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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Friday, September 30, 2016

INCLINE YOUR HEART TOWARD GOD

Isaiah 26:3 The Amplified Bible
“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You."
       I like the Amplified Bible translation of this verse. It’s filled with positive words and phrases that are designed to give those living for God encouragement and hope. We find in Isaiah that God will guard and keep in peace the ones whose mind is focused on him. Another way of saying this verse is ‘if a man’s mind is fixed on the Lord in both thought and intention, then the Lord will grant him perfect and continuous peace’.  Remember this about the peace of God; it exceeds anything we can understand.”  (Philippians 4:7 NLT) God will do this for those who are his legitimate children, not just anyone.  Think of it this way; if a father passes away and he left an inheritance for his children, only his own legal, legitimate children are entitled to the inheritance, not just anyone.  God knows the heart of a man; therefore He would absolutely know the inclination and character of any individual heart’s motivation. All this transpires because the individual is committed to God. He is relying on and hoping in Him who controls all things.  Those are God’s true, legitimate children.
       People face strife throughout their entire life; nothing will ever change that, but those whose mind and heart are focused on the Lord will have perfect, unexplainable peace in the midst of the turmoil.  God doesn’t remove the strife; he enables you to walk thru it with a calm spirit. This is something the world cannot relate to.   
       Focusing on the Lord, especially in times of strife, is done by faith.  The outcropping of faith should be trust.  Unwavering trust in the Lord comes from knowing him intimately.  This trust will give you hope for the future, in addition to the here and now.  It is vital that people have hope.  Those without hope feel they have absolutely nothing to live for. While that is certainly not true, their lack of hope clouds their ability to reason.  Place your focus on God and not on anything else, for he is the One who will lead you thru the maze of doubt, fear and turmoil to eternity with him.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource: The Life Application Study Bible, published by Tyndale House.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

FACTS CAN DECEIVE

Psalm 95:3-5 NIV
“For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”
       The Spirit of God moved upon David to write this song of exhortation regarding the greatness of God. All creation was made by God’s own hand; the seas, the hills and mountain peaks. Those who don’t believe in God are constantly seeking scientific facts to prove or discredit Christianity. They don’t realize that facts are not required here, but simple childlike faith. Trusting only in what we can experience with our senses isn’t really trust. What if our senses deceive us? We are relying on our own intellect and understanding. What if we’re wrong? Faith doesn’t rely on our senses, but instead relies on a quickening of the spirit within us to see things that are unseen to the naked eye. If we could see God, belief in Him wouldn’t require faith. Yet seeing His handiwork all around us seems insufficient for some.
       Throughout scripture the virtues of Almighty God are presented. He is great and above all other gods, for He never fails. He speaks to His children by the Holy Spirit and keeps the promises He makes. The individual who doesn’t use eyes of faith will never see God for who He truly is. They spend their time looking for hard, cold facts to base their beliefs on. All things that could be considered factual have been determined to be so by mortal men. There is nothing spectacular about these men other than they have conjured up formulas and theories that are, in and of themselves and by definition, not facts. Exercising ones faith is to read or hear something regarding God and choose to either believe or reject it. We all have that right based on the free will we have been given. To reject God is to say that everything around us just happened and was not formed by an unseen force prior to our very existence.
       In the end, it takes intellect to believe in facts and figures. Those have a sense of things that are greater than themselves choose to exercise faith. God was and is and always shall be. I choose to believe that. I accept that there are many things that I don’t understand, but also accept that I don’t have to. Believing in God takes courage and boldness. We allow our faith to give birth to hope and hope is what sustains us in our darkest hour. Exercise your faith.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
NOTE:  NIV – New International Version.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

GOD MUST COME FIRST

Matthew 6:33 New Living Translation
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
       The words of Jesus are usually profound and thought provoking to those with an open heart and mind.  Here he reveals how his followers should live.  To seek the Kingdom of God above all else simply means to put the Lord first and everything else after. It also means to let your thoughts line up with his desires, taking his character as your model to follow.  It also means to serve and obey him in all things.
       The things of this world line themselves up to compete for our attention.  They can be rather tempting, however, we must keep our focus on the Lord and not on that which surrounds us for temporal things can never truly compete with a God who has the power to meet every one of your needs. Temporal things normally fall under the category of ‘wants’.  The difference between wants and needs is pretty easy to see.
A need is something you require, a want is something you desire.  Almighty God promised to meet all of your needs, not your wants. The interesting thing about all this is that scripture says God is already well aware of what you need (v.32).
       We are to live righteously.  That is to say that with the Holy Spirit’s help we are to live a virtuous and morally upright life as an example to those around you who do not yet know the Lord. The question we must ask ourselves is: What is most important to us?  If you call yourself a Christian and the answer for you isn’t the Lord himself, then you need to rethink the matter.  Only Almighty God offers forgiveness for all of your sins.  No one else can offer that with the power and intention to follow thru with it.  Only God. Look hard at your life. If something is missing, ask the Lord to show you what he wants from you.  Let your request be sincere and your motivation pure and you shall see God work wonders in your life. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Matthew 6:31-32 (NLT)  “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

Resource: The Life Application Study Bible, published by Tyndale House.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

GOD’S JUDGMENT

Hebrews 10:30-31 New Living Translation
”For we know the one who said, ‘I will take revenge. I will pay them back.’[a] He also said, ‘The Lord will judge his own people.’ It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
       The writer of Hebrews quotes the Old Testament as he warns believers of the coming judgment.  Verses 26-29 set the scene:
         Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received   
          knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these 
         sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire 
        that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of 
       Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  
        Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled 
        on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us 
       holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy 
       Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.”
       The judgment coming is for those who have rejected God’s mercy.  On the last day the Lord will divide his true children from the apostates; those who have fallen away or renounced their faith in Jesus Christ.  What a sad situation to find yourself in, having believed and received the gracious forgiveness of God for the entirety of your sins, only to turn away at a future date to pursue other things that have piqued your curiosity. 
       The key word in verse 26 is ‘deliberately’. That means it wasn’t an accident or mistake, you continued sinning intentionally.  If you never return to the fold then you have essentially trampled God’s grace under foot, thus insulting the Lord.  You will receive a worse punishment than one who never served God in the first place. Christ died a gruesome death for us all, yet some disregard it as if his actions were trivial and unimportant. I know a couple people who renounced their faith back in the 90’s.  There is no talking to them, they’ve made up their minds as free will allows. God sends no one to hell. Quite the contrary, scripture tells us that he doesn’t wish that any would perish without being redeemed.  Men, women and children choose hell either by their actions or inaction.  This isn’t a popular topic without a doubt, but one that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.  Serve God faithfully. Turn away from evil and do good (1 Peter 3:11a). Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
[a] Deuteronomy 32:35 (NLT) “I will take revenge; I will pay them back.  In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.”
Resource: The Life Application Study Bible, published by Tyndale House.

Monday, September 26, 2016

THE ADVOCATE

1 John 2:1 New Living Translation
“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”
       This letter from the Apostle John was sent as a pastoral letter to several Gentile congregations. It seems that false teachings had infiltrated these churches and John was seeking to reassure the body in their faith while countering the false teachings. The two main teachings that ran contrary to scripture were 1) the reality of sin, and 2) the denial that Jesus was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.  Elsewhere in the letter John states that if we continue in sin we do not belong to God.*  The operative word there is ‘continue’.  He also says that if we believe Jesus was God in the flesh and trusted him to forgive us of all our sins then we would be children of God.**  It should be noted that is a conditional statement.  It’s called an ‘If - then’ clause.  The unspoken follow up to that is ‘if we do not believe Jesus was God and that he died for the forgiveness of all sin’ then we will not only not be considered children of God, but live apart from God, potentially forever unless we have a change of heart.
       The whole notion that once you’re a Christian you never sin and if you do sin you aren’t truly a believer at all is rubbish.  John’s own words specifically state “if anyone does sin”.  In a perfect world no one would do anything displeasing to Almighty God, but this isn’t a perfect world, therefore some folks will struggle with sin and the temptation associated with sinning.  You slipped up. It’s not okay, but you won’t go to hell because of a mistake or the use of poor judgment in a situation.  If you have a sincere and contrite heart, as in a heart that regrets your mistake and seeks forgiveness, you will be forgiven.  The idea here is that we are to immerse ourselves in the things of God so that we develop a desire to live for him and imitate his Son.  That more time you spend with the Lord and in his word, the less of a temptation sinning will become.  John is saying, IF we sin, we have an advocate, a lawyer, someone who will stand up for us and plead our case before the Father.  That advocate is none other than God’s own Son, Jesus Christ.  He is righteous and holy and because of his shed blood we stand as righteous and holy in the eyes of God. 
       We must seek forgiveness and follow his will over our own.  Our life is no longer ours.  We were bought with a price, one we could never pay.  Don’t stress over mistakes in judgment. Deal with the consequences, for whether good or bad, there are always consequences, and move forward with a newly cleaned slate.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resource: The Life Application Study Bible, published by Tyndale House.
* 1 John 1:6, 8, 10

** 1 John 2:22; 4:1-3