The Pharisees Live

kevencard —  August 16, 2016 — Leave a comment

There seems to be such a divide in the world today. Even in the church you can still see the same battle being fought between the Pharisees of today and the faith believers. There are those in the church who are still trying to earn their righteousness by adherence to the law of Moses as if Christ’s death, burial and resurrection had no value on their justification.

But when I read for example Galatians 2:16 which says: “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through Faith in Jesus Christ, so we also believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” I see no cause to try to earn my righteousness by trying to be better.

But then good intentioned people will often say “but that’s not what Jesus said”. You’re right! He didn’t say that… well not exactly.

But He told the adulteress who was about to be stoned “neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.” He gave grace where the law demanded punishment giving the woman the ability to change her life and the ability through that grace not to sin.

But to the Pharisees of the day who were so steeped in religious law they couldn’t see grace standing in front of them. So Jesus constantly reminded them of their limitations to earn righteousness. For example, He said in Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

Jesus repeatedly brought the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the time to the end of their belief in the law to expose their inability to earn righteousness through that covenant.

The Pharisees outcast sinners, punished and even killed them because their law demanded it and yet Jesus took time to sit with those very same sinners to show them love and give them grace. And it was through that grace that those sinners found redemption.

Take the tax collector that had cheated people for years. Just one encounter with Jesus where he received grace and not condemnation led him to repentance (which means to turn away from) and to restore all that he had taken. It wasn’t the law or exposing his sin that caused him to repent, it was living Grace.

I would suggest to you that if you are trying to earn your righteousness from God by focusing on your sin, you will never receive your justification because you’ll never be Jesus. He was the only man who was without sin that has any claim to or the ability to earn righteousness. The rest of us all fall short.

If you get angry, according to Jesus you’re guilty of murder. If you look at a beautiful woman or man and lust even for a moment, then according to Jesus you’re and adulterer or adulteress. If you commit any sin according to Jesus, you’re guilty of all of them. So, how are you ever going to achieve the perfect righteousness by trying to live as if you’re Jesus. We’re not him and personally I’m not trying to be Him.

Instead, I’ve realized that God loved me so much that he sent to this earth His son, who is perfect, to take my place in judgement so that I would receive His righteousness through the blood that He shed on the cross as a gift. That I would live free from the curse of the law and instead live in the victory that He paid for with that blood.

Now, I realize I’m not Jesus but I would invite you into this journey with me to discover all the benefits of being justified by Faith in Jesus Christ and not by an adherence of the law. If we focus on Jesus and His love for us, I believe that our lives can only change for the better and we can live a life of victory. The one Jesus paid such a heavy price to give us.

Faith in Jesus is the answer… period.

Photo Copyright 2015 Keven Card

Photo Copyright 2015 Keven Card

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of feeling unhappy with the direction of my life. I’ve been searching for my purpose. On my own I’ve tried to define it, understand it, chase it but ultimately I discovered that I’m not in control of it… any of it and every time I try to be in control of the direction of my life I feel more lost than I was before.

But, I know I have a purpose and so do you… but, the question is: how do we discover it, define it and then live it?

I was looking at Jeremiah 29:11 very carefully and it started to become so clear to me. Check this out: “For I know the plan I have for you…”

God said He knew the plan. What plan? The plan that He has for us and the good news is if He has the plan then we don’t have to create the plan, decide its direction or try to walk it out. Our task is the easiest and the hardest of all tasks… we simply need to listen to the Holy Spirit who was sent to be our helper.

If we can just learn to listen to His direction we’ll be walking out His plan for our lives and when our plan lines up with God’s plan… that’s when nothing can stand in the way. That verse goes on to say that His plan includes a plan to “prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Continue Reading…

What’s this have to do with vinegar? You’ll see at the end of this post. But, I have to say; I feel like a man living in the wrong era.

Why?

I look around at the world I live in and I don’t understand it and I’m not sure I want to. I definitely don’t want to participate in what the world is offering today. I mean where’s the honor in a lack of any moral code?

It seems that the world is shaped by greed and administered by liars, cheaters and those who lust for power. But, it appears that they don’t want to use that power to do good, they want it for self-gain. I’d bet if you looked back into their lives they were lorded over by some bully on the playground and this is their revenge. Or maybe they had a parent who called them a loser or abused them in some way. And in that respect I feel for them but I could never respect them if they use those experiences for revenge.

I know that this post is way outside the norm for my usual destiny posts but if you hang in there, I’ll get there I promise. Continue Reading…

Destiny’s Hand

kevencard —  November 26, 2014 — Leave a comment

Destiny.

We all have an idea of what it means, but it still remains a mystery.

To me it’s the unseen hand that directs my life. It’s gentle enough so as not to suffocate my own sense of control but firm enough to keep me from wandering too far away from my purpose. For me that hand belongs to God who I believe created me.

When you picture your destiny, what do you see? Close your eyes for just a moment and focus on it.

I’ll bet you see something glorious. A completed and successful novel or a business idea that takes off; or you on your wedding day so bright and beautiful that people talk about it for weeks. Whatever it is, I’m confident it’s something grand.

Most likely what we don’t see is the journey to get there. The road to destiny isn’t made of gold, it’s paved with tears of hardship. Columbus didn’t discover the Americas by simply sailing across calm waters and stumbling onto its shores. No, he and his crew had to brave the fear of the unknown and the unseen storms that lurked in the open ocean. And that is how he discovered his destiny.

The same is true for you and me.

I’ve written many articles on this blog about destiny but always in an abstract way and I thought they were creative but they lacked something. They lacked real life. My intention is to help people find their own purpose and for that a little reality is a necessary addition. So, here we go! Continue Reading…

My New Direction

kevencard —  November 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

Things are changing.

I’m Changing!

Let me be honest with you. This year has been a bitch! I’m sorry if that offends some of you but the truth is plain and no other word can describe this year for us.

And you know something, I don’t think I’m the only one whose had this experience this year either. Now, I won’t sit here and complain about my year but bear with me for a moment while I describe it for you.

This year started out great. We’d managed to save up a considerable amount of money in our emergency fund. My business was starting to increase and then:

At the very end of March John-Michael got pneumonia and was hospitalized for five days. A month later he was in the hospital again for pneumonia and stayed for a week. Then in June my older son, Branden, fell off his skate board and got a concussion and had a hemorrhage in his brain. Then in July John-Michael was hospitalized again with pneumonia and this time had to be intubated. We stayed in the hospital for ten days that time. Soon after, Branden had a strange abdominal pain and was admitted to the ICU for a few days. The day after he was discharged from the hospital, I almost dropped John-Michael when he lunged over my arm resulting in him breaking his leg and because he’s a special needs child it triggered an automatic Child Protective Services investigation into our family. We were told its the law. Continue Reading…

I’m sitting here in the quite of the first real cold front we’ve had for the year, anticipating what tomorrow might bring.

For many tomorrow is just another Sunday that will come and go. But for me it’s a day that holds a grand importance. Yes, it’s true that it’s Sunday and I have the opportunity to go to church and worship God, the one who orchestrated the importance of this day for me.

You see, the road that I had to take to reach this day was burdened with pain so deep that death seemed a more pleasant experience at many points along the way. But today isn’t a day to reminisce about the tragedies or the sufferings of yesterday but it’s remembrance adds extreme value to it. Today is a celebration of a love so deep that it has overcome all of the pain of yesteryear.

Tomorrow I get the opportunity to wake up to the most beautiful and incredible woman I have ever had the privilege of knowing, my wife Marianne. I once again get to wake up and get lost in her beauty as I watch her sleep on the same day we met 23 years ago and married 22 years ago. Continue Reading…

I am perplexed.

No, I’m saddened more than perplexed that it took me so long to understand what it meant when Christ died for me.

For years I’ve tried to measure up to the “Thou shall not’s” and frankly I failed… miserably. But now I know.

Know what? You might ask.

I now know the value of Christ’s sacrifice.

He died so that I could live guilt free, pain free and worry free. Why?

Simple, the curse of the law no longer applies to me or my failures (Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— ). So, what does that mean? Continue Reading…

It’s easy to wonder if there is a God and he loves me so much, why am I going through so many bad things in my life?

We certainly have had that opportunity this year!

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

In the last five months our youngest son has been hospitalized three times with pneumonia (which the last time he had to be intubated for seven days), my oldest son was hospitalized once for a concussion and then again with an unexplained abdominal event that bottomed out his blood pressure while his heart raced at the same time. That was followed by my youngest son breaking his leg which triggered an automatic CPS investigation into our family, because the law in Texas tries to protect kids with special needs.

Oh and my beautiful wife had to deal with a full police investigation where they treated her like a criminal because someone broke in and stole a bunch of money where she works. Insane, right?

I’m not telling you this to garner your sympathy but to testify to you that although all of these things were happening something surprising happened to us. Our faith wasn’t diminished it was strengthened. Continue Reading…

The one purpose that all Christians have is to believe!

As much as we may wish it wasn’t true and as hard as we try to avoid it, bad things are going to happen in our lives. To pretend it can’t happen just because you’re a Christian is foolish at best. We weren’t promised a stress free or problem free life.

Quite the opposite as a matter of fact!

John 16:33 (NKJV) says: In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Be of good cheer! Say What!

When you’re in the middle of hell, “being of good cheer” is probably the last thing on your mind, but it is the right thing for your mind. Why?

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

If we choose to make the best of our bad situations by holding on to our peace, I believe we are fulfilling our purpose as a Christian, to believe that Jesus has already delivered us and that God has a plan for us. We must choose to believe that if God doesn’t eliminate our problem that He’ll walk with us through the problem and in the process stretch our faith and refine our character.

Fulfilling our destinies requires that we overcome our challenges.

Recently my son John-Michael was admitted to the hospital in full respiratory failure brought on by pneumonia. He had to be put on a ventilator this time. This is the third time in four months he’s been admitted for the same thing. But you can read about his story at http://johnmichaelsjourney.com

With that many hospitalizations it would be easy to start doubting, even questioning God. But faith is a choice to have hope, not an emotion.

The fact is when we think our situation is bad, especially in a hospital, all we have to do is look around and we can easily find people who are in harder situations than ours. Continue Reading…

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

Photo Copyright 2014 Keven Card

I think we can all agree that family dynamics are often challenging if not downright insane. But when you add the interracial component to them a whole new breed of dysfunction is born. Yes, there’s the whole, food thing we talked about last time but if you thought eating strange food was the only challenge in a mixed marriage, well…. Um, I don’t know what to tell you.

I remember when my oldest daughter was just a baby. We lived in Guam with Marianne’s parents. Me, being the husband, tried to take control and implement my family traditions early on; instituting what I believed were the proper standards. However, my wife and her parents had a very different view of what a family was and how a family should be structured. And thus the conflict was born.

I believed that a baby should sleep in a crib, alone and mommy and daddy sleep in bed together. BUT, that’s not how they do things in the Asian culture! There, they all sleep together like a liter of cats, sprawled out on top of each other. They don’t get that there must be boundaries, and they don’t believe in privacy. Oh no, they all get involved. Continue Reading…