Monday, May 20, 2019

Faith, Mountains, and Molehills.

Read Matthew 17:20, 1 Peter 5:6-7, Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 6:27–28, Matthew 6:31, and Matthew 6:34

There's the old saying you might be familiar with that is, "Making mountains out of a molehills".  

Unfortunately, we as people of faith who know God's truth (or should), can still fulfill this old saying instead of fulfilling God's Word by responding in faith.

Due to our fear, doubt, forgetting the basic tools God has given us, as well as being guilty of overthinking, we can often create our own mountains and obstacles where there are none. Or, we can take the problems and obstacles at hand and make them far larger than they really are. 

Instead of responding in faith, we can go straight to fear, doubt, anxiety and more which always clouds our vision of God's truth.

In contrast, God's Word reminds us that our faith can move mountains. (Read Matthew 17:20)
The question is, will we allow The Holy Spirit and The Word of God to help us respond more often in faith rather than in fear and doubt?

Will we turn to God's Word and God Himself through prayer first instead of putting Him second while we get stuck in the thoughts of our own heads as well as our emotions? 

Will we strive to turn to God, the wisdom of His Word, the help of His Holy Spirit, Prayer, and Godly counsel more often during the times of problems and obstacles rather than our own thoughts, feelings, and limited wisdom? 

Whether our troubles are mountain sized or molehill sized, let us pray for one another that we'll turn to God in faith first and always and not give into our fears and doubts.

Let's strive to stop living the old life and really ask for God's help to walk in new life every day, in Jesus name.

Your Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Great I AM Is With You!

Read Exodus 3:13-15, Mark 8:29, and Matthew 16:15

In Holiness and Great Power God spoke these words about Who He IS... "I AM WHO I Am.". (Exodus 3:13-15)

God is the Great I AM that generations have worshiped and revered! He is The One true God Who is beyond time and space. He’s always been…He has no beginning and no end. He simply...IS!
Flash forward to the New Testament where Jesus stated He was the I AM and Jesus asked on multiple occasions, "Who do you say that I Am?" (Mark 8:29 and Matthew 16:15)

This question is vital to you and I as Who He His and how we view Him should collide with and change our world view including our sense of identity as our identity ought to be ground in The Great I AM!

You and I need to also understand that Jesus is the same I AM being fully God Who chose to come in the flesh to dwell among us. 

No matter what you're facing right now, pause for a moment and remember that if you're in Christ, You walk with The Great I AM...and, He is with you always!  

Your Brother and Servant In Christ,

Randolph Koch

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Wait On The Lord...No Really...Wait On The Lord.

Read Isaiah 40:31 ESV and Matthew 6:33-34.

Waiting. This isn't something most of us in our day and age or very good at especially when we want something now.  

In comparison, we will wait in a long line for hours for the latest piece of technology, a concert, or movie...yet, we'll continually check our watches or phones for the time if the pastor's message goes longer than 30 minutes during what is the extent of many people's mostly once-a-week spiritual activity. 

We also often get impatient when we drive, are pulling out of the church parking lot, standing in the grocery store check-out line, or at the local department of motor vehicles...ok...maybe that list is just about me as I know "no one else" struggles with waiting patiently.  Or, maybe that list is what I've heard "a friend" experiences. ;-) 

We also get impatient when our plans or next purchase of one thing or another doesn't move along as fast as we want...and many times that gets us in trouble. Why? Because we often don't include God in our plans or purchases and we forge ahead sometimes foolishly toward something that wasn't God's plan for us and yet...we wonder why our plans are meeting resistance or fail?!

It becomes clear that He didn't want that plan for us and we can't expect Him to bless what is not His Will...and if it's related to a foolish purchase, we can't expect Him to bless us if we go into debt for something we really didn't need.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Passion Week - What took place?

Passion Week is an incredible time where we should pause to remember all Jesus did and endured for us so that we can have forgiveness and life in and through Him!

The following is a straight forward list of some of the many things that took place from His triumphant entry that we remember on Palm Sunday and on through to Resurrection Sunday with scriptures for your personal reading, study, reflection, and prayer. 

Palm Sunday:
  • The Triumphal Entry of Jesus: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-44, John 12:12-19

Monday:
  • The Cleansing of the Temple: Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48
  • The Cursing of the Fig Tree: Matthew 21:18-19, Mark 11:12-14

Tuesday:
  • Jesus’ Authority is Challenged: Matthew 21:23-27, Mark 11:27-33, Luke 20:1-8
  • Jesus’ Parables of Warning: Matthew 21:28-22:14, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19
  • The Withered Fig Tree: Matthew 21:18-22, Mark 11:20-25
  • Debate With Jewish Leaders: Matthew 22:15-46, Mark 12:13-37, Luke 20:20-44
  • Jesus' Warning against Hypocrisy & Jesus Denounces the he Scribes & the Pharisees: Matthew 23:1-39, Mark 12:38-44, Luke 20:45-21:4 Teaching on the Last Things Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21:5-36

Wednesday:
  • The Chief Priests Conspire Against Jesus: Matthew 26:1-5, Mark 14:1-2, Luke 22:1-2
  • The Anointing of Jesus & Judas' Plot: Matthew 26:6-16, Mark 14:3-11, Luke 22:3-6, John 11:45-12:8

Thursday:
  • The Last Supper: Matthew 26:17-35, Mark 14:12-31, Luke 22:7-38, John 13-17
  • The Garden of Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46
  • Jesus’ Betrayal & Arrest: Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:1-14
  • Jesus Stands Trial before the Jewish Authorities: Matthew 26:57-75, Mark 14:53-72, Luke 22:54-71, John 18:15-27

Good Friday:
  • Jesus Stands Trial before Pilate: Matthew 27:1-31, Mark 15:1-20, Luke 23:1-25, John 18:28-19:16
  • The Crucifixion of Jesus: Matthew 27:32-56, Mark 15:22-41, Luke 23:26-49, John 19:16-37
  • The Burial of Jesus: Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42

Saturday:
  • The Tomb Watch: Matthew 27:62-66

Resurrection Sunday!
  • The Resurrection of Jesus: Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18
  • The Report of the Tomb Watch: Matthew 28:11-15
  • Jesus Appears on The Road to Emmaus: Luke 24:13-35
  • Jesus Appears to the Ten in the Upper Room: Luke 24:36-49, John 20:19-23

May you be moved to praise The Lord all the more as you re-read, study, and reflect on these passages this week as remember all He did and endured for you!

You're Brother and Servant in Christ,


Randolph Koch

Friday, April 12, 2019

Spiritual Warfare: Submit, Resist, and he will Flee!

Read: Ephesians 6:10-18 and James 4:7

Some time ago, I went through a Spiritual Warfare 101 Bible study (by Chip Ingram) with a small group/community group that met every other week. 

I really gained a lot from the Bible study and I wanted to share some brief thoughts with you about it as it's not a topic that we often talk about in The Church but none-the-less it's in His Word and a very real battle. (See Ephesians 6:12-13 and other passages) 

Also, as a word of caution, some often over-spiritualize spiritual warfare and we have to remind ourselves to be in God's Word and seek Him often as not everything is "spiritual warfare". (I have very real examples of this but to keep this post brief, I won't  take the time share here.)

We need to look at and treat spiritual warfare Biblically and not let our emotions overshadow what is or isn't spiritual warfare. We need to guard against over-spiritualization of important and very real matters such as this.  

Ok, side note/disclaimer stated, now let's get into what I aim to briefly share. :-) 

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Remaining Sharp In A World That Aims To Keep You Dull.


Read: Proverbs 27:17,  1 Corinthians 12:12–27,  Romans 12:4-5, and Ephesians 2:19-22

Knives need to remain sharp: 

Many times we may have gone to use a knife to cut something. It may have been a pocketknife to carve something; or maybe a kitchen knife to carve your Thanksgiving turkey or some other food item. 

There have been times when you went to use the knife of your choosing and you may have found that the knife was so dull that a butter knife would have probably been more effective. 

You then either had to sharpen the knife, maybe taken it somewhere to get it sharpened, or see if you had another knife you can use instead. 

Even after we have sharpened the knife, it will likely becomes dull again because most knives need constant maintenance to stay useful for their given purpose.

Believers need each other to stay sharp: 

Like these knives, we need constant sharpening in order to stay useful and to actively grow as we strive to become complete in Christ.  

As believer's we seem to have a built-in God given ability to sharpen each other as we utilize the tools and relationships that God has given us such as:
-A growing relationship with The Lord.
-Abiding in, reading, studying and living out God's Word.
-Being active in prayer.
-Allowing The Holy Spirit to work in your life. 
-Growing with The Body of Christ doing life together as each of us play our individual parts as part of The Body serving God and each other. 

God has given us all the tools and resources we need and as we actively utilize these tools and people God has placed in our lives no matter through times of trial or times of peace, we will continued to be sharpened. 

As we do life together, God allows friction to take place and with this friction we should become sharpened as the dull edges we have in our lives are smoothed away. 

Being used in each other's lives is a privilege: 

What a joy and privilege it is to be used in helping sharpen others and to be sharpened by others. It is sad though, that many choose to remain dull just because they don't want to put out any effort and would rather remain isolated from others and thereby miss-out on the growth they can experience or help others experience!

One of the many blessings about our walk with the Lord is that He uses people around us, right where you and I are, to sharpen us. 

Are you a sharp or dull knife? 

We can think of a "sharp" Christian as a believer that isn't perfect but is actively growing in their relationship with the Lord, helping others grow...being a disciple who makes disciples.  Someone who is on the alert against satan's attacks. Their faith and walk doesn't begin and end on Sundays, rather, they actively live out their faith in Jesus and strive to help others do the same day-to-day. 

On the flip side, we can think of a "dull" Christian as a believer that has become ineffective or stagnant in their relationship with the Lord and others and may have become satan's prey as they have given in to this world and his influence. They may be a "Sunday only Christian" that does their "Sunday thing" but leaves church like a "check of the box" of weekly activities and they rarely live out their faith in Jesus. 

The choice is yours:

The truth is that we either do things God's Way or we don't.  Furthermore, the world and the enemy of your soul is more than happy to distract you from staying sharp. 

I pray you strive to remain sharp in a world that aims to keep you dull.

The choice is up to you and I pray that you will allow Him to sharpen you for His Kingdom, Glory, and the good of The Body of Christ! 

Strive to be sharpened and to help sharpen others in Jesus name. 

Questions To Get Started With:

-Are you a sharp or dull Christian? 
-Which would you rather be? 
-How do you become sharpened?
-What will you do to stay sharp?
-Do you help sharpen others?
-Do you allow God and others to help sharpen you?
-Do you need sharpening? 
-Is all of the above important to you?
-As a Christian why should this matter and why should these passages matter?

In Christ Alone, 
Your Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Faithfulness In A Quiet Season.

Psalms 31:21‭-‬24 ESV
"Blessed be the Lord , for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, "I am cut off from your sight." But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. Love the Lord , all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!"

Do you feel a separation from God like the text says the psalmist felt while saying "I am cut off from your sight"? I encourage you to look where you put your trust and control. If it is in yourself and your own abilities this could be the reason for the disconnect. It says " He abundantly repays the one who acts in pride." It can be a form of pride for us to think we can control our way back to hearing Him.

Take hope though! If you are truly seeking the Lord in everything and there is still a disconnect, it could be God putting you in a place to learn something to be revealed later. That could be deeper reliance on Him, Contentment in Him, and many other things.

Whatever He has you in this season for remember He is faithful! His timing is amazing, God will show you His power in ways that you couldn't imagine. Do you know why? Because He is God and we cannot plan His ways.

His Truth, Grace, Power, and Character stay consistent. All we can do is "Be strong, and let your heart take courage" as we wait in hope and excitement of His great plan. The biggest thing to understand is that God can be silent for a season, but He is still there!

It is crazy to me how He works! He can stay silent so we His children can turn back to Him stronger and more at peace than ever, knowing He is in control! So "Love the Lord , all you his saints!" Because "The Lord preserves the faithful". What a peace we can find in Him.

I pray you all have a blessed day and week, may we hold our thoughts captive to God's word and be faithful so He can show His loving character and plan. Lord, thank you for your wondrously steadfast love.

Stay Steady,

Noah Koch


We're blessed to introduce Noah Koch as a new guest contributor to A Shepherd's Heart. He hails from the Pacific Northwest in the USA where he actively and passionately lives life on purpose for The Lord. He's very creative and talented as a communicator, photographer, musician, and writer. He has a true servant's heart. We prayerfully look forward to further guest posts from Noah in the future!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Fruit of The Spirit - Self-Control

Read: Ephesians 4:22-24, Proverbs 25:28, 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, Romans 14:13-23, Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 Corinthians 6:18, and Luke 9:23.

We desperately need more self-control in our world as it seems to be such a tumultuous time where so many are lacking this character quality and Fruit of the Spirit.

If we’re honest we see that we live in what is a largely self-centered, entitled society that wants what they want no matter what anyone else wants. It’s a ”me” or “I” viewpoint. 

They put themselves first.

However, those who know the Lord, should be abiding in Him, and walking in the power, help and direction from the Holy Spirit…we are to put off our old life, put on the new life and shift our focus off ourselves and onto the Lord and others!

The Definition of Tenacity:

When I think of the Fruit of the Spirit and especially the Fruit of Self-Control, the word Tenacity comes to mind and here's how dictionaries define it: 

the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip.
the quality or fact of being very determined; determination
the quality or fact of continuing to exist; persistence.
Tenacity – synonyms are persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose, tirelessness, patience, purposefulness, steadfastness, staying power, endurance.

Like before A Football Game, Wrestling Match, or music competition or one of the many musicals I was a part of…There was this ownership and feeling that accompanied those ongoing things. This tenacity translated onto the sports field or music stage and was a driving force to continue to grow and excel. 

I believe that while it is The Holy Spirit that brings about gifts that are The Fruit of The Spirit, we are to be tenacious in growing in Christ and allowing His Spirit to work in and through us!

The Definition of Self-Control:

The ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires or the expression of them in one's behavior, especially in difficult situations such as: 

  • The ability for you and I to say no the things which aren’t good for us or others.
  • The ability and desire to put off the old life and put on the new.
  • The denial of our selfish desires and the striving after God’s purpose, plan and will.
God always has something better in store for us if we do things His way! (See Ephesians 4:22-24)

Self-Control is important because we really cannot grow to be more Christ-like without self-control. 

Furthermore, as we work hard to control our thoughts, words and actions, we provided proof that God is at work in and through our lives and we have to put on the armor of God regularly because there are many things that can hinder self-control.

It seems that with every other Fruit of the Spirit that it takes some measure of self-control to fulfill each of them. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness.

Examples of Self-Control and Your Calling to Self Control:

I recall reading about Edmund Hilary who was the first man who conquered Mount Everest,  (29,029 feet tall & is earth’s highest mountain)

He was asked by an interviewer about his passions for climbing mountains. He gave this reply: "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."

Self-Control is largely the conquering of ourselves but the most amazing thing is that we don’t conquer on our own…we have God’s help every step of the way.

Proverbs 25:28 says, "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control."

This is especially relevant to the times where they had fortified cities.

I wonder if you and I see people like this verse describes? People whose life’s are like broken old dilapidated houses?  If we do, it’s because they haven’t maintained their physical and spiritual house. The analogy is even more relevant when you’re a home owner, however, if you're in Christ, He’s rebuilt the temple and taken residence up inside of us.

We are no longer that broke down house in Christ and we have to fortify ourselves through abiding in Christ and His Word so we can face the day-to-day battles so we won’t succumb to the pressures the influences that wage war against us.

As we read 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, we see that this passage is a picture of Self-Control and we’re reminded that our prize is eternal life with Christ. We don’t run this race without purpose / aimlessly because He gives us a greater purpose to live and run this race He’s placed ahead of us!

Note: He says here that He disciplines his body and keep it under control. We need to do the same including controlling our minds / thoughts.

We also have to remember once again that our actions can positively or negatively impact others. In this case…our actions, words, attitudes can cause others to stumble in the area of Self-Control. As Romans 14:13-23 reminds us, we should not be a stumbling block for one another.

We are also constantly under attack so self-control is needful in our lives and others.

We’re not to fear battles we face but we need to recognize that there is a real spiritual warfare going on and we need The Spirit of God to strengthen us and again, help fortify our spiritual walls so we can stand strong. I mention this and the next passage because it directly impacts our success and failure with grow Self-Control and the other Fruit of The Spirit! (See Ephesians 6:12)

We also have to be on alert as we recognize through the discernment of Christ who is our enemy and have the wisdom from Him to know those things and people that do not have our best in mind but maybe seek to harm us in one way or another. (See 1 Peter 5:8)

Another rampant thing in our world is immorality and as follower's of Christ, we're called to flee immorality which also (See 1 Corinthians 6:18) takes self-control...and sometimes in life…you will not only have to figuratively flee…but you may have to physically flee what it is that is detrimental to you. 

Following Christ takes sacrifice and denial of self – and if the Fruit of the Self-Control is at work in you, you should have no issue denying yourself to follow Christ and gain all that He is at work in and through you to accomplish! (Luke 9:23)

I want you to remember something: your conduct matters now and in the future. Whatever you do today can set precedence for your future whether positively or negatively.

We can cause our own obstacles for progress when we choose to do the things which we know will adversely impact ourselves and others. We aren’t called to live a perfect life but we are called to strive for holiness, including striving to be more Christ-like.

Self-Control takes a lot of work. It takes a tenaciousness to be committed to your pursuit of Christ and in pursuing Him, allowing His Holy Spirit to work in and through you to help you bear fruit!

Exhortation to grow in Self-Control:

If you want to grow in this or any of the Fruit of The Spirit, you need help! So, ask the Holy Spirit for help!

In order to successfully grow you need to also abide in Christ each day! You need to own your growth and pursuit of Christ.

I also suggest that you assess the things and people that are influencing your life. Consider if there are friends, settings or things you need to avoid going forward as they negatively impact you and cause you to struggle with self-control? Are there things or people that may be tempting you or causing you to stumble? If so, it's time to purge those people or things.
This may sound hard nosed but, sometimes this is exactly what you need to do successfully grow! 

Let me also encourage you to be tenacious and own your words, actions and thoughts.

The Fruit of The spirit results in a change in our mind, behavior, and character that comes about because of the Holy Spirit's Work in us! 

As we close this series of posts out, I realized it's been far too long so I thought it was finally time to finish The Fruit of The Spirit Series after refocusing my time on other projects back to this one briefly. :-) 

Your Brother and Servant In Christ,

Randolph Koch

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day 2019!

Happy Valentine's Day!   

Here's an audio recording of 1 Corinthians 13 https://youtu.be/lhBzrm-4X4w

May you enjoy celebrating the love of God through His Son Jesus each and every day!

In Christ,
Your Brother and Servant,

Randolph Koch

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
-1 Corinthians 13:1‭-‬13 ESV
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Thursday, January 31, 2019

You Are A Child Of God!

Read: 1 John 3:1, 1 John 2:28-3:10, and Romans 8:14-17

When doubt-filled questions and accusations a hurled at you, speaking truth to yourself from God's Word is vital. It's vital no matter the season. The truth is that the enemy and others seek to tear you down, but, they forget Whose you are and Who you are in Christ! You tend to forget sometimes as well! 

We all are faced with times of doubt and times where the enemy and others seem to be on the attack. During this times we need to remember that through Christ we are His and through Him we are Secure, Accepted, and Significant. WE ARE CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH GOD!
I recall a season when one of my kids were not seeing themselves for how God sees them and they were really down on themselves while listening to the wrong voices. In the moment, I had them stand in front of the mirror and speak truth to themselves instead of believing the lies they've been told. I wanted them to see their own reflection and remember Who they reflect as we're made in His Image.

They needed to remember Whose they are and we all need to remember this!

We are nobodies who know SOMEBODY! Jesus Christ!

You have to decide which voice you are you going to listen to. God's Voice - The One Who is for you? Or the world's voice - those who are often against you?

Friend, remember Whose you are and cast out any doubt or negative voices and speak His truth over yourself instead of the doubts and lies in Jesus Name!


In Christ Alone,
Your Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch 

Friday, January 25, 2019

God Is Always On Time.

When you're in a season of trial and growth, sometimes it can be easy to slip into doubt mode. You may have even prayed and prayed and God seems "Silent" or you're wondering "Where is He?", or, "When it God going to show up?"

Let me encourage you to not listen to those voices because based on God's Word and even your own past experiences, you know God is always on time - no matter what! 

The negative voices you hear and the dialogue that goes on in your head during these seasons is a product of doubt and not a product of faith. Hold on to faith and reject all the negative voices of doubt...including the whispers of the enemy or other people.

God always shows up in His perfect timing so don't spend anymore time worrying and shift your faith into "high gear" as you know God is your rock always.

Read the following passages and be encouraged: 2 Peter 3:8-9, 1 Peter 5:6-8, James 4:13-17, Psalm 23:4, Matthew 6:25-34, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 5: 1-5, and Isaiah 41:10.


Your Brother and Servant In Christ,

Randolph Koch