Friday, October 19, 2018

God's Protection Over You.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,


In the book of Job, God states this about Job: “that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.”(Job 1:8)

Then the evil one responds with, “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?” (John 1:10)

Even the evil one knows that God is Job’s and our protection and no matter how satan might roam around looking to try and devour us (See 1 Peter 5:8), we are under God’s protection!

Just like the barrier of thorn bushes people used especially in ancient times to protect themselves and their livestock from predators, God is our “hedge of protection / hedge of thorns" against the schemes of the enemy.

Furthermore, God has also given us the protection of His full armor that we need to put on and wear daily. (See Ephesians 6:10-20)

Be encouraged today that God is your protector!

My prayer for you in Jesus mighty name, is that His Hedge of Protection and His Full Armor will be upon and around you and your household as you live for and serve Him all the days of your life as He alone is your protector, refuge, deliverer, and provider!

Read Psalm 91 for further encouragement of God’s protection of you.


Your Brother and Servant In Christ,

Randolph Koch

P.S. I could really use your ongoing help through prayer and other support. Please visit https://www.ashepherdsheart.org/p/help-a.html to find out how you can help me in moving A Shepherd's Heart forward. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Fruit of The Spirit - Gentleness


Gentleness is a fruit of The Spirit that this world desperately needs. 

With the actions we continually see, it’s clear that we as human beings need to grow in gentleness. Gentleness isn’t just about physical actions but it’s equally in what and how communicate. 

We see the lack of gentleness each time someone takes to their phone or computer keyboard to have a "discussion" which turns into a destructive mess because they say and such a way that it's clear the aim is to shred their "opponents" if possible. They obviously don't care about the receiver of that "shredding" as they just want to force their viewpoint...which isn't gentle. I also observe that many times these same people who hide behind their keyboards never act that way in person and rarely say and act that way when confronted with a real person face-to-face. 

We see a lack of gentleness in how we respond to one another in many other ways as well so we know gentleness is a fruit that many more of us need The Holy Spirit's help to bear!

As follower's of Christ, we need to remember that there's a direct correlation to the fruit we bear and our conduct as our conduct is the evidence of the fruit we bear.

Our Father in Heaven wants us to be like more like Him through being more Christ like! We are called to be more Christ like and the Holy Spirit is at work in us to be more like Him and part of this is through the fruit of the Spirit.

We're challenges in Ephesians 4:14-16 that we're to do our part in the body of Christ and operating in gentleness is a part of it. 

Each of us walking in the Spirit helps things operate properly and contributes to our growth and the growth of others. (Verses 15-16) There's also a principle in this passage that as we grow in our walks with The Lord, we will no longer fall pray to false doctrine, people or their schemes. (Verse 14)

There’s a spiritual and practical maturity that this passage describes here that He wants you and I to possess. 

The Fruit of the Spirit is a mechanism by which He accomplishes these things in our lives.

Definition of Gentleness:

The Greek Word 'praut├ęs' is translated in Galatians 5 as mildness, gentleness, gentle strength.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology – Gentleness: Sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior founded on strength and prompted by love.

What is the opposite of Gentleness? 

From my perspective, things such as anger, wrath, revenge, pride, arrogance, roughness, rudeness, violence, harshness and much more are the opposites of gentleness. 

Reflections on Gentleness:

As I reflection on Gentleness, here are some of the things that come to my mind:
  • Gentleness is an attitude of the mind and heart.
  • Gentleness puts God & Others First.
  • Gentleness allows us to be more caring toward others.
  • Gentleness is shown through our response toward others.
  • Gentleness is also shown through being humble – humility.
  • Gentleness and humility are closely connected in God’s Word.
Gentleness in some translations of the Bible is translated as meekness but with either translation it doesn’t translate to and does not equate to weakness; rather, it’s showing great strength through showing restraint and as you read the Gospels – you see Jesus show great restraint at times and great power at times.

Examples of Gentleness:

Read: Matthew 11:29, Isaiah 40:11, John 13:4:17

The Gentleness of the Father and Son:
In Matthew 11:29 Jesus makes a connection for us between Gentleness and Humility and He’s an example of this throughout His earthly ministry.

He possessed power beyond measure yet He said learn from Him as He’s Gentle. So, look to Him as your example in all things. Immeasurable strength and power and yet displays gentleness toward us.

In Isaiah 40:11 we see that the all powerful one loves and leads us as a shepherd leads His flock. This was especially relevant to the people of that time period. In other passages Jesus refers to Himself as The Good Shepherd. (John 10:11-18)

In John 13:4-17 Jesus washes the disciples’ feet in an act of gentleness and humility. 
In this act we see the gentleness and others focused nature that Christ modeled for us. He humbly washed the feet of the disciples. He was is the King and yet He served others.
He knew at that time that Judas had betrayed Him and yet, He washed His feet.

We also see it in John 4 when He spoke to the Woman at the well. Or John 8:1-11 when He spoke to the woman caught in adultery.

To clarify, I don’t want to you think that I’m painting Jesus like some do as a pacific or wimpy, rather, He was far from that. There were times when Jesus was very assertive because He needed to speak directly to people and did so in a very blunt way and He has power and authority to do so but this doesn’t negate His amazing example of Gentleness for us. 
Your calling to Gentleness

You need to understand that there’s a connection between your words and actions with Gentleness.

IF we’re honest, we’re not always the most patient or gentle people. We sometimes are short or impatient with our responses. We’re sometimes angry and spiteful. We’re sometimes impolite. Its something that we all need to get better in!

Read: Proverbs 15:1, Philippians 4:5, Ephesians 4:1-2, 2 Timothy 2:24-25, Isaiah 55:9, Matthew 18:15-20, and John 3:30.
Proverbs 15:1 
You need to understand that your words and our actions are influential. You can impact others negatively or positively. Your words can speak life or death to the hearer. You can help or hurt by what you do and say.
Philippians 4:5 
You need to be as even keeled as possible and seek to be at peace with others.
In your career and life overall, this is important!

Ephesians 4:1-2 
A worthy walk is the goal or should be because we point people directly back to the One Who saved us. How we conduct ourselves, such as Paul described matters, why because the people around you matter! Gentleness is a part of that walk.

2 Timothy 2:24-25 
Have you ever had a quarrel or disagreement with your family, friend or co-worker?
Or, Do you find that you tend to instigate quarrels because you have to be right or assume the worst? Or do you find yourself impatient with your parents when they give you instruction, correction or an assignment for a given topic? Or do you find your tenancy is to assume the worst with your parents or siblings?

You need to ask yourself regularly…
  • Do I seek to teach others and am I teachable?
  • Is my life a reflection of a worthy calling?
  • Do I conduct myself with humility and gentleness? 
Isaiah 55:9
Gentleness recognizes that His ways are higher than your ways. Instead of the arrogance like we often see that “I got it all together” attitude, there’s a recognition that God is in control. You don’t have to have all of the answers. But He Does!..And no...none of us have it all together! 

Matthew 18:15-20
When we correct others: Do it in Gentleness like we see in Matthew 18 as it’s God’s prescription for addressing and correcting sin with hopes that person will repent and be restored. It’s meant to be a gentle and loving process not a harsh and unloving one.

It has peoples best in mind. 
John 3:30
Gentleness must also recognize that Jesus must increase and we must decrease.

Life is not about arrogance or ego…it’s all about Him. 

How to Grow in Gentleness:

Ask the Holy Spirit for help in growing in Gentleness. Prayer is vital! 

Abide in God's Word. As you fill up your heart, mind, and soul with God's Word, you will grow to know Him more and in turn, you'll be able to live out the wisdom and knowledge of His Word in very practical ways day-by-day!

You also have to choose and and strive to be gentle as much as possible. 

If you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you, you will over time become filled with Gentleness and the other fruit of the Spirit.

Exhortation to grow in Gentleness:

When you think of Gentleness, you can think of Jesus, the Creator of the Heavens and the earth, who showed great strength, humility and restraint when He washed the feet of the disciples and took the cross for you and. 

He epitomized gentleness.

As you live the life God has blessed you with, always remember how you can and do impact others whether in a good or negative way.

For example, the next time someone says something harsh to you or that you don’t like, consider answering gently…or consider if you need to answer at all.

Consider the attitudes, words and actions of the past, and then…Consider what you might need to adjust in your life so you can represent Christ and relate to others better as you seek to operation in the Fruit of The Spirit.

  
Lastly, let's pray for one another that God will help us continue to grow in The Fruit of The Spirit of Gentleness and that we'll strive to be gentle in what we do for His Kingdom and Glory. 


Your Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch

P.S. I could really use your ongoing help through prayer and other support. Please visit https://www.ashepherdsheart.org/p/help-a.html to find out how you can help me in moving A Shepherd's Heart forward. 

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Wisdom For Anxiety and Depression from God's Word.

Anxiety and depression are definitely a battle that can wage war for our minds and hearts. It can be crippling sometimes and we need to remember that it's not a battle we can face alone. 

We need God, His Word, His Holy Spirit, and His people to overcome any anxiety, depression or anything. 

When He says cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you, (See 1 Peter 5:7) He means it. 


When He says come to Him all who are weary and heavy laden, and He will give you rest, (See Matthew 11:28-30) He means it. 

But the question remains...do we actually do these things are do we try to carry these burdens alone?

I heard a good and eye opening thought recently from Pastor Louie Giglio about things such as anxiety and depression which has made me evaluate my own battle with depression.

In his "Goliath Must Fall" series and book he shares this insight: 
“Anxiety isn't a thing. It's the symptom of a thing and so we have to go a little deeper and ask a question, ‘What is making me anxious?’” and he explains that in his own life, “I gave too much credit just to anxiety. What was happening was something or someone was making me anxious and so I try to help and encourage people to go one step further, to go beneath the surface to ask, ‘What is it that I'm afraid of? Who is it that I'm afraid of? What was said that I wish I could now change the way it was said?’ I was trying to manage every outcome and I was trying to watch over my shoulder all the time.”
I find what Pastor Giglio says to be true and no matter what you and I face, we need The Lord's help to evaluate what is the root cause of our anxiety, depression or anything else.

Speaking from my own experience and witnessing the experience of others, while our anxiety or depression may want drive us to run from God and His Word, as follower's of Christ we need to learn to train ourselves to run to God and His Word as He is The ultimate, help, strength, healer and more that we need to over come these times. 
We all need to speak the truth of His Word ourselves no matter how loud the opposing voices scream otherwise. 

Are you anxious? Speak the truth of God's Word to yourself.


Is a believing friend anxious? Speak the encouragement and truth of God's Word to them.

May we speak a good word or The Good Word of encouragement from God's Word over our own lives or the lives of others who are facing times of anxiety and depression as He and His Word will bring joy and gladness back to us in place of anxieties and depression we face. (See Proverbs 12:25)


God is The Great Physician and His Word brings light to the all the dark places, even in our times of anxiety and depression!

So, pray, seek God's Word, and then speak a good Word, His Good Word to yourself and others! 

Your Brother and Servant in Christ,


Randolph Koch

P.S. While I'm seeking to encourage you from God's Word about this topic, if you are facing times of anxiety and depression, I want to encourage you that besides God's Word and prayer, that you should also consider seeking counseling for this, especially if it persists. There's wisdom in seeking counseling and there's nothing you should feel ashamed of in seeking help from others. So, get help through your local church, Christian Counselors, Biblical Counselors or other types of counseling as you're not meant to battle this alone!