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Author Archives: revderrickkeeter

Freedom is Not Free

For 242 years, The United States of America have enjoyed political sovereignty and freedom. That freedom did not come freely however. A revolution was required. Men lost their lives, families and personal property in the process of becoming an independent nation.

In November 1968, my uncle died on foreign soil, wearing the uniform of The United States. He is just one of countless millions who have sacrificed themselves in defense of our freedom. Human blood is the cost required for liberty.

Prior to August 17, 1977, my soul was in bondage to sin, hell and death. A blood sacrifice was required in order to set me free. Jesus paid the price with His own death. I now enjoy spiritual liberty through Him. Freedom is not free,

On this holiday I celebrate my freedom as an American. I thank God for the ones who have paid the price for me.

Everyday I celebrate my freedom as a Christian. I thank God for the One who has paid the price for me.

Freedom is not free. I’m glad I did not have to pay for it.

 
 

Who Are You Trying To Please?

A few weeks ago, a friend asked how the church I lead is doing. Not well, I replied, ” I’m not contemporary enough.”

My friend quickly shot back, ” Not contemporary enough for whom?”

His comment got me to thinking. Our church doesn’t have a praise group, a rock band, flashy multimedia or a state of the art auditorium. I don’t preach in blue jeans, carry a microphone and my hair is not spiked. I don’t have facial hair nor wear tennis shoes. I yell, get red in the face and actually carry a paper Bible around with me. Our worship area is well- lit with windows and collection plates. We are what is called (eeww, here comes that icky word) “traditional. ”

What my friend was really asking is, ” Who are you trying to please, people or God?”

Worship, whether it be contemporary or traditional, is not meant to please us. It should be designed to please God. The most important consideration is whether or not God recieves glory . Our music, our clothing, our preaching, our giving, our fellowship. ..it must all be for His pleasure not ours. He is the audience not the congregation. We are not performers, we are worshippers.

Thank you my friend. Our church will do well if we focus on Jesus and Jesus alone. He will grow His church when it suits Him and not when it suits us.

 
 

Finishing the Race: Hebrews 12:1-2

The Bible uses the analogy of a “race” to describe the Christian life.

There are foot races, some based upon speed, others upon endurance. And, as we know, humans race with cars and horses and dogs, and even pigs. The goal is always the same: to finish the race and to win the race.

I am 56 years old. I began this “race” for Jesus 41 years ago when God saved me by His grace. At times I have been in the “lead.” At other times I have fallen behind, and felt as though I was in the back of the pack. I have fallen down. I have gotten off the track for a while, as others kept running. But I always “got back on track. ”

I have no idea when my race will end. But I intend to keep running. My goal is to finish and to win. As I run, I intend to do two things:

1. I will avoid looking at the others who are running. No one wins by looking side to side. No one wins by looking back. I must look forward. Jesus has already run the race and He is at the finish line, cheering me on.

2. I will quit worrying about the outcome. The prize has already been won. I just need to keep running in order to receive it. The prize is Jesus. I am not running for myself, nor others. I run for Him.

Competition is good, in the natural realm, for it makes us better athletes. In the spiritual realm, however, my competitors are not other Christians or preachers. My opponents are the world, the flesh and the devil.

The race for the heavenly crown is one of endurance not speed. I will not stop running until I reach the finish line and receive my reward.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2018 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Love Without End…Amen

God promised His children that He would love them with an everlasting love. 

Most of us know nothing about such love. Standing before God, a minister, family and friends, the overwhelming majority of couples repeat this phrase: “Till death do us part.” According to statistics, nearly half of them are lying through their teeth. Some “fall out of love”, others “grow apart “, while others have affairs and “fall in love” with someone else. 

I used to “love “coconut cake when I was younger. Now my tastes have changed and I don’t eat much cake at all, and when I do, I prefer yellow with white icing. 

Church members have said “I love my church” and within a few months they quit attending or find another one to “love.” Several people have declared their love for me in the past, but now we avoid speaking to one another in Walmart. When my sports team is winning, I love them. When they continually lose, I find other forms of entertainment.

Unlike you and me, the God of the universe never stops loving . All love starts and ends with Him. He is love. 

He loves us when we fail. He loves us when we hate. He loves us when we don’t love Him in return. He loves us when no one else does. He loves us forever.

He loved us before we were conceived in our mother’s womb and will love us when He takes back the spirit He breathed into us. He can do no other. And the amazing part is, He chooses to love. 

What shall we do in response to such endless, eternal, incredible love? The Reformers put it this way: the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. As our brother in Christ used to sing, ” it’s a love without end.” Amen.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2018 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Saturday in the Park

Okay, let’s sing it together: ” Saturday…in the park…I think it was the Fourth of July…”

Don’t you just love that old Chicago song? When I hear it, I envision a warm, sunny day, picnic blankets spread out on a wide green lawn, kids running and screaming in joy, teenage boys, bare-breasted, throwing a football back and forth, the smell of the Colonel’s secret recipe blending with the odor of sunscreen. If you’ve ever arrived early for the laser show at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, you know exactly what I am speaking about.

We all love Saturdays in the park. We all need the rest. In fact, God told us to rest. He “rested” on the seventh day and instructed His people to follow Him. (Isn’t that all He’s ever asked of us?) . Take a Sabbath day. Rest. Catch your breath. Relax!!! Whether you do it on a “Saturday” or a “Sunday” or whenever, God has designed our bodies to, and decreed by His Word that we take a day off. 

Why don’t we?

Does this sound familiar? Monday morning, you fumble to the bathroom, then to the coffee pot, jump in the shower, make yourself presentable to the outside world, and rush out the door to get going to your work. You fight traffic with others (who are just as irritated as you are, if not more so), get to your job, put on the fake smiles, keep the boss and clients/customers happy. Make your cruddy little wage, drive back home, scrounge up some dinner, hustle your dependents back and forth to baseball/gymnastics/soccer/dance/tiddlywinks and basket-weaving , come home and put them young un’s to bed (after homework, baths and glasses of water, of course). If the mood is right, and Jupiter and Mars are lined up in just the correct manner, you might have some “quality time” with the spouse, text your peeps, troll Facebook , eliminate the red dots from your tablet and eventually fall asleep, with the audio of Forensic Files serenading you in the dark. 

Tuesday, repeat the process.

Wednesday , repeat the process. Except if you’re a Baptist. Then, if you’re really committed ,or are feeling guilty because the preacher has been complaining about attendance, you grab some Mickey D’s and go to church. To get “re-fueled” of course.  While your kids are being discipled and enertained, you receive the minister’s “teaching” (minus the screaming and pulpit-pounding, which is only appropriate for Sunday when lost people need Jesus), and, if you are truly insane ( or love to make a “joyful noise”), you stay for music rehearsal. Then you get home at an ungodly hour (for kids who must go to school in the morning) and you collapse. Oh, by the way, it’s Hump Day!!!

Thursday. See Monday and Tuesday.

Friday, TGIF!!! Payday!!! From the time your money hits, you are in a mad rush to chill out and party before the automatic bill payments start to decimate your checking account. Maybe get a pizza! Perhaps a show or a ballgame! For the non-Baptists, it’s prime time to knock back a few cold ones, especially since you can sleep in tomorrow morning.

Saturday!!! I can sleep! Wrong. Stupid dogs wake you up barking. The kids are up begging for food. What about a day in the park? Why not pack up th cooler and lawn chairs?

Too bad. It’s raining. Laundry is piled up to the ceiling. The family is bored out of their minds. Something is growing in the toilet and must be destroyed. You haven’t called your mother all week. The cat threw up what looks like a cross between a dead bird and a tamale. Grass needs mowing. Oh crap, I forgot to pick up the prescriptions from the pharmacy! The shrubbery is taking over the exterior of the house. Your friends are begging for you to come over for dinner, because they have this “wonderful business opportunity” they want to “share ” with you . (“We want you to get in on the ground floor”, “The potential is unlimited”, “You can do this in your SPARE TIME.”)

Saturday in the park? Ha. You must be joking. It will end up being a Sunday in the park 

Oh, but wait a minute! Sunday is the Sabbath. As a follower of Jesus, I have to go to church. I must show God how much I love Him.

Sunday mornings are the worst if you are saved. Mysterious, universal forces disrupt normal preparation time. After a monumental war is waged to enter the church doors, you enter the Holy Matrix.

Sunday school, worship service, tithe ( Am I really going to make it to my next paycheck?), praise songs offending the old folks who wonder what happened to the hymnals and piano, preacher begging the heathen to repent and avoid hell, altar time, announcements for those who can’t read the church bulletin, lunch at the Mexican joint, afternoon nap and/or football game, discipleship training, Sunday evening worship, after church fellowship. Was God happy with me today? 

The most depressing time in America: Sunday night. The weekend is over. Back to work in the morning. Where did my time go? What happened to the happy, smiling faces Chicago was singing about?

The answer to the questions is that we disobeyed God. He gave us a commandment and we broke it. According to the Bible, if we break one of God’s commandments we are guilty of breaking them all. If I refuse to take a day of rest I have rebelled against my Creator. How can I expect Him to give me rest if I refuse to take what He gives me?

The apostle Paul instructed believers to “redeem” the time because the days we live in are evil. Today is Saturday. My house looks like a band of gypsies live here. Do I clean it ?

Heck no. It is beautiful outside. I’m headed to the park. 

See you all in church tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2018 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Purpose

Jeremiah had a clear purpose in life. He was a prophet of God. So clear was Jeremiah’s reason for existing that God Himself stated ” Before you were formed in your morher’s womb, I knew you and ordained you to be a prophet to the nations.”

For many people, however, it is not that simple. Many of us struggle to discover why we are alive and what it is we are supposed to be doing. And therein is the struggle. The battle lies between “being” and “doing”, between who we are and what we do. The question we were confronted with as children was, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?” Notice that the question was not “What do you want to DO ?”

When I was eighteen, I “answered the call” to BE a preacher. For nearly forty years I have been torn between being and doing. For about twenty of those years I made my living as a “full-time” pastor, getting paid a salary to DO nothing but BE a preacher. My identity and purpose in life was directly tied to that status. The other twenty years, however, have been spent as a “bi-vocational ” or “part-time” minister. I have painted houses, worked in various sales jobs, baked bread, driven trucks, taught school, assisted with funerals, labored in property management and served as a hospice chaplain. In all of those undertakings I have felt unfulfilled, like I had no purpose, and I longed for the security and comfort of a church office with my books on shelves, diplomas on the walls, name plate on a desk and a pulpit to stand behind. 

I now understand how utterly wrong I was. God did not call me to DO ministry. He called me to BE a minister. My purpose in life is to glorify Him and serve others, as a housepainter, a funeral assistant , teacher, salesman and chaplain. How I make money is not who I am. My doing does not equal my being.

No matter what you do in life, God has called you to be His child. He created you to glorify Him and love others as He has loved you. There is no such thing as a “part-time” Christian or minister. We are all “full-time.” Whether we stand behind a pulpit, or sit at the bed of a dying hospice patient, we, like Jeremiah, were known by God before we were even conceived and were given a purpose only we can fulfill. 

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2018 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

Soul Sleep or Paradise?

Entire books have been written on the subject of the afterlife. I have no interest in writing another.

My eternal destiny is secure in Jesus. When I die I am going to live with God forever. I am not going to burn in hell nor perish. Jesus has saved my soul.

Will I immediately go into paradise with the Lord or will my soul “go to sleep” while my corrupt, decaying body lies in the ground awaiting a resurrection? There are some Scriptures which seem to say one thing, and others which seem to say another. People love to debate the subject and seek to “prove” their point with the Bible. I will refrain.

I will, however, provide some comments. I have studied the subject as a believer, a pastor, a theologian and a scholar. I have a conviction on the matter. 

Here are my comments.

I don’t care one way or the other. I have total trust in the Lord and He loves me. I ain’t worried none about it.

No one really knows the answer, although some have claimed to have been “there” and come back to tell about it. Paul, interestingly enough, was one of them. (I trust Paul. He wasn’t lying about it.) Samuel wasn’t awakened from “soul sleep” when he spoke from the other side to Saul (1 Samuel 28) ; at least it didn’t seem like he was. He just said that he was “brought up” from the place of the dead. No mention is made of him being “asleep” as such.

Our biggest misunderstanding concerning the afterlife, as well as our inability to reconcile seeming “contradictions” in Scripture, stem from the fact that we think, live, understand and operate in TIME. Sleep (rest, the cessation from labor), which in this discussion is used as a euphemism (figure of speech) for death,  is a concept directly connected to “time.” (Example: I need 6-8  HOURS  of sleep in order to get the rest I need.)

Eternity, the afterlife, has NOTHING to do with time. Time does not exist in eternity. Time is the creation of an eternal (time-less) Being. To put it simply, the dead in Christ rising first, and those who are alive going up next, and graves opening up and the saints getting brand new bodies on their way “up ” I suppose… None of that has any bearing on eternity whatsoever. It just gives us something to fret over down here. 

What do I believe ? I’m never going to know the difference, that’s what I believe. And neither will my dead loved ones for that matter. It simply will not matter. When the roll is called up yonder, and the circle is unbroken, and we all sit down to eat Supper with Jesus in heaven, it ain’t gonna amount to a hill of beans whether we got there “today” or we had to sleep on it awhile. The reunion with those who have gone on before us will be sweet and will be as though we were never separated by time to begin with.

In John 17:3, Jesus said that we already have eternal life. He told Lazarus and his sisters that he who believes in Him would never die. Isn’t that good enough?

My name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. I ain’t studying on when or how I get there. All I care about is that I’ma going.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2018 in Daily Verse & Prayer