Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Extreme Makeover, God Edition

The Word:

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:17
Additional Reading: Romans 6:4, 2 Corinthians 6:18, Galatians 3:26, Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 15:40-44, 1 Corinthians 3:16, John 14:2-3

“Extreme Makeover, God Edition” by Randolph Koch

As you’ve flipped through the channels on your TV, (yes, we all know you do sometimes) you may have come across two programs that promise “extreme” change for the recipient. I confess I enjoy one of them because it does some really great things for people, the other, I’m not so thrilled about because it tends to make you accept yourself less when God already accepts you and created you just the way you are.

The first show promises an extreme makeover, which includes a very regimented eating and exercise program to maximize weight loss which is good for the health of the individual. On top of this, there’s major plastic surgery. The goal there is to change the physical features and look of the recipient. Most of the changes are vain yet some, like repairing a cleft pallet or orthodontic need are really beneficial things for the recipient. Then to finish the physical make over there’s a wardrobe, hair, etc., makeover to “polish off” the transformation. Then the grand finally is the “big reveal” in front of family, friends and other loved ones.

The Second show promises an Extreme Home Makeover which includes building a new home for the recipients, typically in tough circumstances, in 7 days while they send the family off for a week’s vacation. The homes are usually amazing and filled with everything new from furniture, appliances, sometimes even cars or specific healthcare items related to the specific health condition of the people in the home. They literally work around the clock for seven days, which leads up to the “big reveal” where they bring the family back into town to see their new house. The reaction to the blessing of their new homes, etc. is priceless and their lives are changed because of the generosity of those who built the home.

One show offers a “new and supposedly improved body” while the other offers a new house.

In addition, with both programs, anyone can submit an application video describing their situation and asking the show to come renovate their homes or their physical appearance.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad to want some of these things but the thought occurred to me that quite possibly if people would focus on what God says about self worth or their identity in Christ and their ultimate home in heaven, maybe these physical needs would not be as important as our society says they are?

As I turned to God’s Word the thought occurred to me that what people strive for physically via these shows or on their own, is something God has already done for us spiritually!

Take a look:

-He’s made you a New Creation: 2 Corinthians 5:17
-He’s given you a New Life: Romans 6:4
-He’s made you a part of His family: 2 Corinthians 6:18 and Galatians 3:26
-He’s given you a way to have a new or renewed Mind: Romans 12:2
-He’ll give you a New Heavenly Body: 1 Corinthians 15:40-44
-He’s made your body a Temple of God: 1 Corinthians 3:16
-He’s gone to prepare a New Home/Mansion in Heaven for you. John 14:2-3

There’s much more the scripture says He’s done for you and I’d encourage you to take a look and see what God has done and what He’s promised He’ll do. At the end of the day, what is most needful is a renovation of the Heart - an “extreme makeover” of the heart and life of every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth. Hearts and lives changed from darkness to His light.

Also, maybe as you read this you’re struggling with something that you’re trying to overcome about yourself or your circumstances? Let me encourage you that there is absolutely nothing that God cannot change or help you over come in your life or your circumstances!

To top all of this off, He “Extremely” Loves you, a love that’s for an eternity! If you want an Extreme Spiritual Makeover, then let me tell you, turn to God and He’ll show and give you an Extreme Makeover, God Edition!


Questions to Get Started With:
-Are you looking for a change in your life? Have you talked to God aboutit or are you relying on yourself?
-There’s no doubt that there are some things everyone needs to change, like a bad habit or something of that nature but do you find that you’reoverly critical of yourself?
-Do you accept yourself for who you are in Christ?
-On the flip side, do you accept others for who they are in Christ?
-After reading the selected scriptures, are you encouraged regarding howmuch He’s already done for you - on top of salvation?
-After reading the selected scriptures, which of the Biblical truthsencouraged you the most?
-Did you learn anything new about what He’s done for you?
-Do you realize how much God loves you?

Responding to God:

In response to the truths the scriptures teach you: take time, as soon as possible, to worship God and praise Him in your prayers and through lifting up a song to Him. He deserves your all so take time to worship Him!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Little Laughter Goes a long way….

Someone said once that, “laughter is good medicine” and I tend to agree. We need laughter as it does minister to us in a way, especially on a particularly stressful day. It breaks the tension in a tense situations, it helps us “lighten up”, (Which I need to do more often, I’m told) :-) and it does much more.

If you could use a laugh or two, visit the following link and play the video “Baby Got Book” by White Boy DJ.

http://www.whiteboydj.com/babygotbook.html

Be forewarned, If you use dial-up this may take a while to load.

I laughed when I saw this via a weekly newsletter I receive from a blog.(
http://www.mmiblog.com ) This has to be one of the silliest things I’ve seen! Take it for what it is, Humor. This is the only reason I'm posting this. :-)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Lesson In Stewardship

We give back to the Lord because He first gave Jesus Christ for us for the Purchase of our Sin so we can have salvation. It’s an honor to give and we should give thankfully and sacrificially and although stewardship is an often-avoided topic we should realize that it’s an important one to study and evaluate in our own lives.

I’m not going to go into much detail regarding Biblical stewardships because we may share more later and honestly there are a lot of great books, devotions, sermons and Biblical passages that you can study if you desire.

My purpose in writing today is that I simply wanted to share something my family and I did for the first time this year from our (my wife and I) desire to help our entire family get involved in something more special and different with funds we designated as an offering from our refund.

Let me be clear, giving should be in secret between the giver and the Lord so I won’t go into detail about the amount but I believe it’s appropriate to share, in general, our experience so it may encourage others to give to God for His Kingdom work and for His glory. Hopefully our experience will help your “creative thinking” on stewardship begin to flow, as there are so many good and honorable ways to specifically give from your finances.

Each tax season if we’re blessed with a refund we designate funds that the Lord puts on our heart in order to give as an offering to our church and other ministries as He directs for His Kingdom work. This year we decided to allot a portion of this to do something different.

We took the portion we allotted for an offering and downloaded a giving catalog form Samaritan’s Purse which included practical things like, providing clean water for families through clean water projects, help towards building a hospital, help build housing, help purchase goats and dairy animals and much much more. We involved the kids by asking them to review the catalog and choose what they would like to give towards. They each chose items where they most wanted to help minister through the offering and then we married this up with the funds we designated.

Once this was finalized we went online to the web site and initiated the giving. We also filled in information so that the ministry would send a card to our kids specifying what was given in God’s and their honor. It didn’t mention amounts but it did list the 7 ways or areas the offering was designated by them and serves as a reminder of the giving they were a specifically a part of. It was great to see them choose things that were so practical and useful to those who are in need!

It was a wonderful experience and prayerfully it made a lasting impact on our family that will stick with us each year and in each new opportunity to give to God.

We also gave to a few other ministries that we felt led to give including missionaries, and other ministries that have blessed us and we’ve seen God working through but this giving experience was the best, the most memorable of them all.

Samaritan’s Purse is just one example of the many organizations that provide giving opportunities like this that you can look into to find ideas where you can put your dollars to work for His Kingdom and Glory.

There are many ministries large and small that really could use your help to make a greater impact for eternity. There are also many people right in your own community that could use a helping hand through your resources, time, and talents.

I’ve shared one example from my families experience and now what about you? Do you make giving a priority either through regular tithing or special offering? Have you had experiences where God led you to give specifically to something or someone? What about in the areas outside of finances, your time and talents? Have you taken inventory of your giving habits? I’d love to hear your experiences so feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail. I’m sure others would love to hear as well. Please be sure to keep any specific amounts between you and the Lord but please share what God brings to mind.

What ever you do, please pray and ask God to help you be a cheerful, regular, and sacrificial giver. Then let me also encourage and challenge you to seek to give of your time, talents, and finances.


God Bless You!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Touching Jesus' Garment

Take a a few moments to read Mark 5:25-34

If you don't have a Bible Handy, You can read it online by clicking on the following link:

Mark 5:25-34

Do you need a touch of encouragement today?

Do you need reassurance that you do matter and that He has a purpose for you?

Do you need some healing of emotional or physical wounds or sickness?

Reach out to Jesus and know that He’s there and more than able to help you.

It's an amazing reminder through the example of the woman that touched Jesus’ garment.

It is amazing to know He noticed her out of all that was going on around Him and people pressing for His time - He noticed her.

This in itself should be an encouragement to know as well that with all that is going on in the world, in your life, He also notices you!

May you cling to Him every day.

May you in turn be Jesus to those who He places around you.

May you be a grace giver.

May you be a source of encouragement and genuine care and strength to the hurting, the sick, the directionless….

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Painter Of Our Lives

Wanted to post/share a devotion that came to mind that was published 5 years ago through my ministry. God always knows what is happening in this world and in our lives and I hope that you’ll be encouraged by this simple reminder via a simple devotion. Your Brother, R.Koch

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Devotional Starters- Hebrews 12:1-3/"The Painter Of Our Lives."

The Word:
Read:
Hebrews 12:1-3
Additional Reading: Romans 1:20

“The Painter of Our Lives.” By Randolph Koch

One autumn during early evening I was heading home from work. I stopped at a light and as I waited for the light to turn green I gazed up in to the sky. I remember seeing, as if for the first time, one of the most beautiful dusk skies I had ever seen. The sky was almost clear with only a few lines or rows of white clouds blanketing a section of the horizon ahead of me. The clouds were highlighted with yellow, pink, and orange hues with a sunset to match. It was almost as if a divine brush stroke had gone across the sky painting with colors that no human could duplicate. There was so much detail there that I’d usually most likely overlooked. I remember being awe struck at the work of our creator evident in the early evening sky.
This display made me think of how much detail God places in all of His handiwork. He is the painter of our lives. He knows each hair on our heads and each situation we may face. Every ounce of our very existence was created and formed by His hand and plan. This truth has amazing implications and cries out that He has a special purpose for each of us! Every stroke of the Masters brush has a distinct purpose and reveals a reflection of His love for everyone. Just in life itself and creation a cry and argument for a real, loving, living, and active Creator exists. Take a look at a Thomas Kinkade picture and you’ll see the reflection of God’s infinite love and divine handiwork. Don’t ever doubt that God has created you in His image and with a real and distinctive plan for each of our lives. As He “Paints” our lives look to Him to complete the final picture in every aspect. Spend time pondering the beauty of His Holiness even through the beauty of His everyday creation and praise Him for all that He is. He controls our present and future. Seek to please Him in all you do. Be sensitive enough to hear and see Him as He leads you. Look for the reminders of Himself He gives us everyday. Worship Him daily for He is the painter of our lives.

Questions To Get Started With:

-As the portrait of your life unfolds, what do you think He sees?
-Would He see a reflection of Himself?
-What do you want Him to see?
-What wouldn’t you want Him to see?
-What is God’s purpose for your life?
-Do you acknowledge Him and praise Him for the everyday reminders He gives us? (Things we many times forget.)