Satan.  They can be found in Chapter 6:10-17.  I encourage you to look that up and read it on your own.
       You will notice that God’s armor protects every part of our bodies from our minds down to the soles of our feet.  With the entire armor of God we can stand against the devil and all his minions.  Even though the enemy can attack, God is in control of even that aspect of our lives.  I happen to take the first two chapters of Job in the Old Testament literally.  I believe Satan must get permission from God to come against one of His children. If Satan could do whatever he had a mind to do then God could not be God for there would be something out of His control and I simply do not believe that to be true.  Also, scripture in its entirety gives us no indication or even a hint that this might be the case.
     Take scripture seriously and do as it says, for it is the manual that God has supplied to guide and direct us into godly living.  It starts with you.  You must pick up the Bible and read it faithfully each day.  Even one verse or paragraph is a start and better than not doing it at all.  Now go put on your armor and stand like a flint against all enemies that come against you.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Monday, March 21, 2016

TRUSTING GOD

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
       Trust is something that must be earned.  If you never knew God why would you trust Him?  Would it be because of what you’ve been told about Him or would it be from your experiences with Him? Believing in God is something that must be tried and then trusted.  People will try just about anything at least once.  If something costs money, then it must be good.  If it costs lots of money, then it really must be good.  God paid the price, so believing is free of charge and so is trusting.
       There isn’t a man alive who will not let you down at some point. Not even your closest friend or staunchest supporter.  However, with God there are no mistakes, no regrettable decisions, no abandonment, only hope giving, confidence building actions that invite us to trust Him with our lives.
       Scripture is clear, those who place their complete and total faith and trust in Almighty God will be like trees along a riverbank.  These trees have the luxury of reaching deep into the rich, fertile soil that allows them to grow strong and vibrant.  Be strong for God and never stop producing fruit for the kingdom no matter what difficulties may cross your path.  Trials provide lessons to be learned and God is at the center of each trial.  So trust Him in all situations and be blessed!  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

GOD’S PATH

“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”  Proverbs 4:25-27 NLT
       This life is filled with pitfalls and potholes.  If we keep our eyes focused on the road ahead we can avoid many of them, but some cover too big a area so we end up going thru them.  Our vision must be clear and our path needs to be from God.  The Lord’s path is very narrow and we can count on the fact that it will lead us over many mountains and thru many valleys.  It’s important to stay on the path, for many a temptation will beckon us from the shoulder of the road in the attempt to get us sidetracked. 
       Don’t be foolish as Peter was and declare that you would never turn aside from God.  All that does is place a target on your back.  Now God will test your declaration to see if you will be any different than Peter was.  Chances are good that you will not.  You will be the one standing on the edge of the courtyard denying you ever knew Christ.
     It requires single-minded diligence to stay focused on God and His path.  Regardless of what may seem harmless, evil lurks everywhere. Whatever you do in this life, test it against the word of God to see if it checks out.  Do what you know in your heart to be right.  That is how you stay on His path.  The more you place the word of God in your heart, the easier following His path will begin to become.  Don’t let Satan steal your peace or hope.  It not what the Lord intends for you, so turn away from it and continue on the path that takes you to your eternal destination.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Friday, March 18, 2016

TRUSTING GOD

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT
       Do you trust in the Lord?  When all feels lost and there seems no way out do you still place your trust squarely in the Lord?  Or do you become unsettled, even panicked as you comb your mind trying to figure out a way to solve the difficulty you find yourself in.  Frankly, that would be most folks initial reaction and that’s alright.  God understands that our first reaction is to doubt and become frustrated.  Our relationship with the Lord is a progressive thing that begins when we first receive forgiveness.  Each trial we encounter can and should draw us closer to our eternal problem solver.  No, God doesn’t wipe away all troubles, leaving us with a nirvana like existence.  Not at all.  What He does do is place encouragers in our path.  Those who have been there, done that and can advise, comfort and strengthen our faith in the midst of our difficulties.
       To believers God is our only source of true and lasting hope.  Because we do trust Him we will have a joyful and peaceful spirit about us regardless of our circumstances.  It’s an acquired characteristic.  We don’t get it by osmosis.  We develop it as we begin to accept who God really is.  The more time we spend getting to know the Lord the better we will know Him.  The better we know Him the more confident we will become in His ability to see us thru any and all situations.
       If you’re having a bad day, know that it will soon be over and tomorrow will be a new chance to get it right.  God is still on His throne and prayer can alter any situation if you allow it to.  Pray believing that God is in the center of all things and wants you to succeed in this life.  You are tied to Him as His representative on earth.  He is prepared to mold you into the best individual you can possibly be.  Let down your guard and allow the Holy Spirit to bring out the God qualities from within you.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

PUT ON CHRIST

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12 NLT
        Have you ever wondered how God expects us as believers to act in our daily lives?  Paul, in his letter to the believers in Colossae, lays it out plainly and clearly.  It isn’t given to us as a suggestion or an option.  If we are to properly represent the Lord in this lifetime we must learn to take on His characteristics.  God chose us to be a holy people.  People with a moral and ethical compass that points directly to their creator.  We are not to free lance things, but rather submit to His commands.  This is why Paul stresses to his readers that they (and we) MUST clothe ourselves with Christ’s characteristics. This may not come naturally for some of us, but if we strive for compliance with God’s wishes the Holy Spirit within us will show us the way. 
       The characteristics listed are very much indicative of how Jesus lived when He walked the earth.  Our best efforts on our own fail; we must emulate the Master.  Rather than behave in a way that we feel God wants us to behave, study His word and know.  Like anything that is worthwhile, it will take a constant effort on our part to be like Christ in our daily walk.  God will enable us if we try.
       Those who insist they believe in God yet have no evidence to back up their assertion will find out all too soon that they’ve made a critical error in judgment. They didn’t take the time to live a pleasing life before God.  They thought simply acknowledging Him was enough?  We are called to live a moral and ethical life. Anything less falls short of what God intended for us.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

GOD’S WONDROUS LOVE

“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.  He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.  And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away.”  Isaiah 53:7-8a
       This portion of scripture from the Prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament speaks of what would take place when the Messiah came to dwell among His people.  Since the Jews were expected a warrior King to arrive to smite the Romans and allow Israel to lay claim once again to its land without interference, this must have been confusing to them. These actions by Jesus ushered in the period of God’s grace that still exists today. 
       Although He was the Son of God, He was treated harshly and with contempt; they simply didn’t know who He truly was.  In the face of such treatment Jesus said nothing.  He allowed Himself to be led wherever the Pharisees felt the need to take Him.  Jesus allowed the Romans soldiers to beat Him about the head, thus knocking the 2” long Judean thorns that made of His makeshift crown into His scalp and forehead.  The Lord allowed them to then flog Him with a scourge, embedded with broken glass, pieces of jagged bone and sharp metal.  These embedded pieces grabbed His flesh and tore chunks from His body.  Christ allowed all this because that was part of the plan God had to forgive the sins of mankind.
       This is a perfect example of what I’ve been saying about Almighty God either causing or allowing all things.  He allowed His own Son to be slaughtered for you and me.  In effect, Christ was reduce to raw hamburger meat; that’s how bloodied, beaten and disfigured He was.  No artist rendering has ever fully captured the true image of Christ on the cross.  Jesus deserved none of the treatment He received, but He willingly endured it because He knew He had to. Jesus could have completely destroyed all life forms on this planet with one word, but He didn’t because He knew His death was the only sacrifice that would cleanse a man’s sin completely and eternally. Remember that each day, not just on Good Friday or Resurrection Sunday.  Christ died for you so you could live for Him!  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

OUR ‘ALWAYS’ GOD

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1
       We live in very troubled times.  If anyone could relate to our troubles today it would be King David.  He had all sorts of troubles of his own.  Some were consequences of terrible judgment on his part; others were designed by God to test his faith.  In the midst of all of that was God, ready to give David aid whenever he sought it.  In spite of the horrific goings on in the world today God is still on His throne and by His Spirit still in the midst of all the calamity.
       We can think of God as a mighty Fortress or a strong Tower, for scripture speaks of Him in that vain.1 Since God is all-powerful or omnipotent, there is nothing He cannot do.  If there were anything God was incapable of doing then He would cease to be God, for something would be outside His sphere of influence.  No other being, created or otherwise, can match the wisdom, power or ubiquitous nature of our God.  He is capable of rescuing any one of us at a split seconds notice if we ask Him to, even though the answer may not come as quickly as we might like.  Our trust in God must then kick in.  Our trust in God needs to lead us to the place where we understand that delays are not denials.  Patience is required. 
       The word ‘always’ is what is known as an absolute word.  ‘Always’ means there is never a time when this or that will not take place.  Therefore, what the above verse is saying to us is that there is never a time when God will not help us, no matter what may have befallen us.  Rest in the knowledge that God is always aware of every situation you may find yourself in and He is ready, willing and more than able to help you if asked.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

1 Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 61:3; Psalm 18:2.