Thursday, May 31, 2012

Real Life

Who (or what) pulls your strings? Gets your heart quickened? Excites you? Makes you think you can't get by without it? Sounds out the cadence you march to?

Do you mistake lust for love? Neediness for need? Loneliness for passion? Pride for assurance?

It's amazing how many people are substituting the fullness of life found in Jesus Christ for a cheap knockoff.

It is evident that the world cannot exist sufficiently without love. So much so that much of the crimes of the world are committed for love. Psychiatric wards are filled with jilted lovers, perverted lovers, lovers of forbidden things, etc. The world in its cravings for what is good, chase after what is wrong.

A true paradox. 

What do you love. 

Or who?

I've got a tombstone hand and a graveyard mindI'm just twenty-two and I don't mind dyingWho Do You Love?~Bo Diddley~

Let's get it straightened out this morning. Okay?

No one should run your life. No thing should run your life. If you feel your life is unhappy or out of control this morning it's because it is. Admit it. It is.

Now if you want to reverse it and get out of the syndrome take steps to fix it.

First of all, stop relinquishing control of your life over to others.

That's right. This is the reason for the difficulty. You have allowed others to make you dance to their song.

It's wrong. It's abusive. It's plain evil. 

Think about it. Does your happiness rest upon other people? Are you dependent upon others to feel good about yourself? Do you feel trapped but are afraid to call it what it is?

After ascertaining that and honestly looking at yourself as basically being taken advantage of and abused (this could be by a spouse, a job supervisor, a parent, a fiancee, your children, siblings, neighbor, friend, relative, the list could go on and on), know that you have a choice.

No, it's not the psychologists couch. No, it's not the pill vial, liquor bottle, or joint.

You'll just become morbidly attached to those things.

You see the problem is with you, not all of the other things. YOU have given control of your life over to your emptiness and the things that give you momentary satisfaction and comfort. Even if they kill you. 

No, your one and only choice is Jesus Christ. Sorry if that sounds too simplistic, but it is.

1 John 2:16-17 - "For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]--these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. (17) And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.

Tell me that passage doesn't nail it.

There are no quick fixes to the pains and sorrows of life. There is only Jesus Christ and His comfort and peace. Abiding in Him results in many benefits for living now, but with the knowledge of a greater reward eternally.

I guarantee that if you are going through yet another major upheaval in your life a detachment from Christ is at the root of all of it.

The devil has designed it that way.

Restore your commitment to Jesus Christ and your life will be restored as well. Allow Him to order your steps and you will find newness of love and peace and renewal of your spirit.

Keepin' it Real.

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This is not a philosophical question. I didn't ask how "would" you react, I am asking how you actually reacted.

It's a litmus test. It has a pass/fail.

Oh yeah...sorry...I guess you need to know what I am asking you reacted to.

Well...any "incident" from mildly upsetting to tragic. 

What was your first reaction to the most recent trial or disturbance in your life?

"Well pastor, I immediately was conscious of the fact that I have no real control over the situation at hand so as always, I found myself immediately turning it all over to the trust and care of God."

*Woot, woot, woot* Applause! Whistles! Bells!

"Tell them what they've won Johnny!"

That is a passing grade for sure. 

Now, I didn't say life was a pass/fail. I just said that in instances of how the average Christian trusts God with their daily living, and for purposes of reaching an understanding of how that balances out one way or the other, that there would be a pass/fail.

Trusting God to the fullest at all times is an obvious "pass".

I also do not want to trivialize failure.

There are far too many admonitions in the bible to trust God for us to even remotely think that anything less than that would result in anything but failure.

I don't like the term "failed God". In reality we fail ourselves. We bear the suffering from the results of not trusting Him fully, and not because He punishes us for it, but simply because we are not receiving the full benefit due us.

There are tons of scenarios throughout the bible where we have been encouraged to trust God but were sidetracked by other details.

Fear. Pomposity. Arrogance. Unbelief. Grief. Sin. All are things that run us off the rails of a solid trust in God to be able to deal with every facet of daily living.

"In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." (Psalm 56:4 KJV) (PASS)

"Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek The Lord!" (Isaiah 31:1 KJV) (FAIL)

1 Tim. 4:10 - "With a view to this we toil and strive, [yes and] suffer reproach, because we have [fixed our] hope on the living God, Who is the Savior (Preserver, Maintainer, Deliverer) of all men, especially of those who believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to Him). (PASS)

Is it always "I'm so glad I trusted God with this one."? No. However, in the long run it will be better to trust God than not to.

Sometimes the immediate situation does not change, nor does it appear to change for the better. It might even bring further reproach or difficulty. It may not reveal the benefit until way down the road.

We are not trusting God so that we can be more comfortable, or that we could gain riches or favor with others. Or to feather our nests. Or to be healthier. Or...

We trust God because we love Him and have found Him to be our eternal Way. We love Him because He has first loved us.

We trust Him because it is the right thing to do.

However, a funny thing happens when our hearts are right with Him. 

We find it easier to place our trust in Him. We can do no other thing.

Back to the original question. How "did" you react?

It is indeed a true litmus test because it will reveal contraindications.

People who do not proceed along the path of trust, and at the end of a long life have not trusted the Giver of Life any more than they did at the very beginning of that relationship, are people who have become a tragedy of living by their own ways and means.

Living tragedies.

Nervous. Afraid. Arrogant. Sleepless. Joyless. Worried, etc. All symptoms of trusting everything else but God. did you do? 

I hope you passed today. I hope everything you do, every decision you make, every trial that comes your way, will be placed in the hands of the One who is worthy and proven so.

It's as Keepin' it Real as it gets.

Pastor Kevin <><

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


On my property I have various types of tress and plants. Some were there when we bought the property, some we added later. I am even reminded of the bible by our Rose of Sharon's and Burning Bushes.

One tree however was a pleasant surprise. We actually have several Sycamine trees. Of course they are not called Sycamine anymore, which is why I never made the connection to the bible.

The Sycamine is what is more commonly referred to as the Black Mulberry Tree.

I suppose that is somewhat exciting.

Luke 17:6 - "And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.

Then it dawned on me. 

We recently had to have several trees removed because they threatened our home and the power, phone, and cable lines. It is an expensive problem to have. Unless one has faith that God has an answer.

In our case God did. We believed for a solution and He provided. The power company removed the trees for free. In essence those trees "obeyed" us according to our faith that God would provide.

They were a conflict. A detriment. A problem that needed to be uprooted. We saw no way out of it in the natural. God provided a way.

Just like what happens in our personal lives. I mean, what was Jesus really raling against when He said even the smallest of faith would uproot the mulberry tree and replant it in the sea?

An actual mulberry tree?

No. It would make no sense to do that. In fact, He wasn't trying to suggest that it could. 

Why? Because it would go against the natural order of things. Trees are meant to be grown on dry land, not under the sea.

However, He was meaning that when it comes to the difficulties of life, some so difficult that they actually seem to be as impossible to solve as "transplanting a tree from its natural habitat to one foreign to itself", that even the smallest belief and understanding that God could accomplish it simply because He is God would be sufficient.

Following me here?

It's not about the tree. It's about you.

Jesus is trying to establish the fact that there is no trouble, problem, irritation, or catastrophe that is too difficult for Him to handle.

Jesus is also pulling us into the reality that it's also not about us having faith in our faith.

Listen to me carefully here. It's not about what YOU can do by faith. If that was the case then we would be able to take literally that we could actually uproot a tree and replant it in the ocean just by believing that we could.

News Flash! can't.

But...God could. Although He probably won't do that any more than deciding to make the sun rise in the west and set in the east.

But He could if He wanted to.

One thing He will do, and that is respond to your even infinitesimal faith IN HIM!

Still with me?

The verse is about you having faith in what God will do, not in some ridiculous notion that we could actually confound the forces of God's nature by literally moving a mountain or uprooting a tree.

It's also about the amount of faith we have. In my opinion we shouldn't get caught up in "levels" of faith. Either we have it or not. In comparison to the faith of God it's all small faith. But it's enough.

That's where I think we are. Jesus is saying we have enough faith. 

You have enough faith! That's great news! You have enough faith! Not small faith, but enough faith to direct it toward your problems IN THE NAME OF JESUS for whatever need you have today!

It's a comfort that our God doesn't sit on His throne and determine who gets what by assessing who has the most faith or not.

He says essentially that if we are followers of Jesus Christ we have enough.

He gives us the right to use the Name of Jesus to move what needs to be moved. Just's always Him, not you, that is making it happen. a "mountain to move? A "tree" to be uprooted? Right now, if you are a believer, you can "speak" to the issue in the name of Jesus to solve it and know that it will happen.

Luke 10:17 - "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!"

Now that my friends, is...

Keepin' it Real.

Pastor Kevin <><

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Key To A Worry Free Life

I am going to give you the key to a worry free life today.

There is only what I know. What I have learned from Jesus. I can't give you any more than that.

Yes. It has worked for me. I have also seen it work in many others who heed the Word.

I am 100% confident it will work for you.

Not because I say it will. Not even because it has worked for me.

But simply because it just will when applied in faith.

In faith. In faith. In faith.

This is where it breaks down if there are some who will say it didn't work.

This is not a mantra. This is not humanistic psychology.

This is the supernatural ministry of Jesus Christ extended to you when you reach out to Him in faith.

1 Peter 5:6-7 - "Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."

Often the sixth verse is left out and just the advice to throw off your cares upon Jesus is taught.

That's a setup for failure.

You see, there are reasons for being anxiety ridden. They are associated with your behavior.

In other words, you bring it on yourself by your actions.

If you think you are more than you are that is going to bring with it some baggage that will grow heavy over time. Simply put, you must stop exalting yourself before God will exalt you.

You must stop deluding yourself. Self-delusion brings false expectations that will never be fulfilled, which brings feelings of failure and inadequacy, which breeds anxiety.

"Nothing is working out for me." Sound familiar.

You must stop lying. To yourself and to others. Abraham's lies kept breeding more lies and more anxiety and fear. The more fear, the more lies. Perpetual fear cycle.

If you think you have anxiety now, wait until people find you out. And they always will.

So, Peter explains to us the "key" to freedom from worry and anxiety.

Be humble. Cast it off onto Jesus. The reason you have to first become humble is because we think we are failing by dumping our problems, that we can't handle our own lives.

Well, the news for you today is you need to get over that, because you can't handle your own life. No one can. We all need to become humbled and ask Jesus to rescue us.

So do that. First go to Jesus and confess your inadequacy, admit you can't handle life alone, and toss the entire gigantic package of stress and anxiety upon Him. It's ok. He wants you to. Just do it.

Stop right now. Pause, and do it. Right now.

Feel His love and concern for you at this moment. If no one else in the world cares for you, know that at this moment Jesus loves you very much and wants to help you in your stressful time.

No one's watching. Don't feel foolish. Don't be afraid. He will not fail you.

There. Did you do it? You will feel lighter in your mind. Relieved.

Do you? Take a breath. Let the smile cross your lips. Lift your hands to praise Him. Thank Him. Feel giddy. Feel joyful.

It's gone. Really, really gone.

Now, don't you dare try to take it back. What you give Jesus leave with Jesus. Trust Him the rest of the way. Don't build new stress and worry. Learn to give it over before you ramp it up into a crisis.

The "casting the whole of your care" indicates continuity, that you will live in a perpetual state of release of anxiety to Jesus. This happens when you let Him order you life.

Let me know how this works out for you. If you are really trusting and believing in Him, it will be a life changing miracle. This I promise.

This IS...

...Keepin' it Real.

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, May 25, 2012

Trials, And Problems, And Cares, Oh No!

"Trials, And Problems, And Cares, Oh No!" (repeated over and over to the cadence of "Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh no!).

OH NO! Whatever will I do? How am I going to get out of this one? Why me Lord? Please help me!

Thoughts and cries of desperation.

All neatly snuggled in among the "I's" and "Me's".

This is not to say difficulties don't arise. That's not the issue. All God's chillun' got cares.

Jesus' counsel was not about getting rid of problems. It was centered on how to handle those problems.

Read this passage carefully and determine if His solution sounds anything remotely like the cries of desperation at the beginning of this devotional.

Matt. 6:25 - "Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?"

Let me shrink that up a bit for you.

"Don't worry!"


That's it as far as the admonition goes.

Just don't do it.

Here it comes...

"Oh, but don't know what I am facing! You don't know the problems I have!"

Sure I do. You have the same problems that virtually everyone else who is anxiety ridden does.

You are either worried about your body, about your mind, about your finances, about your stuff, about your relationships, or you're sick in your faith.

The last one is the worst. If you are sick in your faith than all of the other problems will be magnified.

The reason you are sick in your faith is because you are afraid, and fear displaces faith! They cannot exist together. You will either be faith-FILLED or fear-FILLED!

That said, lets get back to what Jesus says.

In essence Jesus is telling you that you are allowing circumstances and issues dictate to you how you are going to live.

It's supposed to be the other way around.

He is asking you a question today.

Aren't you, personally and physically, far more important than what you are designating life to be?

It's you. Life and living. In your present body. You are what it's about, not food and clothing and material possessions.

"Yes, but pastor...we need these things for even basic living!"

Granted. Jesus never said you didn't. Listen to me carefully, but give even more care to the Scripture.

He didn't say they weren't important, or that you don't need them.

Jesus is telling us what is MOST important, and that is YOU!

In fact, you are so important to Him that He has endeavored to be sure that you have all of those necessities of life so that you don't have to detract from what's important by worrying about them!

Look! It's right here...

"(31) Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear? (32) For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all."

What does it say? It says the non-believers in Jesus Christ have need to be concerned over these things, BUT NOT YOU!

What a great God!

SO, my question to you today is, IF you are stressed and anxiety ridden...WHY?

Don't you believe what Jesus is saying to you today?

That's really it you know. It's a matter of faith. Back to the fear factor again.

2 Tim. 1:7 - "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

Fear is not from God. If you let fear run your life you will be anxiety ridden and stressed for the rest of your life. 

Jesus fought the devil in the desert by telling him that "Man does not live by bread (or the worry of where to get it) alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God".

Friends, if you came into my office for counseling about anxiety and fear and stress, this is EXACTLY what I would refer you to.

This IS the answer for you, for your friends, for your loved ones, for everyone you know who is struggling with fear and anxiety issues.

Get to Jesus! Trust, rely, and adhere to Him. In Him are the answers to living life to the full joy intended.

Let me leave you with this promise:

"I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." (John 10:10)

Get this truth deep down into your body, soul and spirit!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Matthew 5:48 (KJV) - "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

There it is. Direct from the Word of God. The esteemed King James Version. The "Textus Receptus".

You my friend, MUST be as perfect as God. That means no wiggle room for error. Get it right and get it right the first time. Anything less than perfection will not be tolerated.

I can almost HEAR the shorts getting bunched up over this! lol!

Now that I have your attention.

Relax. Let's look at it another way.

Let's try the Amplified Version.

"(48) You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect."

That's a little better. It goes into the more proper understanding of "Perfect".

Perfect simply means "complete". It's from the Greek word "teleios".

Some won't even like that explanation, but at this point I'll have to ask you to take it up with Jesus.

We are expected to reach a level of completeness in God.


Stay with me to the very end here...

Jesus gives us a series of explanations in His sermon on the mount from Matthew, chapter five.

For instance, He says that we have heard it taught that we should love our neighbors and hate our enemies.

Uh...that's been changed. Jesus revised it. We are not complete when we believe that way.

Instead, now we are to love our enemies, and actually do good for those who actually hate us and even seek to harm us.

He goes on to say that what good is there in loving those who love us and treat us well? Anyone can do that. That's easy! 

Easy, but without reward. We are incomplete in God when we believe that way. In other words...imperfect.

Ever see the bumper sticker, "I'm not perfect, just forgiven!"? It's a lie.

If you're forgiven you are expected to no longer live imperfectly as far as obedience to God's plan is concerned. You are expected to be complete.

There is a level of godly integrity and morality you are expected to achieve by God, and if God expects it then that means it can be achieved and if we are refusing to reach it then we are being disobedient!

We can't cop out with "Ho-hum, I'm not perfect, just forgiven".

Where did we adopt this concept of one trip to the altar and then comfortably retire to your pew?

Brother and sister there is a responsibility that comes with your admission into the family of God.

God expects great things from you just as any earthly father would from his own children.

There is a "proper height" we are called to by God. Don't worry, He gives us the tools to get there in the Holy Spirit. 

It is not however, a "gimme" or automatic. (Paul says we need to renew our minds in Romans 12)

It is also neither legalistic work and toil in our own strength. It does however, take desire.

It is simply by staying close to Him in fellowship, worship, and prayer. Our completeness is in Him.

Note that it says " your heavenly Father is perfect."

It's partaking of His perfection that makes us perfect and complete in His eyes.

It's a very misunderstood verse.

I hope I've made it clearer for you in my attempt at...

...Keepin' it Real!

Pastor Kevin <><

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Things That Are Out Of Place For $1,000, Alex

Ever watch the game Jeopardy on television?

If you answer incorrectly you can "jeopardize" all that you have.

Life can mimic that sometimes.

Check out something that John says in his first epistle.

1 John 2:15-16 - "Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]--these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].

Note the buzz words here: craving, lust, gratification, greed, longing...

This is jeopardy for the believer.

John is specific. This is not to say that there are things of the world we cannot have. On the contrary. There is nothing wrong with having a nice home, car, good paying job, nice clothes, etc.

There is a difference between liking or even needing something, and loving it and lusting and craving after it.

God knows what we need and desire and willfully and graciously provides (Matt. 6).

In fact, all of the things described are "Things That Are Out Of Place" for the believer.

These are the things that will run the believer off the rails and wreck their faith.

Lust of the flesh is coveting. We know God hasn't liked that one since the beginning. It's Number 10 on the Big Ten Sin Parade.

Pride of life? That one sunk Lucifer's (Satan) high hopes. He and 1/3 of the angels of heaven. It precedes a fall. The serpent talked Adam and Eve into that one as well.

I could sit here and rattle off probably fifty different varieties of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

All of them would be out of place in the life of the disciple of Jesus Christ.

John didn't issue this warning for us to have to keep a checklist of what to do or what not to do. He was making a comparison so we could make a an informed assessment of our lives.

If we find ourselves living closer to the world than God wants for us, we should recognize that fact and make the proper adjustment.

The adjustment is not to purposely decide in our own strength and power to make changes. That doesn't work. It didn't work before we knew Jesus and it will not work now.

Thats' a hard concept for some folks to wrap their brain around.

It's never what we can do.

It's always what the power of the Holy Spirit can do in us. When we allow Him to.

It's about yielding to Him, not fixing it ourselves.

Closeness to the world means further from God. Grow closer to God, and the world and its lustful cravings shrink.

Think of Abraham and Lot. When they split up and went their separate ways, Lot chose to pitch his tent in Sodom. Abraham chose the fertile lands of the Jordan area. We see the tragic results of craving what the world offers in the choices Lot made.

When you pitch your tent too close to lustful sinfulness God will be offended.

When things are out of place that means things are in disorder and disarray.

A life in disarray is not a sign of a life consecrated to Christ.

It might come as a rude awakening today...but...'s essentially...

...Keepin' it Real.

Pastor Kevin <><