Friday, November 29, 2019

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Hello!

Let me be one of the first people to wish you Merry Christmas!

To kick off this incredible season where we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I wanted to share three Christmas resources with you. 

1. Celebrating Advent guide:

While this is currently the free gift for subscribing to my free A Shepherd's Heart Communications, I want to simply offer it this year to anyone whether they subscribe or not. 

Please click on the following link to download the guide:  Celebrating Advent

This a guide that I created to help provide you with the basic information to incorporate Advent into your Christmas celebration as you focus on The Reason for the season....Jesus! 

This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent so there's still time to check out this guide, pray, and decide if you want to incorporate Advent into your Christmas celebration! 

2. Christmas: The Promise Fulfilled YouVersion Devotional:





















This is the first of two Christmas devotionals that are currently published in the YouVersion Bible App and Website. 

Please click on the following link to check out the devotional: Christmas: The Promise Fulfilled 


3. The Wonder of Christmas YouVersion Devotional:





















This is the second of two Christmas devotionals that are currently published in the YouVersion Bible App and Website. 

Please click on the following link to check out the devotional: The Wonder of Christmas

A note about these devotionals: You can either open these in the App or a web browser via your mobile phone or if you're opening them in a personal computer, it will prompt you to open them in a web browser. If you'd like both the audio and written versions of the devotionals then I recommend accessing them via the mobile app. 

From there it will give you the option of reading a sample and then give you the option of subscribing to the free devotional plans. 

I hope you check out, take advantage of, and enjoy these Christmas Resources as they were created to encourage you in your faith as you seek to celebrate the birth of Christ!

Again, Merry Christmas! It's an honor to serve you and The Lord!

Your Brother and Servant In Christ,

Randolph Koch

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Thankfulness...it's really a "thing".

What are you thankful for? Do you make thanksgiving part of your day-to-day or like many, do you relegate this to holidays or special occasions?

It may sound ridiculous to hear that but sadly it's true because some today don't have an attitude of gratitude...they have the opposite of that.

Thankfulness can be found despite the circumstances of a given day or moment. 

Thankfulness can be found with each new day because each day provides a fresh new start.

Thankfulness can be found in the beating of your heart and with every breath.

Thankfulness can be found in the rising and setting of the sun each day is a gift to live out.

Thankfulness can be found in salvation, love and a new life found in the Savior. 

Thankfulness is a decision... a mindset... an attitude...a choice. 

You can find so many things to be thankful for if you just pause for a moment and look around you...what do you see? You should see a multitude of things to be thankful about. 

Maybe you need to periodically take time to pause for a few minutes and write down what you're thankful fore instead of what you're ungrateful for?

Don't compartmentalize your thanksgiving. Be thankful daily. Thank others daily. Thank God for the life you've been given and for the people He's blessed and surrounded you with. 

Be thankful for the "big" and "small" things in your life because at the end of the day they are all truly big things. Your life, your attitude and your outlook will be far better if you are thankful and appreciate how blessed you truly are!

Here are 8 passages (of the many in God's Word) to help you meditate on regarding thankfulness.

Take time to read, study and pray about these and then go find more in The Word for yourself.

Psalm 95:2-3
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

1 Corinthians 1:4-5
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—

2 Corinthians 9:11-12
You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 7:17
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

Psalm 100:4
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Psalm 106:1
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 


Be thankful because God is good and He loves you beyond measure.

Thankfulness is really a thing...just make it your thing! 

Thankfully,

Randolph Koch

Friday, October 18, 2019

You Were Created And Set Free To Serve!

I recall hearing Pastor Greg Laurie say the following:
"God looks at us and says, “I know what you can be. You don’t know it yet, but I know. I know what I can make you into. You’ll be a mighty man of God. You’ll be a mighty woman of God.” -Greg Laurie

Friend, You are His workmanship and He has uniquely created you with a specific purpose, will, and plan for you in mind. Through His free gift of salvation you've been set free from the bondage of sin and have been given a new life in Christ.

He did this because He loves you with a perfect and eternal love!

Pause for a moment and let these truths sink in.

This speaks volumes to me because He not only saved us but thought exactly what He created us to do according to His purpose, will, and plan! We're unique in Him and made by and for Him! We are set apart by and for Him!

With this in mind, have you considered that you can and should freely serve Him and that you've been called to do so?


We don't serve to somehow "continue to earn our salvation" rather, we serve out of love for Him and thanksgiving for all He's done for us.

Please note that serving isn't just for "The professionals" as in the paid and volunteer pastors and staff...no..serving is for ALL of us!

So, what's holding you back from serving the Lord?

Let's pray for one another that we get off of our seats and really live to be His Hands and Feet for His kingdom and glory!

Please read and study Ephesians 2:10 (ESV),James 2:14-18 (ESV), and 1 Samuel 12:24 (ESV) for encouragement from God's Word and then walk in the work He's call you to do.


Your Brother and Servant In Christ, 

Randolph Koch

Monday, October 07, 2019

There's Nowhere You Can Hide!

Read:  Psalms 139:7, Romans 8:37‭-‬39, and Luke 19:10  

You may try to convince yourself that you've done too much wrong or your past or present is far too messy for God to love you.

You may even try to run and hide from Him.

Let me tell you that no matter if you know Him already or not, there is nowhere that you can run or hide from the presence and love of God!

So, quit trying to run and hide from The Lord your God and instead run to Him!


Your Brother and Servant In Christ,

Randolph Koch

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Give All The Glory To God!

Influence, platform, followers, celebrity, popularity, and more are some of the many things people strive for in many church and individual circles today.

They are all kind of buzz terms that really don't account for much, (especially if you have the wrong focus.) in the long run in regards to truly building God's kingdom and making sure He's known.

Some who may have began with good intentions trying to point people to Christ, have ended up trying to build their little kingdoms and followings so they are well known instead of turning the focus on The One they are supposedly trying to represent.

Sadly, they convince themselves that it's the same thing... But it's not! They give into popularity and celebrity status which is a far cry from where they first began.

Then you have people like a well known rapper bringing in the numbers by the thousands for his so called "Sunday Service" which essentially is worship of the certain rapper instead of worshiping Jesus and pointing people to Him!
Whether it's "celebrity preachers" or well known music artists, down to common everyday Christians like you and I, we have to guard against seeking after fame for the sake of fame. We also have guard against allowing people to in essence worship us when Jesus is the one Who we all should be worshiping.

My friend, make sure you... Build His kingdom and not your own.
Communicate His platform. (AKA The Great Commission)
Worry about His influence as He works through you and not your own.
Worry about building His followers and not your own.
He must increase and you and I must decrease.

No matter how popular you may become, no matter how many followers you have, no matter what... Don't let people worship you. Instead, point them to Jesus in all you do because it's all about Him and not about you an I!

All glory, honor, and praise belongs to Him! 

Your Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Debunking Boaz

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.”  -Zephaniah 3:17

"Debunking Boaz"  by Guest Contributor Danee Wright of The Wright Word


If you’re familiar with the Bible then I’m guessing you’ve heard of the story of Ruth.  If not, let me give you a quick summary.  Ruth was a woman who married a man from a foreign land and tied herself to his family.  Her father-in-law, her husband and her brother-in-law all die (not simultaneously) and her mother-in-law (Naomi) decides to return to her homeland.  Naomi tells her daughters-in-law to stay with their own families.  Ruth’s sister-in-law Orpah stays.  But Ruth clings to Naomi and ends up returning to Naomi’s homeland with her.  Ruth then goes to work in a barley field as a means to provide for herself and Naomi.  There she meets Boaz who just so happens to to own the barley field Ruth is working in.  Long story short, Naomi finds out who Ruth is working for, realizes it’s a relative who can “redeem” Ruth as wife and mother and plays matchmaker between the two.  Her instructions and Ruth’s obedience pay off as Boaz marries Ruth and Ruth gives birth to Obed who was King David’s grandfather.

The book of Ruth is one of redeeming love and used as an example of how God can take tragedy and turn it into glory.  However, if misinterpreted, it can easily be romanticized and fill people, especially single women longing for marriage, with false hope.   For a woman longing for marriage, especially one has endured much rejection and/or abuse, the story of Boaz redeeming Ruth can fill her with the idea that God will use a man to redeem her circumstances also.  I want to be clear-Boaz was a kinsman redeemer but he did not redeem Ruth.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Your Children and Their Choices Don't Define You.

A Little Disclaimer: I've had a draft of this article/encouragement sitting in my queue to finish 
for months and I thought now is a good time to finally finish it with the season I'm currently in. :-)

As my wife and I move into the next phase of life with all of our 5 children being young adults now, I've been reflecting on all the child raising years. 

I've noted my own strengths, weaknesses, successes, and mistakes and yet despite all my short comings and even the good things I've done, I see that my adult children are making good decisions. They are owning their faith and relationship with The Lord and working toward their adult goals. I have no doubt that they will do well with God has their guide and I will continue to pray for them and be a line of counsel as they make their way. 

My aim in this article is to briefly touch on several parent related topics with hopes that you may find encouragement no matter the season you're in and no matter the actions your children choose. May you have a glimpse of God's grace and a renewed hope in The Lord as you continue your journey. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Is God's Love 'Reckless'? (Having a high and right view of God and His Word.)

Is God's Love 'Reckless'?
(Having a high and right view of God and His Word.)

As a followers of Christ, worshiping The Lord through how we live our lives as well as through song is an important aspect of our relationship with Him. He is worthy of our praise!


In everything we do it's vital that we have a right Biblically accurate view of God. It's important that we think and communicate about Him in an honoring way in all we do. 


In other words, we need to have a high and right view of God and His Word. 


Friday, August 23, 2019

Live Life On Purpose!

 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds"
Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)
Friend,

I wanted to simply take a moment and remind you that you should never underestimate the impact you have in and on the lives of others whether in "big" or "small" ways. You never know how God will use you in someone's life! God does want to use you! 


Wouldn't it be incredible if someone looked at you and said, "Because of your impact on my life, because of God working in and through you, I didn't give up!"...and "Because of your influence in my life, I now want to life on purpose for His Kingdom and Glory too!"!? 

You probably already are helping or have helped people not give up but you don't know it because they haven't told you yet! 

Keep pressing forward! You can inspire others! You can, do, and are making a difference in this world! 

Let's help each other not give up! Let's help each other live life on purpose for His Kingdom and Glory!

Let's be an inspiration to those around us as we just may be the one on a given day that helps them...not give up and helps them live life on purpose!  It only take a spark, and you might just be the spark God wants to use to impact others. 

THANK YOU...to those who have helped me...Not Give Up! 
THANK YOU...to those who have helped me live life on purpose! 

God wants us to live life on purpose/with purpose for Him...so do it day-by-day!

You're Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

In Celebration of Our 25th Wedding Anniversary!

Dear Friends of A Shepherd's Heart,

I wanted to share that today, August 20, 2019 is a very special day as it's my wife Angela and my 25th wedding anniversary! (08/20/1994)

Happy Anniversary Angela!!

Friends, I'm reminded that love is gift from God. His love especially is a gift but also the love He blesses two imperfect people with to share within the covenant of marriage.

I've heard it said that, "Love does not consist of merely gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction."  - Unknown

25 years ago today my wife Angela and I began a journey of looking forward together in the same direction in life including the same direction in pursuing and serving God and serving others.

We've experienced many good times and times of trials and it's amazing to look back and see all that we've been through, all that God has brought us through!

All of these things have made us stronger and we've been blessed many times over together as well as through the 5 children God has blessed us with!

I married a strong, godly, independent, intelligent lady who is beautiful inside and out.

She continues to blossom even more into who God has created and called her to be the 27 years I've been blessed to know her! (We dated for a year, were engaged for a year, and have been married for 25 years)

In 25 years of marriage she has helped me be a better man, husband, dad, friend, communicator, writer, follower of Christ, and servant.

In reflecting on our years of marriage, I'm drawn back to the truths of God's Word. In 1 Corinthians 13 where God instructs us that love is patient, kind, and doesn't seek its own. He also says that love bears, believes, and hope all things...and that love never fails or ends. He enables us to be able to love this way by His strength and the work of The Holy Spirit.

Love isn't always easy but it's a daily choice. Love is a commitment, it's sacrificial, and it's active. You also don't stop loving when you have a bad day, rather, you stay resolute in love and in the covent you made between each other and God.

Without God working in our lives we would not be celebrating our 25th Anniversary as He's the One Who joined us together and He has continued to sustain us all these years.

I trust that He will no doubt continue to sustain and enable us to love and care for one another.

I'm thankful that God gives us the capacity, strength, and will to love.

I'm thankful for the gift of marriage.

I look forward to continuing to look and head the same direction together in the adventure and journey that still lies ahead.

Here's to many more years to come!

Friends, Thank you for your prayer covering as Angela and I continue to head the same direction together in Jesus name.

Sincerely In Christ,

Randolph Koch





















A Recent Christmas Time. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Got Hope?

Read Psalm 42:11, Romans 15:13, Romans 5:3-5, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Peter 3:15

Truth be told, I may be kind of a nerd at times as I enjoy SciFi movies and books from time to time. I also nerd out on new technology and many other things like random facts and more. 

When I was a young kid I recall seeing the original "Star Wars" movie when it first came out in the local movie theater. 

Ok, I may have just dated myself a bit as that was a LONG time ago in sort of a galaxy far far away...but back to my point in sharing this. :-)

There's a scene that has stuck with me over the years and it's the scene where Princess Leia pleads for help from Obe Wan Kenobi and she finishes with the line, "You're our only hope." 

Hope in general and hope of help or deliverance is such a powerful thing. 
Let me ask you, in what or in whom do you put your hope in? 

As followers of Christ since we've experienced salvation in Him, and as we study God's Word, and walk with Jesus daily, we know true hope. In Christ, we know our hope is in Him.

Hope in Jesus will never disappoint. 

No fictitious character, no person, no thing can be our true hope as Jesus is The Only Hope for our lost and broken world. He is our only hope, period. 

If you don't put your hope in Him, you don't have or know true hope. 

Let me encourage you to put your hope in Him friend and no one or nothing else.

In Christ Alone,
Your Brother and Servant,

Randolph Koch

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

The 1 Year Launch Anniversary Of "The 9 Keys To Walking In Christ" YouVersion Devotional Plan!!

Dear Friends,

Today is a special day for me as it marks 1 year since the launch of my devotional, "9 Keys To Walking In Christ" in the YouVersion Bible App and website which launched July 9, 2018!!

I'm so thankful that God opened up this opportunity for me to serve the body of Christ through this incredible tool! 

The Devotional Plan: 
Just in case you are new to A Shepherd's Heart and or haven't completed the plan before, here's the link: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/12135-9-keys-to-walking-in-christ  

If you use the YouVersion Bible app and open the above link in your phone, it will open via the YouVersion app. If you're using a PC, you'll be able to open this via the web version. 

Please note that the YouVersion app version also includes an audio version along with written version, however, the web version does not include the audio version. 

Let's Celebrate! 
1. To help me celebrate this launch anniversary, if you haven't completed the plan already, please sign up to do the plan and then complete the plan.  

2. Once you complete the plan, send me an e-Mail via rlk@ashepherdsheart.org and I'll send you a special e-Book version of the devotional complete with audio version links via SoundCloud as a thank you! (and as this year's birthday gift to you :) on my birthday.) 

3. Please also share this plan with your family and friends including those in your home church! 

Fun Facts: 
  • Over 12,000 people have subscribed to the plan in this past year.
  • Of the 12,000 subscribers, almost 8,000 people have completed the plan! 
  • The audio version in the app was read/recorded by me and edited by my son Noah Koch

Closing thoughts and Next Steps: 
Since the launch of this plan, I've published 2 more plans (back in November 2018) which are Christmas focused and please stay tuned for more devotionals to launch in the near future! 

I'll be sure to reveal the next devotional title/topic with you as soon as possible. 

Thanks for your prayers, encouragement, and celebrating God's goodness along with me! 

Many blessings in Christ, 
Your Brother and Servant, 

Randolph Koch