Saturday, January 14, 2017

Keeping & Evaluating Hope!

HOPE...its another vital part of our existence. 

God brings hope to us every day in ordinary ways (general hope) and extraordinary hope too! (through Jesus) 

We're to be agents of hope, peace and more... 

Saturday, January 07, 2017

He Made You a Part of The Body of Christ & It's Not Optional!


To my fellow followers of Christ,  I wonder sometimes why some of you make it so easy for yourself to disconnect from the church/fellowship/weekly gathering or more importantly with your relationship with God? 

Some of you will go weeks or months without attending any weekly services/gatherings, serving using your gifts and talents, or connecting with other believers. Furthermore, you spend hardly any time daily, (if at all)  developing your relationship with God through reading and studying the Word, prayer and prayer/communicating with Him.

Speaking from experience,  we all can go through somewhat dry seasons in life sometimes, but, I know that the seasons are even harder on us when we withdraw from the relationships, connections, fellowship, etc that we know are good for us by putting them in the "optional" category. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year - 2017!


Hello Friends, 
Happy New Year!  As we close out 2016 and begin a new year, I wanted to share a few brief thoughts with you. 

1. I'm thankful that because of God's love and grace, each day is a a gift of a new beginning and an opportunity to make a fresh start. As you approach 2017 may you look at it as another gift and opportunity to begin fresh and forge the best path forward with God's help while putting the mistakes of the past behind you! Begin again my friend, begin again! 

2. As you make your goals and plans for the New Year, remember The One Who goes before you! Trust Him, communicate with Him and include Him in "your" plans. You'll be more successful in all your ways if you do so. 

3. There is a phrase in Romans 5 (5:5 NASB, but read it in context of course, read Romans 5) that says "hope does not disappoint" or in some versions it says "hope does not put us to shame". No matter what you face in the New Year don't lose hope... Keep hoping in the Lord as He's with you every step of the way! Enter the New Year with hope and prayer! God's hope does not disappoint and you will not be put you to shame! 

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement in 2016! Its been an honor to serve you and I look forward to prayerfully serving you in 2017 as we seek to live life on purpose together! 

You're prayers for wisdom, direction and God's provision for these ministry endeavors are always appreciated as I seek out what God's will is for me according to His calling on my life. 

Again, Happy New Year! Keep your hope in the Lord alive! I'm praying for God's best for you and please don't hesitate to let me know how I can serve you in the New Year! 

In Christ Alone and for His Glory, 

rlk 



#hope #future #faith #opportunities #plan #GodIsGood #encourage #encouragement #inspire #inspiration #inspirational #christian #Christianity #christfollower #bible #scripture #Godsword #heart #mind #soul #strength #ashepherdsheart #2017 #newyears #newyear

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Advent Christmas Eve or Day - A Prayer of Praise and Rejoicing in Christ (His Arrival!)


Read: Luke 2:1-35

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we enter Christmas day we rejoice in the arrival and indescribable gift of Jesus! We celebrate the most important birthday of all time and the most amazing gift to mankind!

We praise You for His arrival!

We celebrate, Emmanuel...You with us! What and awesome reality!

We praise You and thank You that Jesus humbled Himself to come here so we might have life through Your love and forgiveness.

I ask for Your help through Your Holy Spirit to help us point people to Your son and that we'll proclaim Who You are, Who Jesus is, Why He came and the true meaning of Christmas!

We praise You and thank You as we have much to be thankful for and celebrate.

I pray that we keep Jesus in the center of our Christmas celebration and the center and forefront of our lives day-to-day!

I pray that You're Joy and peace would be at work in and through us!

I pray for comfort for those where Christmas is really hard for them. 

I remember and pray for those who are mourning this Christmas for a lost loved one or who are battling disease, depression, anxiet or other things. Please help them to know Your love and may Your love overshadow their grief. I pray that You would heal them in Jesus Name!

I pray that relationships, especially family relationships, would be mended and differences would be put aside for this Christmas and beyond. 

May Your peace reign in each household and each heart in Jesus name!

May we remember anew the gift of Jesus Who was wrapped in cloths as we unwrap our gifts and as we enjoy a wonderful meal and celebration.

As we open presents, may we remember His presence today and each day. 

Thank You for all that Christmas represents and I pray that we never become cynical about the Christmas celebration and each year may our awe, wonder and childlike faith be renewed!

I thank You and praise You again for the indescribable gift of Jesus!

In Jesus name I praise You and Thank You, Amen.

Because He is THE Reason for the season,
Your Brother and Servant,

rlk

P.S. : As a little Christmas gift from me to you... Here's a link to a recording of the Luke 2 account of the birth of Jesus: https://soundcloud.com/user-335546274/the-birth-of-jesus-luke-21-35 Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Recapturing The Awe and Wonder of Christmas



Read: Luke 2:1-38, Matthew 18:2-4

Christmas...
It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year or so the songs say and for some it truly is while for others, it's a very hard time of year for various reasons.

For children, Christmas can often be sort of a "magical" time filled with fun, awe, wonder and excitement. If you're an adult reading this right now, you may remember those times of life and maybe you've lost that sense of childlike faith, awe and wonder?


The truth is that kids don't tend to over-complicate things like adults do sometimes. 

They don't run everything through "adult filters" whether for better or worse where we've let many things cloud our vision when it comes to celebrating things such as celebrating the birth of our Savior. Even knowing truth about the true meaning of Christmas from God's Word, we can allow the things of life and even some of the trappings of the season to distract us and steal some of the joy we used to have. 

My observation is that it can be easy as followers of Christ to become cynical or simply "check out" regarding Christmas which is a time we should be celebrating and proclaiming the gift of Jesus' birth and why He came in the first place! 

It's also true that many young adults / college age people have allowed themselves to become jaded as they begin to see the harsh side of life and realize that it isn't as easy as being a kid was.


We've also all heard excuse after excuse as to why Christmas is unimportant or why there's no reason to celebrate it. 


Things such as "it’s too commercial so I’m not going to celebrate it." Or, the Bible doesn't tell us celebrate Christmas or...Christmas is really just for kids and so on and so forth.

Here's something Max Lucado said in reference to Christmas:
“Jesus humbled Himself. He went from commanding angels to sleeping in straw. From Holding stars to clutching Mary's finger.The palm that held the universe took the nail of a soldier.Why? Because that's what love does.” -Max Lucado
The truth is that His birth, His first Advent (coming /arrival) is an integral part of our faith! His entry into this world is significant because He came here in the form of a baby to then live, die on the cross for our sins and to rise again all for you and I! He also fulfilled ancient prophecy foretold in the Old Testament proving God keeps His Word and His promises!

While life can be tough sometimes whether you're young or old, you have no reason to be cynical! 


Also, other than the super commercialistic push that can tend to come along with the season, the other things, the decorations, songs and festivities only add to the season and aren't harmful. 

My encouragement to you is (that while we do age and hopefully also grow in wisdom and knowledge) to never lose that Childlike faith!

We as followers have a great hope...THE great Hope. Christmas encompasses this hope for us in a tremendous way.

So how do we recapture some of that awe and wonder? 

Here are a few suggestions:
1. Get back to the basics. Important things like reading The Word to revisit all He's done for you and all you have to celebrate each Christmas and all year through!
2. Have fun! Unless you want to be known as a "Christian Scrooge" Have fun and enjoy the season as there is much to enjoy! :-)
3. Don't let the trappings of the season get in the way of you celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.
4.  Maybe consider making a birthday cake that while it may seem simple or trivial, it just might get your mind set on the reality of His birth you're celebrating during Christmas!
5. Go celebrate via a Christmas concert and a Christmas Eve Candlelit service to bring in Christmas day!
6. Choose to see the blessings and positive things that come along with the season! Choose to refresh your mind and view on Christmas all together. 

As you study His Word, and approach the Christmas season each year, may you sense the joy, awe and wonder anew regarding what Jesus has done for you as He entered this world as a baby. 

You and I cannot ask for a better Christmas gift than knowing Jesus Christ and experiencing His love and forgiveness for ourselves! 

Merry Christmas! 

rlk

P.S. Checkout the following site for a little Audio Christmas Present I'm sharing with you: https://soundcloud.com/user-335546274 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Advent Week 4 - A Prayer of Peace


Read: Isaiah 9:6-7, Philippians 4:7, Romans 6:23

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we enter this fourth week of advent we consider peace, especially the true peace that come from You!



I thank You and praise You that Youre Word reminds us and we celebrate this time of year, that Jesus is the Prince of Peace!


I praise You that we can experience true and lasting peace through knowing Him!

Even amongts the chaos that we experience in life HIs peace is beyond our understanding. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Advent Week 3 - A Prayer of Love


Read:  Micah 5:2, John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-17

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we enter this third week of advent we consider love...most importantly Your great love.


I thank You and praise You that we can celebrate and rejoice during this season and beyond that You sent Your love down to earth through Your Son Jesus. 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

6 Practical Ways You Can Help People In Need


Read: Matthew 25:31-40

Not too long ago I went on an outing to a local wildlife refuge wetlands area to enjoy some bird watching and hiking.


It was a cold late fall day and I was outside for hours. About an hour into my time I realized I was getting cold and even though I'd worn a warm sweatshirt and warm outdoor vest, I'd forgotten a hat and gloves. Needless to say I was feeling it. I pressed on for a couple more hours but then my hands and ears started to feel numb and my hands started to turn reddish. So, I decided that I better get out of the elements and warm up a bit.


On the way back to the car I saw a path I hadn't taken...then after I started down it I stopped myself and turned back to my car because I was starting a shiver because of my poor planning. Yes...I needed to get out of the cold.


Sunday, December 04, 2016

Advent Week 2 - A Prayer of Joy


Read:  Isaiah 35:10, Luke 2:7-15, Nehemiah 8:10, 1 Peter 1:7-9

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we enter this second week of advent we consider joy in You. 


I thank You and praise you for the great and true joy that comes from knowing You!


As we sing songs of this wonderful season just as "Joy to The World", we remember that Jesus is our true source of joy. 



Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Prayer of Jabez: Praying In Faith and Cutting Out Superstition


Read: 1 Chronicles 4:10, 1 John 5:14-15, Mark 11:24, Matthew 21:22, Hebrews 4:16 

The prayer of Jabez is a simple but very poignant prayer full of faith, however, to be very honest, it's not one that we should be superstition about thinking that just by speaking this amazing prayer or any prayer that God will do exactly what we ask. 

It should however expand our prayer life and faith in God's provision and goodness!

What I find is that we can often over-spiritualize or become superstitious about things like prayer thinking if we say or do certain things that that's the ticket to blessing or to release God's "bank account" upon us. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Advent Week 1 - A Prayer of Hope


Read: Luke 1:26-38, Romans 15:12-13, Romans 5:1-5     

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we enter into this Christmas season, I praise you and thank you for sending Your one and  Only Son Jesus as He's our only hope. 

I praise You that Jesus is the hope of all mankind! 

I pray that we hold onto and never lose the true hope we have in You! May we carry it all year through and proclaim your goodness all year through. 

May You help us proclaim the truth that Christmas represents as captured in Your Word.

Help us not to put hope in anything or anyone that is temporal, rather, completely place our hope in You the never changing one! 

Help us to remember that You will never let us down!

Friday, November 25, 2016

You need to check out this Guide to Celebrating Advent!

Hello!

Advent begins this Sunday! 

Advent can be a fantastic way for us to: 
#1 Remember the significance of Christmas and 
#2 Help focus our hearts, worship, celebration on the birth of Christ - the reason we celebrate CHRISTmas in the first place!

I created a Celebrating Advent guide that is written from a non-denominational Christian perspective and is meant to be a simple tool/guide - a starting point - to guide you in your observance. 

This resource is perfect to use as an individual, with family and friends or for your local church body as well to celebrate together!

As you'll see, there is practical information about Advent, instructions to guide you each week of Advent including suggested Scriptures and Prayers you can use or you can obviously do your own prayers. This resource was created with a lot of love!