Monday, September 15, 2014

Be Still...and Know!

(Sunset over Tillamook Bay (Photo By Randolph Koch 2014)


 ...“Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.
 
                             -Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Be…Still…

I’ve been thinking a lot about this passage and I’ve come to realize these are two simple but very profound words that communicate volumes!

With the activities of life and hurried fast paced lives we often live, we don’t do the “Be Still” principle very well.

Think about it, when was the last time you and I just allowed ourselves to even physically…BE STILL?

I bet if you’re ever able to get yourself to a place in your schedule where you could be still, it felt very foreign to you for a bit or you felt like you should be doing something because by all means it’s all about “our strength” or “pulling ourselves up by the boot straps”?! We we’re supposed to be self-reliant and not need anyone’s help, right? 

Well, that may be what the world around us tells us but that way of operating doesn’t hold water to what God tells us we need to do. 

Being still requires faith. Being still requires trust. Being still requires hope. 

…A Faith that… God has you covered no matter what. 

…A Trust that… He is God and He already has a plan in the works to meet you where you are according to His perfect will. 

…A Hope that… His plan will be fulfilled in His perfect timing. 

Ultimately being still is more than just being physically still as it involved our mind, soul, spirit and body. 

When we take time to be still, we allow ourselves a few moment of time to collect ourselves and realign our focus back on God who will be exalted – especially when we operate how He instructs us to because His ways are higher than our ways and life typically works out better for us (not necessarily easier) in the long run if we do things His way. 

Other translations use the words “Cease Striving” and it is the same idea that we need to stop and be still. Cease trying to work to make things happen on our own strength. Cease trying to figure everything out on our own. Cease trying to be master and commander or our lives when we can’t do it all alone. No, we need to Be Still and know that He is God and…well…we are not!

The “Knowing” is the second and more important part because, if we can first off get ourselves to regularly “Be Still”, then we can rest in the “and know” part knowing wholeheartedly that He is God…He has everything under control. We need to again, know He is God and we are not.

It’s not that we are to shirk our responsibilities and be completely idle siting somewhere singing the proverbial “Kumbaya”  or think we should “let go and let God" (because this statement tends to not take into account some of our personal responsibility but we are to cast/give all of our anxieties to Him and leave them there. See 1 Peter 5:7)  because there are real things we need to do and own but it’s the reality that we need to completely rest in, be still in... Him. At the same time, we think sometimes that we’ve got it together and in the waiting we try to force God’s hand with pushing our agenda with the absence of His blessing…and in the process we will not get anywhere.

Being still is also a time seeking Him so in this sense, that is an action we can and should take in the process as we can pray, study and seek Him with everything that is within us.

We cannot clearly hear from Him amidst the chaos that sometimes surrounds us (or that we allow to surround us)…we need to sometimes physically escape just to be still before Him.

Once you and I get into the regular habit of being still, it will become more like breathing…it will become more natural and a part of our day-to-day walk and journey. 

So…
Are you going through a hard time… Be Still…and know…

Are you facing a financial crisis… Be Still…and know…

Are you going through a health crisis…Be Still…and know…

Are you having an identity or self-worth crisis… Be Still…and know…

Are you unclear on what direction you’re to head… Be Still…and know…

No matter what you’re facing today, be still, cease striving to do it on your own and seek Him because you know He is God. He will be exalted through your life as you are a part of the nations and He will be exalted throughout the earth.  

A prayer for you and I:

Heavenly Father, Help us to be still…and know. Help us to hold every anxious thought captive. Help us to be better at building “be still” time with you so that we may hear your voice through our times with you through prayer and your Word and through the proclamation of the Word through our local church gatherings. Help us to fight back the chaos in our life that comes our way or that we allow to be a part of it. Help us to live wholeheartedly for you walking in the truth that You alone are our strength and have it all together! Let us be your ambassadors and may we help exalt and make your name great among the nations. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.  

Be blessed friends…by being still...and knowing He is God...

In His Love and for His Glory,
rlk

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy 20th Anniversary My Love!


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

20 years ago today my love and I began a journey of looking forward together in the same direction.

So far, we've seen many good times and times of trials and it's amazing to look back and see all that we've been through & 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!

It goes without saying that I married UP! :-)

I married a strong, independent, intelligent lady who is beautiful inside and out. She has a great sense of humor (for those have taken time to get to know her know this) is very feisty in her own way and she’s continued to blossom even more in the 22 years I've been blessed to know her!

In 20 years of marriage she has helped me be a better man, husband, dad and friend and I look forward to continuing to look forward together in the adventure and journey that still lies ahead.

Happy Anniversary Angela my love!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What do you value?

Here's a sobering reflection to kick your week off with...



What do you value most now? & What will you value at the end of your life?

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you seek out the answer to these questions.

Blessings,

rlk

Thursday, July 17, 2014

60 Is just a number but it’s now a goal...my goal!

This post is a bit of a departure from my other past posts but it’s an even more personal one that I am sharing here.

I believe in some shape or form we all set goals for ourselves.  I set goals all the time and now I have decided to set another goal but this one is one of the most important goals I’ve set for myself. 


For many years I’ve been working, albeit slowly and with varying successes, to get back into shape – to be where I want to be health wise.

For quite a while in my younger days I did A LOT of things. I was a three sport guy, was involved in music, was in several drama productions and much more. At one point I suffered an injury in which I separated my shoulder and snapped the ligament in two places which effectively, per the Dr.’s advice ended my athletic involvement. I still did things like backpacking, riding my bike and walking but I became overall less active and it started impact me…and many years later I am where I don’t want to be.

I’ve had some really good successes over the years in achieving my various health goals and then I’ve had setbacks too.

I also realize that some who know me must assume I eat all day long – or just eat a ton, well, although I do have the capacity to chow down with the best of them, to the contrary, one of my biggest problems is that I skip too many meals and that bad habit coupled with others has influenced where I am today health wise.

I also know that I’ve been the “punch line” to several jokes over the years, which of course, I cannot control other people’s mouths (although sometimes I’d like to physically do so) :-) , but I’d rather not be the punch line anymore. 

Some days I’ve felt shame for not being at my best but no more because God and my family love me anyway so no more shame game…I’m just going to work at being a physically better me! 

So, here it is… My goal today and going forward is to work at losing 60 pounds over the next 2 years or less if possible. 60 pounds that I believe I need to shed in order to be at my personal best. I want to do it and I know I can do it but it’s going to take hard work!

I want to continue to be physically strong but in a more shall we say, streamlined package. :-) LOL.

This goals is sort of selfish but in a good way because I want to do it for myself as I want to look and feel my best – but I also want to look better for my wife and set an example for my kids, friends, colleagues and those I serve and serve with and equally important have even more capacity to serve my Creator according to His will, purpose and plan!  :-)

I also know that even though I own and will be daily owning  this goal every step of the way as I’ll be the one to physically do the work to get there, I believe I will be even more successful with the support and prayers of my family and friends!  


So, please pray for me! Please encourage me along the way. Please send me words of motivation and inspiration. Don’t judge me for my failures and celebrate with me at the milestones along the way…an occasional hi-five would be awesome when you see some of the results/progress being made.

I also realize and believe in order to get there I need to plan and have…

Adequate and regular caloric intake.  I list this first because I know for me it means no more skipping meals and being more intentional about what I choose to fuel myself with. Some days I’ll skip lunch, breakfast and lunch, etc. but that is really bad. With this, I also need to “unlearn” many of the bad habits I picked up transitioning from one sport season to the next…bulking up for one and starving myself and rapidly losing weight for another helped me learn really bad habits.

Adequate water intake.  Don’t allow myself to be dehydrated and just make sure I’m drinking water every day that my body needs anyway.

Adequate sleep. Work on getting more sleep as I need rest to reach my goals.

Adequate exercise.  In the gym, neighborhood and in the outdoors – challenge myself to find fun and varying ways to regularly exercise.

Adequate spiritual, intellectual and emotional care.  All three of these areas are important to me reaching the goal I’ve set and maintaining once I reach the goal and from my own experience they strike a meaningful balance in my life and I know when they are not balanced…I make less progress in multiple areas of my life.

Adequate Prayer, Encouragement and Support.  Again, I will be doing the work but I believe I will be even more successful

So, 60 is just a number but it’s now my goal and I’d really appreciate your prayers and encouragement along the way!

If you’re heading toward your goals, you can count on me to do the same for you!

Thank you in advance for your prayers!

All the best,
rlk



60#s, Health, Goals, Prayer,

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Keys to Happiness

Hello!
 
Here's something to think about today:

Apart from God..."Don't put the keys to your happiness in someone else's pocket." -Unknown

A Prayer for us: 

Lord, please help us to find our happiness in who You are and who we are in you! Help us to not allow others in our lives to dictate our happiness or worth. In Jesus name I pray, Amen. 


Hope you're having a blessed day.

Blessings,
rlk

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Prayer for Casting Our Anxieties on our Father

A wise pastor friend, Pastor Frank Emrich,  shared this prayer and I wanted to share it with you as well as anxiety is real and we need to continue to cast our anxieties upon the Lord.

A Prayer for Casting Our Anxieties on Our Father
From: Scotty Smith

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Dear heavenly Father, I slept well last night, but I awoke restless and antsy. I know you tell us not to be anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6), but, honestly, I am feeling a bit anxious.

Sunrise has yet to happen, yet I’m already looking forward to moonrise. Thank you for freeing us, your beloved children, from pretending otherwise. At least I’m not anxious about surprising, embarrassing, or disappointing you. The gospel has taken care of that old bondage and slavery. I know that you love us with an everlasting, unwavering love—no matter what is going on inside of us.

What’s my restlessness about? There’s really nothing enormous looming on the horizon—no major crisis staring me down8, no boulder I’m assigned to push up a hill, like Sisyphus. It’s just one of those Fridays where I find myself looking at seventeen little backpacks of needs, issues, and hurting hearts lined up at my front door, waiting to be picked up.

So what will I do with my restless, fitful, anxious feelings? Father, I would surely despair if I didn’t really believe you care for me. That would be the one unbearable burden. But please help me know what anxiety casting actually looks like today, and over the next several busy days.

Of these things I am certain: you’re not calling me to be the fourth member of the Trinity; I’m not the whole body of Christ; you do promise sufficient grace; you will give wisdom to those who ask; and your strength is made perfect in weakness—in my weakness.

Father, show me which of the seventeen backpacks I’m to pick up first; which ones don’t really have my name on them at all; and which ones will just have to wait, as you give me grace not to give into my people-pleasing idol.

As you have promised, please send your transcendent peace to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7). Help me to live today at the pace of grace. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ trustworthy and triumphant name. -Scotty Smith

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Spiritual Barometer of your life

Hello,

Here's a great and very practical reminder via a quote from James Gleason, the pastor of Sonrise Church in Hillsboro, Oregon and then a prayer for you from my heart to you, praying over our lives:

"The barometer of your future spiritual life is all about the things you actually participate in spiritually." -James Gleason  


In order to grow spiritually you and I have to actually put out the effort to do so through doing the right things such as reading/studying our Bibles, Giving of our time, talents, finances. Communicating with God through prayer.  Engaging in the family of Christ through corporate worship, fellowship and things like small groups or serve teams. There isn't a magic bullet to growth but all these things mentioned here and more contribute greatly to our spiritual growth and we should include them in our walk and journey with the Lord. Not in a legalistic way but as a practical way just like we nourish ourselves physically, we ought to be nourishing ourselves spiritually as well!  

There are many things we can devote ourselves to but let us be found devoting ourselves to the things that are lasting and truly impact eternity such as our spiritual growth!

My Prayer for you and I:
Lord, through the help of Your Holy Spirit please help us invest our time each day in doing the right things that will help us grow in wisdom, knowledge, grace, love, maturity and most of all - bring You glory. Help us to grow in every way possible. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Blessings in Christ,

rlk


#truth #wisdom #life

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Consecration to Jesus

Hello,

Hope you had a fantastic Easter / Resurrection Sunday! 


As you continue to celebrate His resurrection, check out this Powerful spoken word! 




Have a great week ahead!
Many Blessings,
rlk

#word #wisdom #truth

Friday, March 21, 2014

Some thoughts on the passing of Fred Phelps...

When you hear the name, Fred Phelps, I'm sure you and I may cringe - we cringe because it brings to mind the hate he and his cult followers spewed toward pretty much anyone and everyone under the sun as part of the "Westboro Baptist Church".  

Now, as the news of his passing spreads - some may be rejoicing or in turn be spreading hateful or mocking words? Or some may simply not care as he's not an athlete or celebrity or someone you know? Honestly, I have mixed feelings about his passing. Why? Because as much as I couldn't stomach his vehement hate and false gospel and message, it saddens me that he was obviously such a mixed up tormented and lost soul who was not only misguiding himself and living in opposition to Jesus' teachings, Fred was also leading multiple people astray along with him...even little children. This is sad! It grieves me a lot to think of this.

The life he "lived" was very sad if you think about it. How could someone choose to live this way?...and how could someone choose to take the truth of God's Word and twist it so badly and do so much to completely smear the name of Jesus Christ...the one Fred Phelps says he followed... To say the least, his life and the legacy he lived and left behind is one I believe of dishonor. In addition...you and I know that most likely one of his family will follow in his twisted footsteps and continue the hate train all over the place including the web. I pray that somehow this stops!

Personally I think his death shouldn't be a time of rejoicing rather, it should be sobering to all of us in that someone could have the capacity to go so far down the road of hate and die that way...let's not not fall into this same trap. Also, we have to realized that it's OK if we disagree on things as long as we communicate and behave in love instead of hate and cause further strife for everyone around us.  Speak the truth in love. This world is a dark enough place by itself sometimes and we don't need to add to it with hate and false teaching and a lack of of love! Honestly I pity what he was and what lies ahead for him in the next life.

Let us be people of honor and integrity! Let's seek to be honorable in everything you do. Let's not return evil for evil. Let's not be remotely like the Westboro people. Let's live and leave a legacy that we, our family, our friends can be proud of and honors them! Most of all lets live and leave a legacy that points to God and may we ultimately please Him regarding how we live - may be seek to please and honor Him above anything and anyone else. Even if you read this and have don't have and trust in God, from my heart to yours may you #1 seek to understand Who He is and the free gift He as for you and #2 may you also seek to live a honorable life in everything you do!

God is a loving and righteous God and may we all understand that we're all accountable for the life we live...and I don't know about you but I wouldn't want to be Fred Phelps as he stands before God to account for what He did do and didn't do and how lived his life...and how he led people astray...very sobering indeed.

Speaking of accountability, we're also accountable day to day for our behavior, at work, at home and everywhere we are...let's do the right things and live honorably no matter where we are!

Instead of "hating them back"...which would be ridiculous...let's instead pray for those misguided Phelps followers that they'd see the truth and that they'd repent of the error or their ways. Let's somehow reach out to them to show them true love instead of hate. May they truly be set free from the bondage they've chosen to be under after following Fred Phelps for many years! May they find true freedom as these chains are broken by a God who truly loves them completely and wants them to experience His love and forgiveness.  

Let's not forget to pray for each other daily that we'd be living rightly and doing the right things at the right time and for the right reasons. Let's pray that we won't be making life miserable for others by our actions either.

There's more I could share as I process this and many other things of late but hopefully we all have something more to chew on in our thoughts and in evaluation of how we're presently living to consider going forward. Hopefully something I've shared from my heart here provides some take-a-ways for all of us. :-)

All the best,

rlk

P.S. Here's an article that I thought shared some good thoughts on his passing as well:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/fred-phelps-preached-hate-but-his-death-is-no-reason-to-celebrate/2014/03/20/0fd06408-b050-11e3-95e8-39bef8e9a48b_story.html

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The "Here we GROW again" times...


When things are tough - whether it's in times of trial or when I go through a time where I feel very stretched, I refer to these times as the "Here we GROW again times" instead of the "Here we GO again times"...

We all know that Life is full of these times and these are very hard times but we can either choose to look at them as something that will inevitably work something good in and through our lives - make us stronger... or we can see them as see them as "the sky is falling" and "I'm never going to make it through this time"... 


To be real, when we go through things, it's hard not to have a first reaction of the more negative spin because what we're going through is real and raw but, during these times may we pause for a moment, collect our thoughts, emotions, and maybe our sanity too (LOL) and be encouraged and realize that we will make it through each battle of life as we press forward and come out the other side stronger because of what we just went through. 

Something to think about for when the next "Here we GROW again" time comes your way.

Blessings,

rlk


#lifeexperiencereflection

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Even if you’re not a wee bit Irish, there is a lot we can learn from the life of Patrick.

There are a lot of legends/myths about Him but it’s good to separate fact from fiction and today I’m sending a few links to articles about his life which you’ll find below. Also, if you ever have an opportunity to watch an hour long docudrama about his life that was narrated by Liam Neeson, I’d highly recommend it.

Here’s a selection of articles for your edification:

Here's An Old Irish Blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Have an excellent day!

Blessings in Christ,

rlk


AND IF YOU READ THIS FAR…HERE’S A BIT O’HUMOR:
http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/WImPKUil5HIgd0Ua?cmpid=jj_fb_self

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spontaneous Baptisms @ Elevation Church?


God's Word is very clear on Pastors being doubly accountable and what their role is and qualification are so, I hope for his sake and for this congregation that this report via the following linked article turns out to be false:

http://www.wcnc.com/news/iteam/How-Elevation-Church-Pastor-Furtick-produce-spontaneous-baptism-246072001.html 

What are you thoughts on this? 

I currently serve at a church where we baptize people pretty much every weekend as we keep the baptism and the water in it warm and ready to use as people take this awesome step of obedience. We take baptisms very seriously as it's one of the two major ordinances that Jesus Himself instituted. 

There's accountability for those who do the baptizing as they need to understand if that person has repented and confessed that Jesus Christ is their savior and that they are being baptized as a step of obedience.  In a practical sense there's also accountability for the one being baptized as they need to take this step for the right reasons.

I can't imagine that we'd "fake it" by planting people to respond so others will hopefully respond. We simply let people know at the beginning and end of service that if they want to take this step of obedience that we'd be happy to help them to take this step. Baptism is an important step of obedience for the individual(s) life and walk with the Lord. 

Spontaneous baptism is possible as long as it's in response to the truth of God's Word and in response to the Spirit's leading and not simply an emotional response to that moment - don't get me wrong, unless you don't have a pulse there are true emotions going on when you are being baptized as it's a truly awesome moment / milestone in the life a follower of Christ! ...you just shouldn't take this step based only on emotions. 

Emotions are temporal but God's Word isn't and responding to Him shouldn't be relegated to only an emotional response. Don't get me wrong, there are true and multiple emotions going on once you make that decision... in this case to be baptized (and during the baptism), however, we should respond to God based on what the truth of His Word says and through the leading or the conviction of the Holy Spirit to do something in obedience that He wants us to do...basically we should respond to the truth.

Obedience is Obedience regardless of emotions or feelings...and we are to walk in obedience regardless of how we're feeling or how our emotions are up or down that specific moment.

Specifically with the topic of baptism, (as this article is about this) my fear is that if churches get people hyped up to be baptized, (not that it's not exiting) or respond to this through drumming up emotions, they could be responding for the wrong reasons. Baptism as well as Communion are sacred invitations and remembrances and not an event to just "check off the box" so to speak. So, we shouldn't take it lightly.

In sum, In my humble opinion, the decision to be baptized should be made as a genuine response out of obedience.




Blessings,

rlk