Driving Out The Demons – Part 1 of 2

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(Matthew 17:14-21)

***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, I’ve heard people say that the Bible speaks of a one world religion & government in the future. Where is that in the Bible?

ANSWER: It is in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 13, along with some prophetic passages in Daniel, it is clear that in the final days the Anti-Christ will come on the scene and enact a one-world government, one-world economy, and a one-world religion. With the chaos currently around the world, it is not hard to see how one individual could come up with an economic system for the world. That would require a one-world government. Once those two pieces are in place, instituting a one-world religion when there is a huge spiritual void in all of the nations of the world that are being controlled economically and politically will not be hard to bring about.

DRIVING OUT THE DEMONS PART 1 OF 2

Everyone of us has certain demons in our life that we need to drive out. For many it is a battle with alcohol. For some it is drugs. Many battle with pornography or other sexual addictions. The demon in many lives is overeating (read what the bible says about gluttony). Still others battle demons of suicide, depression, greed, and bitterness.

The point is, no matter who you are, how long you have been a Christian, everyone . . . EVERYONE . . . is fighting some demon today!

I want to encourage you today. Sometimes you feel like giving up. Sometimes it is just easier to give in than to fight. Let me tell you right now, if you want victory over your demons, you can have it. To be very honest with you, many have learned how to live with their demons, coexist with them, and really aren’t ready to get rid of them just yet. They know they need to, but just haven’t been ready to get serious about getting them out of their lives once and for all.

Having said that, let me tell you, when you are ready, God is waiting to give you the power. The power of your faith in God, coupled with His limitless ability, can destroy and conquer whatever the demons in your life might be. Nothing is impossible for God. There are too many testimonies of people overcoming exactly what you are fighting today . . . normal people . . . people no smarter or special than you are.

These are just people that one day decided enough was enough, exercised that faith God gave them, and allowed God to drive them out of their life once and for all. In tomorrow’s devotional, I will conclude this with some practical real life advice on overcoming the demons in your life, no matter what they may be. For now, the big question you have to ask yourself is, “How serious am I about getting victory over the demons in my life?”

I love you, care about you, and pray for you every day. It is no accident you are reading this Devotional. God is speaking to you. NOW is the time to stand up, and let the power of God work in your life. He has so much for you to do, so many blessings for you to receive. But we need to overcome those obstacles in our life that keep us from Him. Overcome anything that is keeping us from having that close intimate daily walk with Him. Now is the time to get serious about driving out those demons in your life!

DON’T MISS PART TWO TOMORROW!

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller

(C)opryright 2012, Live Prayer Church, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Our Blessings Come from Our Obedience

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(2 kings 5:19-40)

***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, how best can a Believer best disciple a new Believer? What do you recommend that a Christian do as far as coaching a new Believer?

ANSWER: If there is one thing the church lacks it is discipleship. It is critical, since once a person accepts Jesus, unless someone shows them the way, how will they know what to do? Discipleship is about a special relationship. The key to that relationship is accountability. For a new Believer, you need to spend time with them to help them understand they need to read the Bible and pray every day. They need to get into a good Bible teaching, Bible preaching church. They need to get into a good Bible study. We grow as fast as we are able based on the time and effort we put into our new relationship with the Lord. To disciple somone, you don’t need to be a Bible scholar, there are many out there to answer the difficult questions. You DO need to be committed to this relationship and helping guide the new convert in their DAILY walk.

So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage. Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. 2 Kings 5:9-14

Our blessings come from our obedience. How often are we like Naaman. We have a problem in our life and go to God in prayer. He gives us the answer to our problem in His Word. We then have the audacity to not only complain about the answer, but the fact God didn’t just snap His fingers and fix our problem. Eventually, almost grudgingly, we follow God’s instructions and lo and behold, our problem is solved! Like I say so often, our way never works, but God’s way ALWAYS works! Rebellion leads to consequences and obedience leads to blessings!!! That is my message to you today, obedience brings blessings.

I have talked to you in the past about how to HEAR God. That is obviously very important. However, after we hear God, we then have to OBEY God! That can often be easier said than done. God speaks to us in many ways. Most times, He speaks to us through His Word, through our time in prayer, through others, and through our circumstances. As I have shard in the past, the more we practice “hearing God,” the better we become at hearing His voice. The key is, God will never contradict His Word. When God speaks to you, it will always be in line with His Word. That is the major test to knowing if it is truly God’s voice.

Again, hearing God’s voice is important, but after you hear His voice you then need to obey His voice. This is where our commitment to the Lord gets tested. Many time, we hear what God is saying to us but we don’t want to obey Him. This is usually the case when He is calling us to do something we dislike or calling us to make some sort of sacrifice. Sacrifice is really not something most people want to hear. We love to hear about blessings, but really don’t want to hear about sacrifice.

We claim to love the Lord, but the true test of that love comes when He calls us to sacrifice something for Him. Sacrifice calls us to give up something precious. That something precious can be money, it can be possessions, but in most cases it is OURSELVES! You see, the greatest sacrifice you can make to the Lord is YOURSELF! You have nothing more valuable to give to Christ than your life.

The fact is, when you accepted Jesus into your heart and life by faith, part of that process is the act of giving your life to Him. The Bible says that we have been bought with a price, that it is no longer our life any longer, but that we belong to Him. So when the Lord speaks to you and you are faced with the opportunity to obey His voice, you are really only giving Him what He already owns anyway . . . YOU!

I know that this is a very challenging word today. We are all called each day to obey God’s voice. Throughout the course of the day God will speak to us . . . and not just hearing his voice, but obeying his voice is what we are required to do as His followers. Obeying God often calls for sacrifice on our part. Whether it is sacrificing our time, talent, or treasure, ALL WE HAVE BELONGS TO HIM! So in essence, He is only asking us to give Him what already belongs to Him anyway.

I thank God for His Word that guides us through this life. One of the great challenges we have is obeying God’s voice. The fact is we have the free will to ignore God or listen to Him. I can tell you without any hesitancy that ignoring God is just stupid since we know it is only going to bring pain and heartache. The reality is God loves to bless His children and God will always bless our obedience! Let me say that one more time, GOD WILL ALWAYS BLESS OUR OBEDIENCE!

I love you and care about you so much. I am praying for you today, that as you hear the voice of God in your life, that you will not just hear His voice but obey His voice. God has a purpose and reason for what He asks us to do. Rarely do we fully comprehend that purpose or reason, but that is not our job. Our job is to simply be obedient and do what God is calling us to do, no matter what that may be. May you take time each day to not only hear God’s voice, but be faithful to obey God’s voice and enjoy His blessings.

***LIVEPRAYER EMERGENCY FINANCIAL UPDATE: THANK YOU to those who were led and able to help me with a gift during the past week as we are desperately trying to cover the final $19,000 we are still behind in our October operations. We had $9,000 in donations we know of, and I am grateful for each person who was able to help me at this critical time.

I am praying that God will speak to 2 or 3 others will be able to make up the final $10,000 that is still needed to finish taking care of our past due October shortfall. ALL OF THAT IS SERIOUSLY PAST DUE AND WAS SUPPOSED TO BE TAKEN CARE OF BEFORE THE END OF BUSINESS TODAY OR OUR ABILITY TO OPERATE WILL BE COMPROMISED! Please pray about a special year-end gift to help me at this important hour!

Of course if everyone will pray, and everyone who is able will send what you can, I am standing in faith that by the end of the week, ALL of October’s shortfall will be taken care of and we can begin to work on the $40,000 we need for our November operations. That is $50,000 we need to bring in over the next 7 days, or just 50 of our friends making a special year-end sacrifice to God’s work here of $1,000. Will you pray today about helping me with $10, $20, $100, or whatever God lays on your hear and you are able to give today? Our God is able!!!

TO GIVE A GIFT TO LIVEPRAYER, you can use your major credit card on our secure server at: http://www.liveprayer.com under the “Donation” link, you can give using your PayPal account using my email address: bkeller@liveprayer.com,or you can mail your gift to: Liveprayer, 6660 46th Ave. North, St.Petersburg, FL 33709. All gifts to Liveprayer are 100% tax deductible.

Thank you for being faithful and being OBEDIENT, since our blessings flow from our obedience!!!

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller

(C)opryright 2012, Live Prayer Church, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Thanksgiving Day

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(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, if someone is diagnosed with a terminal disease and chooses not to have surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, is that a sin?

ANSWER: No. However, it is not wisdom. God’s 1 healing instrument are doctors and medicine. It was God who gave people the wisdom to become a doctor, and God who inspired people to create medicines. In the end, God has the final word, but people should use the resources God makes available to them.

On this day we celebrate as Thanksgiving, we have so much to be thankful for. I want to point out an aspect of this great verse in Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica that is usually overlooked and almost never preached on. While we are so thankful today for all of God’s blessings, this verse requires a great amount of maturity because it says give thanks in ALL things. How quickly we run over those words without ever thinking about the true meaning. In this society where we are so focused on winning, so focused on the positive, so focused on things being in a state of perfection….God tries His best to help us be realistic about this sinful world we live in.

Aside from our own sinfulness, we live in a world that is infested with sin in every nook and cranny of our existence. Jesus, trying to prepare His disciples for the reality of living in this world without Him, trying to make them understand that despite the close intimate relationship they had, told them that in this world they would have problems and things would not always be perfect. This verse tell us that every day we should give thanks in “all” things.

Spiritual maturity comes in when you understand that this verse is actually telling you to give thanks not only for those things you look at as good, but also the bad things that happen to you as well. That is hard for us to understand why we should be thankful for those terrible things that happen to us along life’s journey, but we have no way of knowing the mind of God, we have no way of understanding completely His plan or purpose, we just can’t comprehend all of the things God does in the situations we live through. It is hard to imagine giving thanks for things like marriage problems, divorce, the death of a loved one, financial difficulties, health problems, strife with friends, problems in your local fellowship, difficulties on the job, and any other bad things we experience in life. Hard to imagine.

But when you realize that God is still on the throne, that He is still in control, then you by faith, have to thank Him and trust Him even in those bad situations. He is working on your behalf and will not let you down. As painful as the experience must be, we have to thank Him because He is often perfecting us for work in the future. We give thanks out of obedience, and out of faith that God knows what He is doing in allowing those bad things we live through in our life to occur. Remember a man named Job?

I realize that today would be a great day to just say some warm and fuzzy things to make us feel good. It is a holiday, many are with family. The Christmas season is upon us. We have so much to be thankful for. But the job God gave me was not to give you something each day to just make you feel good, but to challenge you to a closer daily walk and to help you grow spiritually. Many problems that I see each day occur because people have been given too much “feel good” talk, and not adequately prepared for the reality of this life in relationship to their life in Christ. When the storms come, they just aren’t equipped to handle the onslaught.

The one thing that I will never do is hold back, compromise the Word of God, or tell you something just to make you feel good. I will tell you the truth, God’s Truth right from the Bible, in an attempt to help you be prepared for living a victorious and productive life for Christ. In these last days, He needs bold, mature, fearless men and women to do the work necessary here on earth. It is no accident that you are getting these Devotionals, and no accident that you read them. God is speaking to you through these daily writings to sharpen you, prepare you, encourage you to be all He has called you to be.

I love you and care about you so much. I am so grateful for you. Your love and prayers have been an inspiration to me personally and to our people here at Liveprayer.com. We are pressing forward each day. Thank you again for standing with me, for praying, for giving, for helping us add people to our Daily Devotional list and letting others know about Liveprayer.com. My thoughts and prayers are with you this day. I am truly thankful for you. For those traveling, may His mercies be with you as you go to and from your destinations. For those of you going through the fire today, remember…give thanks in ALL things!!!

May you and your family enjoy a most blessed Thanksgiving!!!

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller

(C)opryright 2012, Live Prayer Church, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Dressing for Church

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(1 Timothy 2:9; Ecclesiastes 9:8)

This is one of those Devotionals I have shared in the past that upsets a few folks. It is an issue that needs to be addressed, but is so fraught with “land mines,” it will no dobut end up upsetting many people today as well. Hopefully God has given me the wisdom of Solomon in dealing with what is a very sensitive issue and helped me to address all of the different views regarding not only what we wear to church, but what a Pastor wears.

Let me ask you a question. If you are going on an interview for a great job that pays well, has wonderful benefits, what are you going to wear? Do you show up in jeans, shorts, sandals, a t-shirt, or do you take the time and effort to put on the best clothes you have? Ultimately, they are hiring you, not your clothes, so why bother dressing up? What you wear doesn’t change who you are or the skills and gifts you have to perform the job you are trying to get. You put on your best clothes so that you can make the best impression possible. You dress up so the person interviewing you knows that you care enough about the job to look your best.

Many companies and businesses have strict dress codes. You are required to dress up when you are at work due to the image that business wants to portray to those they associate with. They have set certain standards for their employees to live up to including what they wear while on the job. Dressing up to come to work doesn’t make their employees any smarter, or perform their job at a higher level, but it does show respect and commitment to their job when they take the time and effort to dress nice.

I know I am stepping into the deep end today, but this is a word that I need to bring forth. If we can get dressed up to go on a job interview, if we can dress up to go to work, if we can dress up to go visit Aunt Betty, if we can dress up to go to a nice restaurant, if we can dress up for dozens of other reasons, WHY CAN’T WE DRESS UP TO GO SEE JESUS??? What ever happened to having enough respect for the house of God to put on our best clothes when we go there? If you had a meeting with Jesus, wouldn’t you put on your best clothes to go see Him?

Like in everything that happens in a church, it is the pastor, the shepherd, who must lead. The pastor must have a vision for his church and convey that vision to the people and lead them in seeing it fulfilled. The pastor must lead his church in every other area as well, INCLUDING WHAT PEOPLE WEAR TO CHURCH! Let me be blunt. It is no wonder people go to church today in torn jeans, shorts, deck shoes, golf shirts, t-shirts, when that is what the pastor wears! It is no wonder why women show up to church on Sunday looking like they are ready to work in the garden or go to the club, young men and women wearing clothes that show their underwear, when the pastor has created this lax, laid back, casual environment based on the fact he shows up on Sunday morning like he is heading to the gym!

I know I’m in the middle of it now, so please bear with me. What I am talkng about is not some violation of God’s Word that says you have to dress up to come to church or that the pastor has to wear a suit and tie. What I am talkng about is setting a standard, having enough respect for God and His house to take the time and effort and care enough to put on your best clothes when you go to church. The pastor is God’s representative. He is not only there to lead the people, but to set the example for them. What I am talkng about today is appearance, simply honoring the Lord in what we wear when we come to serve and worship Him.

Listen, I am VERY aware that too many have used Sunday morning like it is a Milan fashion show. It sadly turned into a time to see who can out dress the other. That is just as wrong on the other end of the spectrum. I am also aware that many who come to church simply don’t have nice clothes. They should not be made to feel inferior or unwelcome just because they may not have nice clothes to wear, but that doesn’t mean the whole church has to come looking like they are homeless! Every person has a different wardrobe, but most men have a suit and tie and most women have a nice dress or other outfits they wear when they dress up. That is all I am talking about. Making the effort to dress nice and look our best out of respect for the house of God and for our Lord.

I am also well aware of the argument that it is not what you wear when you come to church, but your heart. I agree. It is more important that we are there, with a heart open to praising and worshipping our great God and being fed His Word and fellowshipping with other Believers. My point is that it still comes back to an issue of respecting God’s house and the Lord enough to dress up and look our best when we come to church on Sunday morning, and it is the pastor who sets that standard for his church by what he wears on Sunday morning and encouraging his congregation to come to church looking their best.

I love you and care about you so much. I realize that this is not the most spiritual issue there is, but it is real life, and trust me, it IS an issue. Having preached in over 500 churches of all denominations around the nation, I know it is something that many pastors and churches struggle with. Much of the controversy around how to dress for church has arisen in the past 10 years with the plethora of “seeker churches” and churches who have “contemporary” services. I know the idea is to “meet people where they are at,” and to try to not look like “church,” but I have never agreed that you have to disguise the message or lower the standards to reach the lost. Going to church should be at least as special as going out to eat at a nice restaurant.

Going to God’s house should automatically demand enough respect for those who come to wear nice clothes. It is not to show off what a great wardrobe you have, use it as an opportunity to flaunt some high-priced outfit, but to simply out of respect and honor for God, look nice. Again, it is the pastor who has to lead on this issue, and that doesn’t mean he has to show up every Sunday in a new $5,000 Boss suit with a $300 tie. He is the one God has placed in a position of spiritual authority and he needs to set the standard for his church in all things, including how they dress. He is God’s representative and should at least respect God enough to wear a coat and tie on Sunday.

I will be praying for you today. Yes, the most important thing is the message and the work of the Kingdom. However, church is a special place and a special time each week. We should make it special by what we wear. It should be special enough for us to dress up, to put on our best clothes and honor God not only with our heart and but with our appearance. I have NO DOUBT that if you knew Jesus was coming to visit you in an hour, you would immediately be in the shower, you would wash your hair, brush your teeth, put on your best cologne or perfume, and you would PUT ON YOUR BEST CLOTHES!

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller

If I can help you in any way you can contact me through my personal email at: bkeller@liveprayer.com

***ARE YOU 100% CERTAIN WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY? The fact is you will die one day. At that moment, you will either spend eternity with the Lord or be cast into everlasting darkness forever separated from God your creator. To know for certain you will be forever with Jesus, go to: http://www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.cfm

***I am excited to let you know that the Liveprayer Daily Devotional is now available via AUDIO each day. Simply go to http://www.liveprayer.com/Audio.cfm Also, you can now listen to the Daily Devotional by phone by calling, 1-727-342-5673.

***TO GIVE A GIFT TO LIVEPRAYER, you can use your major credit card on our secure server at: http://www.liveprayer.com under the DONATION link, you can give using your PayPal account using my email address: bkeller@liveprayer.com , or you can mail your gift to:

Liveprayer
6660 46th Ave. North
St. Petersburg, Fl 33709

All gifts to Liveprayer are 100% tax deductible.

(C)opryright 2012, Live Prayer Church, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Will You Tell Your Family about Jesus During the Holidays

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(John 3:16; Romans 10:10; Ephesians 2:8-9)

***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, if someone is diagnosed with a terminal disease and chooses not to have surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, is that a sin?

ANSWER: No. However, it is not wisdom. God’s 1 healing instrument are doctors and medicine. It was God who gave people the wisdom to become a doctor, and God who inspired people to create medicines. In the end, God has the final word, but people should use the resources God makes available to them.

I received an email yesterday from a woman that I get quite often. This dear woman was racked with guilt after one of her best friends died. Her friend had never expressed much interest in God or the Bible and most likely died in her sins and her soul is lost for all eternity. Faced with the likelihood her friend is in hell forever, the woman was bemoaning the fact that she had passed on numerous opportunities to witness to her, especially in the final months of her life as she battled with cancer.

She recited for me all the various excuses she had come up with for not sharing Christ with her friend. However, now that her friend was gone, probably in hell for eternity, none of those excuses for not making the effort to tell her friend how to know Christ as her Savior seemed very good any longer. I tried to console this woman, reminding her that the decision to accept or reject Christ is one each person has to make for themselves. She couldn’t make that choice for her friend.

Sadly, I get emails like this every day from people who are dealing with the guilt of not taking the time to tell a family member or friend about the Lord and His love for them. As you prepare to be with your family and friends during this Thanksgiving, I want to challenge you today to take the time, make the effort, to share the Gospel with those who don’t know Christ as their personal Savior. Remember, you can’t save anyone, that is not your job. What is your job is to tell them how they can be saved. What they choose to do is ultimately up to them, but God is calling you to be His vessel to bring them the message of everlasting life through faith in Jesus Christ.

I realize that for many people, sharing the Gospel with your family members, with your friends, can be difficult. Ultimately, you are afraid of their rejection. Remember, they are NOT rejecting you, they are rejecting the Lord. How can you claim to love a person, knowing full well if they died today they would spend eternity in hell, when you have the words of everlasting life to help them escape that eternal horror and find their rest and peace with the God who created them and loves them so much? If you really love a person, you will love them enough to tell them about Jesus!

Listen my friend, the cold hard reality of this life is that one day we will each die. The Bible tells us that tomorrow is promised to none of us. Each day is literally a gift from God. Death is final. One moment you are alive, the next moment you are dead. This life as we know it is over that quick. As soon as you take that last breath you are standing before God. In that instant the ONLY thing that matters is your relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have rejected Him and die in your sins, the Bible says that you will be cast into everlasting darkness, forever separated from God your Creator. If you know Jesus as your Savior, you will be ushered into God’s presence and dwell with Him for ever and ever.

*Each person who lives this life will die and stand before God at that moment. This includes your mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, husband, wife, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, granddaughter, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, cousin, and any other family member, as well as your friends, neighbors, those you work with, go to school with, recreate with, and encounter during your day-to-day life. I pray that you will never be able to look at a person in your life again without thinking about the fact they will die one day and have to stand before God. Will they be ready for that moment? Do you care about them enough to ask them if they are ready for that moment?

Let me give you an easy ways to share the Gospel with those you love and care about. A short but powerful presentation of the Gospel with an invitation to accept the Lord is on this video clip I created: http://www.liveprayer.com/altarcall.cfm . This is an easy ways for you to share the hope and love of Christ with your family members and friends this Thanksgiving, giving them the opportunity to make Christ their own.

I love you and care about you so much. I pray that God will richly bless the time you have with your family and friends, and that you take the opportunity to tell the how much Jesus loves them. Pray and seek the Lord for His wisdom and boldness in allowing you to make it a priority to use the next opportunity you are with your family and friends. I will be praying for you as you are faithful and obedient to share with those in your life about the Lord and that God will prepare the hearts and minds of those you share His love with to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

What they choose to do with Jesus is a decision they have to make, but telling them about Jesus is a decision YOU have to make!

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller

(C)opryright 2012, Live Prayer Church, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Don’t Fall into a Rut

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(Mark 6:30-32)

***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, if a person you thought was your friend and you found out they had been using you the whole time to get to another person, and after they achieved that goal they made it clear they didn’t need you anymore. Is it wrong to now stay away from that person and just pray for them?

ANSWER: Not at all! As a matter of fact, they NEED your prayers if they are using people like that. We are instructed to pray for those who hurt us, who abuse us in various ways. That does NOT mean, that we have to continue to have a personal relationship with that person. For someone like that, forgive them, pray for them, and move on. At some point if they come to you and ask your forgiveness and want to be friends again, it is something you should pray about and get peace over before getting involved again.

One of the reasons we tend to struggle and fight what seems like a losing effort at times, is that we get into a rut. Our routine rarely changes. We get up almost every day and either go to work or school. As creatures of habit, we go to the same stores and the same places to play; we become very comfortable in our lives. When problems come like they do in everyone’s life, we tend to handle them the same way. We become very good at “living” each day.

On a spiritual level, we become very good at avoiding to have to test our faith, put our faith on the line. We get comfortable in our church, in the areas we serve God. Most live very defensive lives. To use a football analogy, we play a prevent defense most of the time. That is what teams do late in the game when they have a big lead. They play very cautiously and try not to lose the game.

I want to challenge you today on many fronts. First in your day-to-day life. Try buying your groceries at a different supermarket this weekend. Try going to some stores that you have never shopped at before. Go play at a different park this weekend. For you who are married, take your husband or wife and go spend an afternoon doing something you have never done before. Those who are single, get one of your friends and do something this weekend you have never done before.

Next week when you go to work, take a different route to work. Don’t go to the same coffee shop in the morning. At school, get involved in some activities you normally don’t participate in. This Sunday, go to your church in the morning, and in the evening go to a different church. If you normally serve God in one area, for the next few weeks try to find a new avenue of service.

Why am I saying this? First of all, I am not trying to meddle in your life. We ALL need change from time to time. We all need to see things from a new perspective. We all need to experience new things. God has blessed us with tremendous abilities. We have an incredible capacity to do so much. Yet most of the time, we get into such a comfort zone we tap into a very small percentage of what we are capable of.

Another reason for this is that it gives you confidence in different situations. Life will always throw us curve balls along the way and hit us with things we aren’t ready for. The more we experience, the more we are exposed to, the better we are to handle life’s problems. We are more capable of looking at all the alternatives, instead of looking at only one way out and getting discouraged if it doesn’t happen. Lastly though, change stimulates our senses, energizes us, and gives us a special spark for life.

I love you, and I care about you so very much. I do pray for you each day. I realize that there is much you go through each day. Many things are happening in your life. Be encouraged today that the Lord loves you and wants the best for your life. He has given you so much, yet we often only partake of a fraction of what God has given to us. Be aware this weekend and in the coming week that you don’t have to turn your life upside down, but that you can do some things differently.

You can do new things. You can enjoy new experiences. One of the byproducts of change is meeting new people, seeing God opening different doors in your life. From time to time we need to reach out, stretch ourselves, and see what else God may be saying to us. That is often hard to hear when we are in the same old routine each and every day.

Life is made up of seasons. Each season of our life is different. Different people, different things that we occupy our time with, different interests. In the midst of our seasons though, we need to be careful not to get so regimented, in such a rut that we lose that spark for life. More importantly, we lose that spark in our daily relationship with the Lord. Make a conscious effort to change the routine in the next week and get a fresh look at your life. The Christian life is not to be one of defense, but offense.

MOST OF ALL, HAVE SOME FUN THIS WEEKEND!!!

In His love and service,

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller

(C)opryright 2012, Live Prayer Church, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Prodigal Son

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(Luke 15:11-32; Mark 8:36)

***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, I have often wondered, when Christ was dying on the cross, and said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Was He referring to the Jews as a whole?

ANSWER: Specifically He was speaking in His humanity of the Romans who literally crucified Him. However, theologically, it can be argued that it was a cry for all of mankind, since His death on the cross was only necessary because of our sins.

One of the great passages of scripture is the “Parable of the Prodigal Son.” It is such a powerful picture of those who know Christ as their Savior, have a relationship with Him, and decide one day they want to live life apart from the Lord. They no longer have a desire to follow Jesus and simply want to live their life in rebellion to God and His Word. I share with you, often, the fact that our way never works, God’s way always works. When we choose to live life our way, there is nothing but pain and heartache. When we choose to live life God’s way, there is peace and joy and the abundance that Christ promised.

TODAY, GOD IS SPEAKING TO YOU THROUGH THESE WORDS AS LOUD AND AS CLEAR AS IF HE WAS SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU. HE IS SAYING, “COME HOME!”

The parable starts out with the younger of two sons asking his father for his portion of the estate. He basically went to his dad and said let’s figure out what part of the estate is mine, and let me have my share now. The father did as his son requested and the Bible tells us, “That very soon after he got his share of the estate, the young man took off for a ‘far country.'” He had obviously been planning his rebellion, since it was immediately after he cashed out his portion of the estate that he left.

My friend, when we rebel against God, it starts in our heart. Our actions are simply the manifestation of the rebellion that started in our heart. When we sin, before we ever commit the act, it starts in our heart, moves to our head, and ultimately is manifested in the action itself. That is why we have to guard our hearts. It is critical that we keep our hearts pure before the Lord. David cried, “Create in me a clean heart.” We keep our hearts clean through our time each day with the Lord in prayer and in God’s Word.

The Bible tells us that once this young man was in the “far country,” he wasted all of his money on “riotous living.” Now we don’t have a detailed account of what this young man did, or what “riotous living” involved, but we probably have a good idea. If it was the year 2012, he would be out every night drinking, doing drugs, frequenting the strip clubs, the casinos, and having sex with many different people. He would wake up the next day and do it all over again. For anyone who has lived this type of lifestyle, you know that it is only a matter of time before your money, no matter how much you have, runs out.

That is exactly what happened to this young man. He ran out of money and about that same time the Bible tells us there came a great famine in the land he was in. I am sure you have heard the expression, “when it rains, it pours.” When you are living your life in rebellion to God, NOTHING GOES RIGHT! It is simply one problem after another, and eventually they mount up and just living from day to day becomes a nightmare. You don’t even want to get out of bed, and eventually, you don’t even have a bed! As I tell you often, SIN COSTS AND COSTS MORE THAN YOU EVER EXPECTED TO PAY!

This young man was now faced with being in a foreign land, broke, and simply trying to survive day to day. The Bible tells us that he went to work for one of the citizens of the country he was in. His job; FEEDING THE PIGS! Here was a young man, who just months earlier, was an executive in his father’s business. No doubt he worked hard, but he was in an executive position, overseeing the day-to-day operations, people working for him, making the important decisions that have to be made each day in any business. All of a sudden he is no longer an executive but the lowest of the low, literally feeding the pigs!

REBELLION TO GOD COSTS, MY FRIEND! When you choose to live your life in rebellion to God, do it your way and you will pay the price in so many different ways. One day you are a big time businessman, running companies, hundreds of people working for you, spending your time making deals, eating out in nice restaurants, driving nice cars, wearing nice clothes. The next, all of that is gone and you are simply trying to survive from day to day. You have gone from enjoying your life to just existing. You will always pay a huge price when you choose to live in rebellion to God.

It was at his lowest point that this young man began to hear God speaking to him. Let me make sure you understand something very important. The Bible proclaims that God will never leave you nor forsake you. That is a promise from God to you, and it is true. God is there with you every step of the way whether you acknowledge Him or not. What happens is we quit listening to God, we tune Him out. When we are living in rebellion to God, He is the last person we want to hear from since we know deep down inside we are sinning. However, God is always there, always trying to get our attention, waiting patiently for us to listen to His voice and respond.

In 1989, near the end of my 10 years of running from God, I was driving down the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago heading downtown where I lived. It was 3 a.m., I had been out drinking that night, my legal problems were starting to mount, and I was looking to escape in every way imaginable. As I was driving home, I flipped through the radio stations and stopped when I heard booming from the radio, “FOR WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN, IF HE SHALL GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL!” The voice was that of Dr. Joseph Stowell, Chancellor of the great Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, but it was clearly God speaking to me trying to get my attention. Sadly, I was in full rebellion to God and He was the last person I wanted to hear from. It would be many months before I was ready to listen.

The Bible tells us that this young man began to hear God’s voice that was clearly calling him home. He began to reason that he was sleeping with the very pigs he fed and eating the same food they were eating. The servants in his father’s house at least had a nice place to sleep and plenty of food to eat. He realized that he would be better off going home, asking his father’s forgiveness, and becoming one of the servants. That was GOD speaking to this young man telling him to go home.

Many of you reading this today are “sleeping with the pigs.” You are eating the same food the pigs eat.You are tired of living like this, tired of waking up each day with no hope, tired of running from God. My friend, God loves you, He cares about you so much, and He is waiting for you today. The fact is, God is NOT going to force you to come home. That has to be your decision. No doubt, this young man’s father could have tracked him down and brought him home, but he didn’t. It was not because he didn’t love his son, but because it was a choice his son had to make on his own. God is not going to force you to come home, it is a choice YOU have to make yourself.

I love you and care about you so much. The wonderful end to the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” is that the son did go home. When he arrived, he was not made a servant in his father’s house as he was hoping, but he remained a SON! My friend, just because you have left the Lord, you never stopped being His son or daughter. You may have denied Him, you may have chosen to reject Him, but He never denied you and He never rejected you. YOU NEVER STOPPED BEING HIS SON OR DAUGHTER!

I will be praying for you today, praying that God will speak to your heart about going home. You don’t need to be miserable any longer. You don’t need to dread waking up each morning. God can take the pain and the hurts in your life and replace them with a peace that passes all human understanding and His joy. God is speaking to you today. God is waiting for you to come home. He is waiting to rejoice, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”

Let me leave you today with the words to the great hymn “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling.” Read the words, they are from God for YOU today!

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me; See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching, Watching for you and for me. Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, Pleading for you and for me? Why should we linger and heed not His mercies, Mercies for you and for me? Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, Passing from you and from me; Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming, Coming for you and for me. O for the wonderful love He has promised, Promised for you and for me! Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon, Pardon for you and for me. Refrain: Come home, come home, You who are weary, come home; Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling, O sinner, come home!

Plan of Salvation: http://www.liveprayer.com/plan.cfm

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller

(C)opryright 2012, Live Prayer Church, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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