Monday, February 28, 2011


"For where you have envy and selfish ambition there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." James 3:16-17

And, Good Evening! I don't usually open with a verse, but this verse came to me as a result of about a week of discerning prayer and I just had to put it up front tonight. It has been a very trying week to say the least and I've had to ask for some direction from God. This time not what to do, but rather for conviction of how to go forward and recognize where I've let myself, my friends, and my family down. I was in kind of a coasting pattern for a little while, all to eager to lash out in anger and scorn those who would persecute me, when in reality what I should have been doing was taking a hard look in the mirror. I somehow fell into the foolish belief that if I did things with best intentions that they were God's intended work. The problem lies in the term "best intentions".

These "best intentions" aren't always rooted in truth. Sometimes, in fact, they can be rooted in anger, revenge, and spite. Best intentions may make someone's life far better, but at a cost to many. I don't know how often Christians fall into this trap, but I've found myself in it. Let's give you an example that might help. Have you ever watched a person near to you be wronged by someone and wanted to get even or have you ever wanted to get even for something somebody has done to someone you care about? In the end your mind has probably told you things like. They deserve to hurt for hurting my friend and "I" should do something about it! What do you notice about that sentence? Is it clear? Its a word with only one letter isn't it? Its the root of selfishness, the root of ambition, the root of envy, and in the end if you focus on only it you will inevitably find disorder and evil practice won't you? If you focus on "I" you will fall into a trap of selfishness. It doesn't matter if you think you are being selfless you aren't. You are performing one of the most selfish acts a human can do and that is REVENGE. What does it serve you Christian? What does it serve you Steve Ruckman? Yes, that is the question I was left asking in the recent past. The answer is it doesn't serve you well and it certainly doesn't serve me well.

Next time somebody hurts you or someone you love I want you to pause before action and pray over the verse above. Let it sink deeply into your heart and soul. Let it soften you so that you can live with the wisdom that comes from heaven which is all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Try this as an exercise to help you along the way. Take that "I" from you selfishness and place it into the verse as follows and see just how good it sounds:

I will be all pure; I will be peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Wow! Isn't that the heart of walking the way that the Lord Jesus would have us walk? Can you say that sentence and mean it? Right now I can't, but I pray that I will continue to strive for it. Will you walk with me? I hope so!

Love and Peace to you from our Risen Savior,

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Fixer

Good Evening My Brothers and Sisters!
I hope this email finds you well. Tonight I have a question for you. Do you have anyone in your life or know anyone that always wants to FIX things instead of wanting to listen? Well, I do and that person is me. I've been told its typical of the male gender to want to make everything right prior to listening and hearing things out, but I don't blame it on anything other than lack of patience. Why do I want to "Fix" things you ask? Its simple. I'm uncomfortable with pain. I'm uncomfortable with heartache. I'm uncomfortable with tears. I'm uncomfortable being on the bench or the sidelines and not being an active participant at making things right for people I love. Rather than listening I want to take action. I don't think this is all bad, but I do believe there is great merit in a pause... great merit in a prayerful response... great merit in letting God take care of things.

2 Corinthians 5:7 "We live by faith and not by sight"

Answer me this... Does the "fixer" truly live by faith or sight? I believe the fixer in me lives by sight and only the patient Christian in me lives by faith. I would guess the same would ring true for all of the "fixers" in the world. If we could only allow ourselves to let Faith be an action verb in our lives we wouldn't need to jump on everything and fix it. Rather, God would direct our actions and lead us to the truth. If you know a "fixer" or if you are one take a moment to prayerfully consider the verse above. What does it say to you? Are there circumstances swelling around you right now that you could apply some Faith instead of Sight? Is there an opportunity to allow yourself to grow? I have some and I'm praying as hard as I possibly can. And, I have FAITH that God will lead me straight to where I need to be... even if that's just being a good listener.

Love and Peace Through Our Risen Savior,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


What is one of the hardest things to embrace in this life? CHANGE!

Anyone good at it? Please, Please, Please let me know your secret because I am not good at it. I loath it, fear it, run from it, insulate myself from it, and otherwise try to have nothing to do with it. Why? Because I'm good at just being who I am without altering anything. I like the predictable. I like the safe. I don't like change!

Wonder why I even touch this subject? Because this year will almost certainly be a year of change for me. I know it. I have faith in it. And, this change will be positive if I only have the courage to accept it. I look at those around me that are facing extreme challenges and wonder how they ever find the courage to do it. I wonder how do they seem so calm when a storm is raging all around them. I prayed and prayed this past week for God to give me some wisdom and some courage to embrace the unknown. It was in discerning prayer this morning during my run that the Holy Spirit directed me back to one of my favorite Bible verses. One that is likely very familiar to all of you:

Isaiah 40:31 "Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary"

I guess as I read these words again I'm reminded that there is NOTHING God can't do! We have the power to do anything and overcome anything if we trust in him. We have the power to make change a positive thing. I encourage all of you to help me and yourselves to look at change coming in your life and serve as an example for those around you. They may be asking "How do they have so much courage to overcome change?" Don't keep it a secret. Be good Disciples ... share the Good News!

Pray for me my Brothers and Sisters. I'm at somewhat of a crossroad in my career and may be making a dramatic shift soon if its God's will to do so.
Love and Peace from Our Savior,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just Another Day in Paradise

Tell me how you wake up each morning. Do you wake up thanking God for all that you have in your life? Do you wonder if you deserve all of the blessings you have been given? Do you think about your physical gifts? Do you think about your spiritual gifts? Or, do you even take time to consider any of it? Has this world rendered you too busy to take the time to consider that God gave you many blessings?

I'm guilty as charged. You see, I wake many mornings worrying more about getting my 4-6 mile run completed before work than I do about anything else. I don't take the time to consider that without some physical strength and endurance I would never be able to do such things. Then I make my way to the office where communication and interaction usually flow from me so effortlessly that I often don't realize how easy it is for me to really interact with those I come in contact with. After work I travel home and I'm usually greeted with two little boys running toward me and giving me hugs around my legs... fighting to be first to get to Daddy. You could say that I have a very blessed life as this scenario repeats itself day in and day out. I'm surrounded by amazing friends and family and until recently a great job.

All that being said I don't focus enough on the blessings I listed above. Do you know where my thoughts tend to drift... you got it... the negative. And why? Why is it that we focus so much on the challenges in our life such as: my job is terrible, I'm too fat, I'm too thin, my kids drive me nuts, why don't I ever seem to have enough money to pay bills, why is it that the mean people always seem to get ahead. Those thoughts sound familiar? I'll bet they do for many of us. And they are all from evil. They are all from sin. They are all from our lack of wisdom to recognize the true blessings we are given.

I'm issuing myself and all of you a personal challenge. The next time you start drifting toward the negative. Think of just one of your blessings that God gives you and pray about it. Thank God for caring enough to give it to you. Let's start a revolution together. A resolution to focus on the positive, focus on our blessings and live not only a life where we recognize all the good, but a life filled with thanksgiving.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3(NIV)

Love in Christ,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's Holding You Back?

Many times in this life I've asked myself the question "What holds me back from being who I want to be, having what I want, or doing what I want?" The answer many times is simple ... FEAR. Why is that possible? and What is fear anyway?

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear ... "
1 John 4:18

I want you to consider the Bible verse above for a moment. Read it, digest it, and pray about it. What does it say to you? You know what it says to me? It tells me that the only limitation I have is allowing myself to believe I'm not loved enough to do something great, not loved enough to overcome the obstacles, not loved enough to succeed. All of those things come down to allowing "FEAR" to rule my actions. "FEAR" to freeze me. Well, one of the decisions I made this past year was to not let my life be ruled by "fear" and calculation. Rather, I've placed my trust in God, my trust in those that surround me in love, and allowed myself to just "be". No I didn't magically pop into the perfect life, but life got much better when I let go and allowed myself to be fully loved.

Now I want to talk about the other part of this. Who needs you? Who needs perfect love, Agape love? Have you shared it with them or do you just assume they will overcome their obstacles on their own. Do me a favor. Be another tool in their toolbox. Give them perfect love and allow them to cast out the fear that may be holding them back.

And, pray for me that I'm somehow strong enough to do the same. There's so much pain in this world that could be taken away if we only allowed ourselves to truly be and make Disciples of our Risen Savior.

Love and peace in Christ,