Monday, June 14, 2021

June 2021 Memory Verse.

My Friend,

Scripture Memorization is vital and as promised, here's the first of prayerfully many more, monthly memory verse suggestions.

June's Verse suggestion is 2 Corinthians 5:17. I've suggested the ESV version but if you have another good word for word translation you enjoy, feel free to memorize it in that version. I may share verses twice a month sometimes but for now, once a month is a good starting point.

Sharing here in case you don't follow A Shepherd's Heart on Facebook or Instagram where this was previously shared.
You'll notice that following the verse is a list of some basic themes/topics. I've included those suggestions as I learned many years ago that having at least one theme or topic in mind when you memorize scripture helps you store them in memory and as you have conversations with others in the future, I can guarantee that as those themes/topics come up, the scripture you've memorized will also come to mind and you may share encouragement from God's Word or re-encourage yourself!

We're reminded of the importance of God's Word by a question from Psalm 119:9, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word" and then in Psalm 119:11 that, "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."

So how do you "guard your ways according to God's Word" and how do you "store up His Word in your heart?" One way is summed up in these three words: Memorize God's Word!

It doesn't matter what age you are, we're all capable of memorizing scripture and need to incorporate it into our lives for our benefit and the benefit of others!

Abiding in The Word through reading, studying, memorization and living it out are vital keys to our growth.

Have fun with it! Don't stress about it! And, as always, be in The Word and stay in The Word!

Also, here's a useful post about scripture memorization tips:

You're in my prayers and please reach out if you need any tips.
Your Brother and Servant in Christ,
Randolph Koch

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Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Who Is This King Of Glory?

My Friend,

No matter what you're facing today, no matter if you're having a bad or good day, take a moment to pause.

Pause to remember that no matter what you're facing today, The Lord Your God is THE King of glory and He is Strong and Mighty.

He is mighty in battle and goes before you and is with you no matter how big or small your battles are!

May this Biblical truth from Psalm 24:8 refresh your soul, calm your mind and emotions, encourage you, and recalibrate your thinking.

You're in my prayers.

Your brother and servant in Christ,
Randolph Koch

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Friday, May 28, 2021

Created For His Glory

My Friend,

Did you know that you were created for God's glory and you can bring Him glory?
Everything that God created is from Him and for Him, His glory, purpose, will, and plan.
The whole earth is full of His Glory! (See Isaiah 6:3)
I've heard it well said that, “God’s glory is the perfect harmony of all his attributes.”-John Piper

So, His glory is a reflection of His attributes which we cannot fully comprehend in your finite minds. 

As we live this life that He's given us, may we always remember that we should strive to live for His glory in what we do and seek to bring Him glory with the help of The Holy Spirit.
Let me encourage you to do a word study through The Scriptures on Glory / His Glory to see what He says about this.
Your Brother and Servant in Christ,
Randolph Koch

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Friday, May 07, 2021

Beware Of Pride.

My Friend,

This world is so full of pride and arrogance sometimes. So much so that it's sickening. We see it all over the TV, social media, pretty much everywhere you turn.
Sadly, some in the church are very prideful to the point they no longer represent Jesus, rather, they only seek their own gain and fame.
I'm reminded of Proverbs 16:18 where we're instructed that pride comes before destruction or in some versions it says it comes before the fall.
In other words, if your life is full of pride and you head down that path, you are heading toward destruction and you are not representing Jesus well as His ambassador.

None of us are immune to pride. We are prideful intentionally or unintentionally. We need to not be like the world. I'm not talking about a general "taking pride in what you do" rather, I'm talking about true pride and arrogance. I think we all know the difference between pride and humility.
Be careful how you communicate. Be careful how you respond to others. Be careful how you post and what you post on. Even in the name of "truth" we can be arrogant.
As they say, "check yourself before you wreck yourself." Pause before you respond to someone or post something and ask The Holy Spirit if your heart has any pride or arrogance in it through what you're about to say or do?
Always remember Who you represent and strive daily to do it well and by doing so, you will honor Him and continue down the right path.
Seek humility instead of pride even in speaking the truth.
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Randolph Koch

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Stay Close To The Good Shepherd.

My Friend,

You will encounter many wolves in this life.

The wolves today come in many shapes and sizes but no matter what shape or size,
their ultimate goal is to misguide, harm you, and lead you away from The True Shepherd and path that is only found in and through Jesus.

The enemy of your soul, the evil one wants nothing other than to see your life and eternity destroyed. Don't allow him to do so! And don't allow people who mean you harm to misguide you.

No matter what, let me encourage you to stay close to The Shepherd as the closer you are to The Shepherd, the safer you are from the wolves...and there are many wolves in the world we live in today.

Jesus, your Good Shepherd, loves you unconditionally and wants to lead you through this journey called life!

The closer we are to The Shepherd, Jesus, the safer we are from the wolves. Stay close to The Good Shepherd!

Read, Study, Take to heart, and live out John 10:1–18.

You're in my prayers.

Your Brother and Servant,

Randolph Koch

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Friday, April 16, 2021

Are You In A Season Of Waiting?

My Friend,

Sometimes waiting isn't our strong suit. OK, so maybe that's an understatement. :-)

Waiting seems even harder sometimes when we're waiting on an answer from God but we forget that sometimes "wait" is the answer He's give us at that time.

It doesn't mean we'll have to wait forever, but, we may have to wait for a while until His perfect timing arrives according to His perfect plan and will for you and I.

Let me simply encourage you that while you wait, may you wait on Him, seek to grow deeper in Him, and learn to trust Him more.

Many mighty men of God had to learn about waiting and it's a lesson, this side of heaven, that we'll continually be learning too. I pray for each of us that The Holy Spirit helps us learn to trust God even more...while we wait.

Let me encourage you to be in constant prayer my friend and then Read, Study and Take to heart Psalm 27:14, 2 Peter 3:9, Exodus 14:14, Isaiah 30:18, and 2 Peter 3:8 for starters.

Your brother and servant in Christ,
Randolph Koch

P.S. Here's a recent encouragement video message:
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Friday, April 02, 2021

Good Friday 2021.

Dear Friend,

It was the darkest day of all time. The day Jesus Christ the Savior was crucified.
On this Good Friday may we reflect on all He did so that we might have life in and through Him.

To help us in our reflection, here are the 7 Sayings of Jesus on the cross as recorded in The Gospels.

May we never take for granted His sacrifice and may we live a life that seeks to honor His Holy Name.
In Christ Alone,
Randolph Koch

P.S. Please check out the following Good Friday Resources.

A Devotional - 'The 7 Sayings of Jesus on The Cross':

A Good Friday Article / Devotional:
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Monday, March 29, 2021

This vs That? or This and That?: Finding A Better Way To Represent Christ.

Read: 2 Timothy 2:22-26, , Proverbs 17:28, Proverbs 20:3, Ephesians 4:1-16, Colossians 4:2-6, Colossians 3:13-15, Ephesians 4:29, James 3:8-10, Matthew 15:18, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, John 15:12.

My Friend,

It's a trying season for sure whether it's due to health related issues, politics, or other issues. 

Any season like this can bring out the absolute best in people and the absolute worst...and for some time now there has been a lot of the latter for sure. 

Even without these things, we live in a time where many supposed "Keyboard Warriors" sling their opinions, (as if they are experts on every issue that comes and goes) and if you don't agree with them, you better get ready for an assault of hatred, shaming, finger pointing, character attacking, and name calling to be launched. 

Division Ensues: 
This is happening for things such as...

-Mask wearing Vs. No mask wearing.
-Shelter at home vs some shelter at home vs absolutely not. 
-All vaccines vs some vaccines vs absolutely no vaccines. 
-Gun control vs no gun control vs somewhere in between. 
-One political party vs another. 
-Universal health care vs private Healthcare 
... And the list of this vs that goes on and on...

It seems at times people have traded what should be adult maturity for adolescent behavior... all while they often hide behind their keyboards. 

Harsh Words Are Communicated: 
People type away and spout things from their high castles...things that many of us would never say to someone's face...or I hope not!?

People trash talk, name call, label, and launch evil words just because they think their opinion or viewpoint is somehow superior. 

It must make the evil one happy to see so much division horrible behavior in word and action...even within the church on these and many more issues. 

Let me ask, even if we think our opinion is better, how does it make us better to inflict others with such negative things?

What happened to being OK with respectfully disagreeing with one another without slinging hate toward one another? 

People Should Be Valued: 
It's sad because I see that supposed friendships end over things like this and you have to ask if they were remotely true friendships in the first place?

Aren't people more valuable than all of this?! 

Aren't people who were supposedly our friend(s) more important than this? Or were they only our supposed friend(s) when they didn't have a different viewpoint? 

Don't they still have value with or without your and my acceptance and despite our differences?... But instead, you or I may have thrown them away, and for what? 

Does It Have To Be This Vs. That?: 
In the current state of things and in general, why does it have to be "This vs That" instead of "This and That" about many of these issues or topics? 

Let me say here and now that it doesn't have to be this way!

The fact is that we will never be the same or completely agree on every issue and that's completely OK...or it should be. 

We need to be wise in what we engage on or as the old saying goes, "pick your battles wisely".  

There are many things that can be seen as "This and That" or we can stay neutral on. 

Kindness Please?! (We Represent Jesus!) : 
What we need is more people being good and kind toward one another...even those with whom we disagree. This doesn't mean you can't have and voice your views, and it doesn't mean you will necessarily or ever be best friends with each other, but, it does mean you should respect and value one another despite your differences. 

We need less hatred, shaming, harsh words spoken, and division. In its place we need more kindness and acceptance. We need more kind words spoken, (or how about not saying anything at times if you have nothing nice to say?), and we need more love and unity! Or if not unity, at least civility. 

We are welcome to have and respectfully express our opinions and viewpoints but, I believe that we show our strength more as we come together as unique people as we listen and lift others up instead of tear them down. 

Anyone can tear others down but it takes truly mature and special people to instead build one another up. 

To be clear, there are also times where we need to be bold and share the truth but we better have clear direction from The Lord regarding when we are to do that and we again, need to speak the truth in love. 

Even if we disagree with one another, we need to be good human beings, listen to those we don't agree with and show a little kindness and respect. Or, if we can't handle it then we should be mature enough to not engage with others in the specific conversations.

Even more important is that we as followers of Christ seek to live in a way that represents Jesus well, in an honoring way because we are His ambassadors and we're to speak the truth but in love. 

Sometime Silence Is The Best: 
I'd suggest there are times when we might choose to be silent on some non-essential issues so we don't add to further division and strife.

We Need To Do Better: 
We as followers of Christ need to do better. We need to behave better. We need to represent Jesus better in all these things. 

May we pause to consider how we're representing Him, especially in these crazy times we're living in, in Jesus name. May we ask for The Lord's helping in how we can do better and when we should speak up or remain silent. 

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch

Please Note: This article was geared toward general issues and behaviors I've observed many times. This also isn't speaking to condoning sinful behavior or anything like that but on general issues, non-essential issues, non-salvation issues, things that are possibly neutral in alignment to God's Word, that we find a better more biblical way to communicate.

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