Monday, March 29, 2021

This vs That? or This and That?: Finding A Better Way To Represent Christ.

Read: 2 Timothy 2:22-26, , Proverbs 17:28, Proverbs 20:3, Ephesians 4:1-16, Colossians 4:2-6, Colossians 3:13-15, Ephesians 4:29, James 3:8-10, Matthew 15:18, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, John 15:12.

My Friend,

It's a trying season for sure whether it's due to health related issues, politics, or other issues. 

Any season like this can bring out the absolute best in people and the absolute worst...and for some time now there has been a lot of the latter for sure. 

Even without these things, we live in a time where many supposed "Keyboard Warriors" sling their opinions, (as if they are experts on every issue that comes and goes) and if you don't agree with them, you better get ready for an assault of hatred, shaming, finger pointing, character attacking, and name calling to be launched. 

Division Ensues: 
This is happening for things such as...

-Mask wearing Vs. No mask wearing.
-Shelter at home vs some shelter at home vs absolutely not. 
-All vaccines vs some vaccines vs absolutely no vaccines. 
-Gun control vs no gun control vs somewhere in between. 
-One political party vs another. 
-Universal health care vs private Healthcare 
... And the list of this vs that goes on and on...

It seems at times people have traded what should be adult maturity for adolescent behavior... all while they often hide behind their keyboards. 

Harsh Words Are Communicated: 
People type away and spout things from their high castles...things that many of us would never say to someone's face...or I hope not!?

People trash talk, name call, label, and launch evil words just because they think their opinion or viewpoint is somehow superior. 

It must make the evil one happy to see so much division horrible behavior in word and action...even within the church on these and many more issues. 

Let me ask, even if we think our opinion is better, how does it make us better to inflict others with such negative things?

What happened to being OK with respectfully disagreeing with one another without slinging hate toward one another? 

People Should Be Valued: 
It's sad because I see that supposed friendships end over things like this and you have to ask if they were remotely true friendships in the first place?

Aren't people more valuable than all of this?! 

Aren't people who were supposedly our friend(s) more important than this? Or were they only our supposed friend(s) when they didn't have a different viewpoint? 

Don't they still have value with or without your and my acceptance and despite our differences?... But instead, you or I may have thrown them away, and for what? 

Does It Have To Be This Vs. That?: 
In the current state of things and in general, why does it have to be "This vs That" instead of "This and That" about many of these issues or topics? 

Let me say here and now that it doesn't have to be this way!

The fact is that we will never be the same or completely agree on every issue and that's completely OK...or it should be. 

We need to be wise in what we engage on or as the old saying goes, "pick your battles wisely".  

There are many things that can be seen as "This and That" or we can stay neutral on. 

Kindness Please?! (We Represent Jesus!) : 
What we need is more people being good and kind toward one another...even those with whom we disagree. This doesn't mean you can't have and voice your views, and it doesn't mean you will necessarily or ever be best friends with each other, but, it does mean you should respect and value one another despite your differences. 

We need less hatred, shaming, harsh words spoken, and division. In its place we need more kindness and acceptance. We need more kind words spoken, (or how about not saying anything at times if you have nothing nice to say?), and we need more love and unity! Or if not unity, at least civility. 

We are welcome to have and respectfully express our opinions and viewpoints but, I believe that we show our strength more as we come together as unique people as we listen and lift others up instead of tear them down. 

Anyone can tear others down but it takes truly mature and special people to instead build one another up. 

To be clear, there are also times where we need to be bold and share the truth but we better have clear direction from The Lord regarding when we are to do that and we again, need to speak the truth in love. 

Even if we disagree with one another, we need to be good human beings, listen to those we don't agree with and show a little kindness and respect. Or, if we can't handle it then we should be mature enough to not engage with others in the specific conversations.

Even more important is that we as followers of Christ seek to live in a way that represents Jesus well, in an honoring way because we are His ambassadors and we're to speak the truth but in love. 

Sometime Silence Is The Best: 
I'd suggest there are times when we might choose to be silent on some non-essential issues so we don't add to further division and strife.

We Need To Do Better: 
We as followers of Christ need to do better. We need to behave better. We need to represent Jesus better in all these things. 

May we pause to consider how we're representing Him, especially in these crazy times we're living in, in Jesus name. May we ask for The Lord's helping in how we can do better and when we should speak up or remain silent. 

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Randolph Koch

Please Note: This article was geared toward general issues and behaviors I've observed many times. This also isn't speaking to condoning sinful behavior or anything like that but on general issues, non-essential issues, non-salvation issues, things that are possibly neutral in alignment to God's Word, that we find a better more biblical way to communicate.

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Friday, March 26, 2021

The 7 Sayings Of Jesus On The Cross Devotional

My Friend,

As we head towards Palm Sunday this weekend, and Passion Week next week including Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, I wanted to share my YouVersion Devotional with you titled, "The 7 Sayings Of Jesus On The Cross."
The aim of this 7-Day devotional is to help lead us in a time of meaningful contemplation as we study the seven significant sayings of Jesus on The Cross.

Today, and this weekend may be a great time to begin preparing your heart, mind, and to spend some focused time in worship by contemplating all He's done for you!
Here's the link to the plan or you can search the title or my name in the YouVersion app search option:

I pray that the scriptures and devotional content included in this devotional will truly help lead you in time of meaningful contemplations regarding all God The Father accomplished through His Son Jesus' Sacrifice for you and I so we might have salvation and life in and through Him.
May we prepare our hearts to thank Him for His ultimate sacrifice and celebrate His Resurrection, His victory over sin and death!
Your Brother and Servant In Christ,
Randolph Koch

Here's one place that lists where you can connect with A Shepherd's Heart: Please help A Shepherd's Heart if you are able. Any amount $1 on up is a big help!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Difficult Roads Lead To Beautiful Destinations.

Read Isaiah 61:1-9, Romans 5:1-5, and 2 Corinthians 5:1-7 (and more) for encouragement from God's Word.

My Friend,

This life is riddled with seasons where we feel like we're on a rough or difficult road, but...with The Lord, His Word, and His Holy Spirit guiding us around every bump in the road or other hazard, we will ultimately make it through any terrain. He will also bring the body of Christ to help support you as well.

Some days you might feel like you're driving on four flat tires or driving a standard vehicle where only a 4 X 4 of road vehicle, but...don't give up.
Unfortunately, too many want to give up before they meet the destination ahead because the road looks hard, but you and I need to remember that Christ is our strength, shield, and guide.
He's better than AAA or any road side assistance and as you seek Him for wisdom, direction, help, and hope, He will freely give it to you...and you don't have to call a phone number to get a hold of Him and you never have to give Him your credit card number either! :-)
Friend, Let me encourage you to remain steadfast as God is with you and no matter what the road ahead looks like at there is beauty up ahead as He will prevail and lead you safely through.
With The Lord, Difficult Roads Lead To Beautiful Destinations.

Trust Him!
Your Brother and Servant In Christ,

Randolph Koch
Please re-share this encouragement with others!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Life Is Like A Vapor.

My Friend,

As quickly as the spring rain evaporates from the ground once the sun shines on it, so does life itself evaporate. Life is short and we don’t know if we will see tomorrow. Why? Because mankind does not know the number of our days, only God does. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow let alone five minutes from now. Our lives, our own bodies are temporal and will not exist in current form forever.
In most cases we live in a fast paced world where our priorities can easily become out of balance and we may not have time or make time for the important things and people in our life.
In reality, we may not have time to repair the broken relationships or correct the mistakes we make although; we should make every effort to repair these things if at all possible. We may not have as much time to serve and bring more glory to God, as we’d expect, yet, we should make every effort to do so. We may not have another chance to tell our family that we love them and that they are important to us or more importantly show them we love them, which is so important! We may not have a second chance to tell a loved one, a friend, or even an acquaintance about their need for the Savior even though Jesus commissioned us to do so.
With all of these things said, we shouldn’t shrink back from the challenge, from life and say, “so what’s the point in doing anything if life is so short!?” Rather, we need to cherish the days our gracious Father gives us and live the life He gave us to the fullest – for Him!
As a believer, your life should be characterized in such a way that you build and leave behind a godly legacy where you’ve made a real difference in this world for God. Wouldn’t it be great to be marked by others who see you and proclaim, now there’s a person of integrity, they were friendly, they cared, they loved, and they lived their life well!
If you're reading this and have put off thinking about what will happen when you die, don’t put it off any longer, as you don’t know what tomorrow brings. Give your life to Christ.
For all of us, remember... Life is a vapor and from one vapor to another, let me encourage you in the remaining days you have to live, to live your life to bring glory to God and share His love with others.
Read, Study and Take to heart: James 4:13-15 and Hebrews 3:12-15

Your Brother and Servant In Christ,

Randolph Koch

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