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

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Happy Independence Day - USA!

Happy Independence Day - USA! 
Dear Friend,

Don't ever take your freedom for granted! Freedom came at a great price! 

If you are in Christ, don't ever take your freedom in Christ for granted either!


Your freedom came at a great price as Jesus sacrificed it all so you can have salvation and freedom from the bondage and wages of sin! 

Freedom in Christ doesn't have to be renewed each day because he paid for your freedom in full, but, we definitely need to walk in the new life He's given us and again never take His sacrifice for granted! 

God has truly shed His grace upon us! Let's praise His mighty name for His love, goodness, mercy and grace!

Happy 4th of July my friends!


Your Brother and Servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch 

-Founder and Servant-Shepherd of A Shepherd's Heart

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Fresh Eyes On Humility and Confession


Read Philippians 2:1-11, Psalm 119:105, and Matthew 5:16

Do you ever arrive at a familiar passage of Scripture, one that you've read and studied many times, and God shows you an insight that you possibly missed several times before?

It's not uncommon for us to sometimes gloss over the truths He teaches us but I'm thankful for His patience toward us while we finally learn something He's likely been trying to teach us for a long time! 

It's no doubt that God's Word is a lamp to our feet and light to our path just as Psalm 119:105 says and I'm thankful God illuminates us soul, minds, and spirit so we may live more faithfully for Him, His Kingdom, His glory.

As we abide in God's Word we are sure to find rich truths through His instructions for us.

Philippians 2:1-11 is no exception because the passage if full of truths to unpack and apply to our lives. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Tent-Making Journey and You're Input and Prayers Are Appreciated!

Hello,

From time to time we'd like to share a bit more about the background, current happenings, and prayer requests of A Shepherd's Heart. 

1. Facts about A Shepherd's Heart: 
Did you know that since the very beginning, A Shepherd's Heart has been a "tent-maker" type ministry?

Similar to how the Apostle Paul worked various occupations such as "Tent-Making" to fund some of his mission work, Randolph Koch continues to work a regular job(s) to supply for his family and God's Kingdom Work through the local church and A Shepherd's Heart. 

He does not receive any income or funding from the many hours devoted each week to God's Kingdom Work and his day job income is devoted to God's Kingdom work through the local church and again, supplying for his family with very little that can be directed to A Shepherd's Heart.

This ministry is not a large and regularly funded ministry but none-the-less, he ministers from a big heart for God and His people. Many projects, resources, and services that could be provided are not because his income just covers only the before mentioned.

If you believe in this ministry, please keep A Shepherd's Heart and specifically, God's Kingdom work through this ministry in your prayers and check out 

https://www.ashepherdsheart.org/p/help-a.html for ways you might be able to come along side and help this ministry as Randolph continues to strive to serve God, the body of Christ, and his family. Thank you!

2. Teaching and Resource Ideas: 
If you have topics you want to hear or learn more about, or new resource ideas that you'd like Randolph Koch and or guest contributors to teach about or create, please send a message to info@ashepherdsheart.org with your ideas and he'll definitely take your ideas into consideration for future written, audio, or video posts or new resource creation!

3. Prayer Requests: 
We are here to serve you so please send your prayer requests to prayer@ashepherdsheart.org and rest assured we will pray for you regularly. 

Speaking of prayer requests, while we don't communicate our needs often, please continue to pray for this ministry as we're at a critical stage as we continue to seek The Lord for how He might direct our path. We're considering forming a 501 (c) 3 non profit for A Shepherd's Heart. 

Please pray for this little ministry and like the prayer of Jabez, the potential for expanded territory / opportunity. Please pray for additional ministry opportunities to open up for Randolph regarding speaking/teaching/podcasts and more as his heart is to serve

Please also pray for the completion of his next YouVersion Devotional plan that is currently in the works and that it would reach many for God's Kingdom and glory. 

Please pray for the audio and video equipment needs as well as the other basic operational resource needs to keep this little ministry running. 

Please pray for God to help direct Randolph's path to the right providing and fitting employment to supply more adequately for his family and God's Kingdom work.

Lastly, Randolph and his wife Angela's 25th wedding anniversary is coming up this year (August), please pray for them as they work toward a special vacation later this year to celebrate God's goodness! 

Thank you for upholding this ministry in you prayers and please be sure to send your prayer requests our way!

Sincerely, 

A Shepherd's Heart

Monday, June 10, 2019

Keep Jesus In The Center, Because He Is The Center.

Read: Matthew 6:33, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Romans 11:36, Colossians 1:16, John 15:5, John 15:16, Galatians 2:20, Psalm 34:3, Psalm 99:5, Psalm 145.

I recall the song, "Be the Centre" by Kathryn Sarah Scott, Michael Frye and I thought of it like a prayer asking for Jesus to be the center of everything in our lives. 

Part of the lyrics are: 
Jesus, be the centre Be my source, be my light Jesus
Jesus, be the centre Be my hope, be my song Jesus
Be the fire in my heart, Be the wind in these sails
Be the reason that I live Jesus, Jesus
Jesus, be my vision Be my path, be my guide Jesus

Everything we do as born again followers of Christ needs to be laser focused on Jesus, His Holy Spirit, and the Word of God. 

Monday, June 03, 2019

So, You Think Church Is Optional?

Read:  Hebrews 10:19-25, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2, Colossians 3:16,   Colossians 4:15,  1 Corinthians 16:19,  Romans 16:5; Acts 20:20; James 2:2, Acts 2:42,  1 Cor. 12:12–27,  Matthew 18:20. 

For those who might not know and for those who do, as followers of Christ, when we talk about "Going to Church", we're talking about the times on the weekends or any time when we gather together for instruction in The Word, Worship in Song, Prayer, Communion Fellowship and more. It's what God wants us to do. 

To be clear, we are The Church and not the building we gather in and God does want us to regularly gather together as The Church which typically happens at a specific place that we refer to as the Church Building. 

Sadly, there is a certain mindset were some state that "Church is optional" and they try to justify it from their own human based opinion and perspective. Now, when I hear people who are supposed to be follower's of Christ claim that "Church is optional", I have to question when was the last time they actually read God's Word? Passages like Hebrews 10:19-25 and others are very clear on God's instruction that we need to come together regularly as it's not really optional if you're a born again follower of Christ. 


Friends, we need to be regularly reminded that coming together via our local church meeting places is NOT optional.

Monday, May 27, 2019

It's Time For a Faith-Lift

Read: Mark 9:17-29 and 1 Peter 5:6-11

From celebrities to everyday people like you and I, dissatisfaction abounds in many areas of our lives including the area of physical appearance. 

Unfortunately, many focus on physical appearance and go to great lengths to reconfigure themselves through plastic surgery when what they really need in many cases is a faith-lift instead of a face-lift. 

The same is true about issues of anxiety, depression, and the like. Some people of faith may rely only on the medicine prescribed to them when they also need to truly consider and turn to God and His Word for faith-lift. While there is a place for medicine in some cases,  we also need a regular dosage God's Word, prayer, and the encourage of The Holy Spirit to completely heal from a given battle with these things. 

There are times when we're really down or depressed. Most of the time when we're going through things like this in our daily lives, it's our own thinking or our wrong self-image that gets us messed-up or off-track. We fail to gauge things through God's filters and standards instead of our own. Our faith in God and ourselves needs a "lift" and our attitudes, thoughts, and actions need a "tuck." In other words, they need to be tucked away permanently. We need to see ourselves as God sees us, which is through Jesus Christ His Son who loves us with an everlasting love. We also need to believe that Jesus Christ can do miraculous things in our lives.

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