The Spirit of Mourning

January 17, 2020

 

The Spirit of Mourning

 

Matthew 5:3-12

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth

Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

When we as the people of God approach the presence of God in prayer there is an attitude that we should bring with us.  This attitude works in and out of the prayer closet, but it is an attitude that Jesus lays out for those of us that receivs the blessing o f God.  These are the “BE” Attitudes.  It is a condition of the heart that is in right standing or coming into right relationship with the Lord.  There is an attitude of heart that prepares us for God’s presence and working in our lives.

We have talked about how we enter into the presence of God with the attitude of praise, worship, rejoicing and thanksgiving.  Yet here Jesus is saying, “Blessed are they that mourn: they shall be comforted.”  This is a specific area that the Lord wants to deal with today.  Why do we mourn, lament, wail and are sorrowful?   For many of us, we come by this naturally through the brokeness and disappointments of life.  There is no doubt that there are those who are reading this today who are inwardly grieving and broken.  The hurts of this present world and life’s circumstance are heavy upon your heart and you have come with this attitude of mourning before the Lord.  Central in the heart of Jesus and the ministry of Christ to His people, was the broken-hearted.  Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound.”  It is interesting that the ministry of the Christ was addressed to many of the attitudes, which are addressed here in Matthew 5.   Jesus is very compassionate and is there to put His arms around those whose spirits have been broken and mourn in the natural sense.

There is another reason for mourning and it deals with our spiritual condition.  When we come to a real revelation of ourselves in the light of God’s holiness and calling we can truly be undone.  Some of us have never really come to that place where we have fully comprehended our state of wretchedness and depravity outside of God and His righteousness.  If we have then we know what it is to mourn spiritually.  Many of us know the element of grieving that we carry daily because of our sin and failures in fully walking in uprightness and purity.  We know what it is to be poor in spirit, because we realize how utterly bankrupt we are in ourselves.  Until we have a true revelation of this in our spirits, we will continue on, thinking somehow there is some good or righteousness in us outside of Christ.  A revelation of the true state of our heart and being will make way for the Holy Spirit to really perform His daily work of grace in us.  As we despair of all that is of ourselves and cling and long for the Lord to move and work in all of the areas of our lives that are not subject to His Lordship.  Many of as Christians may have once experienced this, but now we have grown complacent in our lifestyles that cater so much to our flesh and natural man.  Jesus gives us warning in Luke 6:24-26, “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”  It is imperative that our heart remains in a right and prostrate attitude toward the Lord.  When we cease to fear and reverence Him, when we become lifted up in ourselves, then we set ourselves on a course of separation rather than reconciliation toward the Lord.  Again James 4:4-10 exhorts us, “4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?  6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Today the Lord is concerned with our posture and attitude towards Him.  It is hard for all of us who live in these prosperous times and in the country that we do, not to be caught up in a lot of its ways.  The Lord is clear that we will mourn either in a spirit of repentance or in judgement.  This is a day we must get right within our hearts towards the Lord.  It is a day to mourn over the place we are missing and failing our Lord in our commitment and lives for Him.  It is a day to draw near to Him in brokeness, contriteness of heart and mourning of our sin.  “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.”

Blessings,

#kent

The Power of God’s Word

January 16, 2020

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

 

The Power of God’s Word

 

We most often readily receive and act upon medical advice and legal advice.  We follow the recommendations of our insurance, legal and financial advisors.  We even follow a lot of the advice given to us through media, television, print and the internet.  Often, we are an open funnel to receive and act upon advice from many sources.  Don’t we often follow the opinions and advice of our friends and associates?  In all the answers that we seek in life, how much is God a part of our direction and decision making?

Now I am not saying that we can’t get good advice from other sources, but our first source, our first trust and desire for direction, answers and solutions should come from our seeking God through His Word.  Most of the answers to life’s questions can be found there.  We are all caught up in a world of convenience and quick solutions to our problems.  They are often like fast foods to our souls; they lack real substance and nutrition.  What we so often forget is that we are a people that can operate out of a higher realm and authority than does the rest of the world.  We can more readily understand the spiritual implications and powers that are at work in many of the situations that surround us.

Our first line of defense, our first resource and first confidence should be faith in God’s Word and the accessing and unlocking of that power through prayer.  God has given us resources in Him that exceed any that we can find on earth, yet, so often, we turn to Him as our last option, rather than our first or to bail us out of what our actions outside of Him, yielded.  We need to stir up our faith to step out upon the promises of God, to trust Him, rely upon Him and in all of our ways acknowledge Him so that He can direct our paths.

Spiritual warfare is often not easy and it doesn’t come without opposition, but it will lead us to victory and freedom in Christ that we will never access through a dependence that is upon the world and its resources.  When we truly allow God to go before us, He is able to unlock and open doors that we could never open.  He is able to open to us blessings that we would have never received.  There are untold resources in heaven at your disposal, but it takes an active faith and trust in God’s Word to lay hold upon them.

Perhaps you are living in bondage to strongholds in your life.  The only way that you will truly experience freedom is through Christ and the power of His Word.  Dare to lay hold of the promises and apply them daily to your life.  Often the answers and solutions come to those who wait upon the Lord.  There are things taking place as we pray and believe God, that we don’t even know about.  Don’t give up, if God has given you a word, continue to stand upon it.  In His time all things come to pass.  Meanwhile fight the good fight of your faith.  Know that your strength and your power are in your God.  Lean not on your own understanding or upon your own strength.  Find that power and that life that resides within you and live out of Christ.  He is the Word and the power in your life.

In Him you have spiritual authority, power and victory.

hough we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Blessings,

#kent

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

 

2 Timothy 4:14-18

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge.  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

                How many of us have been living life on a pretty even keel.  We are getting along pretty well in our social relationships with people, living, what we feel, is a relatively good Christian life and testimony and then it happens.  Some one comes into your life that train wrecks you emotionally and possibly in many other ways as well.  Quite possibly they have come to you under the guise of another Christian Brother or Sister who loves the Lord.  Maybe, initially you have sat and had great fellowship with them.  They have won your friendship, trust and confidence and then it happens.  At first, some things start not adding up, there are seeming misunderstandings or miscommunications.   Eventually it becomes evident that they are lying to you.  They have been manipulating and using you as long as they could for their own gain or cause.  Perhaps they are slandering you, spreading vicious rumors and trying to destroy your reputation.  This is especially true if you are trying to expose them for who they are.  What is worse is that they are still below the radar of most of their other associations, so most still perceive them as this wonderful spiritual person.  Whether they are still perceived as spiritual or not you find yourself duped and taken advantage of.   When you confront them they are always full of false promises of restitution and reconciliation or in total denial, turning it back on you as having the problem.  What do you do with someone like that? 

                These types of people are probably much like those Paul describes in 1Timothy 3, when he talks about those who come having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was (1 Timothy 3:1-9).” 

What is disturbing is the emotional and spiritual destruction they leave in their wake.  They often come defrauding honest people, deceiving, manipulating and betraying those who have embraced them in Christian love and fellowship.  They often bring division and strife, as they turn brother against brother and sow the seeds of discord.  Sometimes you would wonder if even they realize that they are the instrument of satan rather than the instrument of God. 

                The Word tells us that there will be those wolves in sheep’s clothing that will come among and try and destroy and undermine the work of God.  We must guard our hearts, for their greatest strength is gained when they get us into the flesh, operating out of emotion and feelings, rather than out of the spirit.  If we are able to rather stand in the Lord, entering into the fortress of prayer and lifting up a spiritual standard against this spirit, in time it will be broken.  When we become frustrated, angry and discouraged, we tend to want to fall back upon the arm of the flesh to fight our battles.  What did Moses do when Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses?  Jannes and Jambres were thought to be the Pharaoh’s Egyptian sorcerers and magicians.  It is interesting that Jambres name means, poverty, bitter and a rebel.  What Moses did was let the Lord be His authority and vindicate his position.  God will vindicate the righteous, but it may not be before there is great persecution.  Again our lesson is to be discerning of men, stand our ground based on the Word of God and through prayer and confidence in God and allow God to go before us in battle, so that we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Blessings,

#kent

Chasing After the Wind

January 14, 2020

 

Chasing After the Wind

 

Ecclesiastes 2:11

But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

 

Solomon, the wisest and richest of kings wrote this book of Ecclesiastes.  He was a man who said that he had it all, tried it all and none of the things of earth or the pursuits of pleasure and accomplishment were really worthwhile.  They were like, “chasing the wind.”

What are we chasing in our lives?  We allow so many things to consume our lives, our time, our efforts and affections, but what eternal value do they possess?  What will become of them when our lives are spent and we are gone?  In Mark 10:21 Jesus says to the rich young ruler, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”

This man went away sad and unfulfilled because his possessions possessed him, he didn’t possess them.  How many things in our lives possess us?  Jesus offered the rich young ruler the one thing in life that would fulfill and complete him, but he couldn’t release the natural things for the spiritual.  Jesus was letting him know and in so doing letting us know as well,  if you want to pursue something more than the vanity of this life and all that it possesses there is only one way to store up treasure in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).”  Jesus makes it plain to us that wherever our affections are, our values are placed, our importance lies, that’s where our hearts will be as well.  Jesus is giving the same challenge to us as he gave to the rich young ruler, “take up your cross and follow me.”  We process this with our minds, but not our hearts.  We don’t want to, because it means we, like the rich young ruler, we have to deal with our issues, possessions and things we don’t want to let go of, even though they are robbing us of eternal treasure.  That young man was no different than many of us.  He was a good kid.  He loved God and lived a righteous life and no doubt attended synagogue regularly.  He thought he really wanted Jesus till he had to count the cost.  It would cost him everything.  While salvation is free, discipleship will cost you everything.  The irony is that in losing everything this life has to offer you gain the riches of eternal heavenly treasure that has value long after your natural possessions have vanished.  We don’t want to make the same mistake the rich young ruler did and become offended at the gospel.

Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  If we are really sold out to Christ then we are willing to surrender all our earthly goods, talents and treasures to follow Christ.  That doesn’t mean we all literally go cash in, give it all away to the poor and take a vow of poverty, but we do need to come to that place in our hearts.  If the Lords says sell it all and give it away, we are ready and willing.  Often, we can tell what things mean to us by how tightly we hold on to them.  We need to embrace the cross and lightly hold the things of this life for even this is the wisdom of Solomon.  At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon says this of all that he has learned of life, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

Blessings,

#kent

Revealed

January 13, 2020

 

Revealed

 

1 Corinthians 2:9-16

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

As God’s people we know more than we think we know.  Just as I don’t know what I am about to write right now, the Spirit of God within me does.  Many times as He has led me to write in an area or on a subject, I have protested saying, “God, I don’t know about that or what to write about that.”  He would simply ignore my protest and wait for me to begin to write.  Today is another of these days.  Often God doesn’t reveal but the initial portion we need to get started.  Further revelation comes as we step out in faith and act on what we have, rather than on what we don’t have.  If we are God’s vessels, filled with His Spirit and possessing the mind of Christ, as the last verse of our scripture for today says we do, then we have to realize that we have a power to move beyond our natural ability and limitations.  I know my limitations and they are many, but I also know that in my weakness God’s strength is revealed.

How does God want to reveal Himself in you and through you?  Will you, like myself, protest of your inability and weaknesses, or will you like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8 say, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.”  When God sends us, He will equip us and He will provide for us a way.  Faith is the precursor to all that He gives to us.  Rarely is everything laid out on the table and we know the whole plan and have all our provisions.  Faith reveals the will and provision of God as we walk in it and believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  You have a vast, immeasurable reservoir of Spirit Life within you.  You have not began to sound the depths of what God’s Spirit can and will do through you.  Our God is an ever increasing light revealing Himself more and more unto the perfect day when as 2 Peter 1:19 declares, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” God’s people are the revelation of His truth and the proclamation of His glory.  Before you see the fullness of this truth you will see the revelation of all that hold the truth in unrighteousness for the man of sin will reveal it in his day.  Matthew 12:24 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 warns us, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”  All that is seen in the world proclaiming Christianity is not the Church.  The true Church is the remnant whose hearts and lives belong to the Lord, not just in outward profession.  The day will reveal His own.

As God is revealing the dross in us, He is also revealing Himself in us.  Beneath the dross lies the gold and silver, the nature and character of God and His redemption.  Though we are often discouraged and mourn over the sin that still wants to cling to us, we must not let that become the identification of who we are.  God is at work in us, perfecting that which concerns Him, that His Son may be revealed through us.  2 Corinthians 7:1 tells us, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

God has a plan.  Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”  A body is prepared for Christ, the head, to rest upon and fill with the fullness of all that He is.  Are we prepared to have revealed in us all that He is?   Let us move out in faith and be that revelation of God’s glory and truth.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Sweet Fragrance of His Beloved

 

Song of Songs 5:1

I am come into my garden, my sister, [my] spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved

 

Recently I had the privilege of photographing a Praise and Worship session that is held once a week during the noon hour.  It is a time when saints gather for no other reason than to just praise and worship their Redeemer.  People come from all different denominations and background and from great distances just for this one sweet hour a week.  While I normally attend as a participant, this day I was in the place of the observer and I think I caught a glimpse of what Jesus must see.  These people don’t come to show off their spirituality.  There is no pretence, pride or thought about themselves.  They are there solely for Jesus, to glorify, honor and magnify Him.  You know that many of them are no doubt going through trials and hurts in their lives, but these outward things only press upon them to bring out the fragrance of love, dependence, and surrender as they lift up their hearts before the Lord.

It was like walking through the Lord’s Garden where the Spirit of the Lord was.  It has to be so precious to Him when His saints gather for no other reason than relationship with Him and a corporate expression of worship.   There must be such a sweet fragrance and incense that arises from that place to the nostrils of the Almighty.   How our Lord must be moved to love as He sees the heart of the Bride for Him.  When you behold the faces, the expressions, the postures, uplifted hands and the bowed down hearts, you see the true spirit of worship.  It is the release of our spirits unto Him, unashamedly and without pretense or guile.  It is a pure and holy thing.  It is a garden that the Lord can walk in and partake of the sweetness and goodness thereof.  There He can gather the myrrh and the spices.  There He can see the living sacrifices of lives that love Him wholly and completely.  There He can partake of the spiritual fruit, honeycomb with His honey and can drink of the wine of communion with His Beloved as He has relationship with Her.  There, true communion is experienced, as the many pieces become one loaf, one body and expression.  There the sweet wine of His blood is remembered and experienced as that blood is reverenced and so appreciated by the partakers and participants in that place.  Truly it is a garden set apart for the Lord’s honor as His presence is invited into His temple.

True saints of God are so hungry for this place and experience in their spiritual lives.  We enter into it on a personal level, but when a body of like-minded and hearted people can come together for that one purpose of expressing a pure corporate love back to Him you have a precious thing that is rare in the earth.  People come there from literally all nations and countries of the world, because they are so hungry to come into a pure expression of worship where they are one in spirit and purpose and there is no other agenda than lifting up the matchless name of Jesus.  This is the atmosphere where God can birth something out of Spirit and Truth.  This has to be a delight and sweet fragrance to Him.  So much of our religious experience is about putting our eyes on men, about us being entertained and inspired.  It is more about us than about Him.  What happens when the worship leader is yielded to the Holy Spirit and as the Spirit of God increases in that place, he decreases so that the Lord has sole possession of that gathering?  Oh, how we have needed this kind of worship experience for so long and this type of experience needs to fill our land and the whole world.  This is the garden where the Lord hears the love song of the Bride as she lifts up her lovesick voice to Him and expresses her deep passion and groaning within her spirit for Him.  This is the Song of Songs and the love story between our Lord and His beloved Bride.

Blessings,

#kent

Compromise

January 9, 2020

 

Compromise

 

Proverbs 7:24-27

Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong [men] have been slain by her. Her house [is] the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

 

Compromise

 

There was a boy, who walked a line along the river’s edge,

He was told to stay back away from it because of it slippery ledge.

But time and again he walked the line because he wanted too,

And more than once he came back home with wet and muddy shoes.

 

Many times, he was corrected and told to stay away,

But he was drawn by strong desire and by its edge would play.

He thought I’m too skilled to fall in, it was as if he were driven,

So he scoffed and heeded not all the warnings that were given.

 

As you might guess one day he didn’t show up at the door,

They searched and found him washed up along the river’s shore.

With grief they all talked and cried of this young man’s sad demise,

And how he wouldn’t stay away from that river called Compromise.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Will and the Way of God

 

1 Chronicles 15:2

Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.

 

There is a story in 1 Chronicles that tells us of David’s desire and zeal to bring the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem.  Here in 1 Chronicles 13:7-10 we read about his first attempt and see that not only was it unsuccessful, but it resulted in the Lord’s anger and the death of a man.   “And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart. And David and all Israel played before God with all [their] might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.”  Our reaction to this account might not be so unlike David’s, somewhat shocked, stunned and thinking, “God, why were you so severe?”  When God responds to men’s actions and His judgement results in death, one of the first and foremost things it generates is a fear of God, not just in the “be afraid” sense, but in the sense that we can’t take God’s will and His ways for granted.

Think about if for a moment with me about how we handle the things of God.  When I examine my times that are supposed to be set aside and consecrated for Him, I see my own personal agendas and ways leaving smudgy, dirty little finger and handprints all over them.  Think for a moment of God’s will and way being like this huge plate glass window that is sparkling clean and transparent.  Then here come His kids.  They don’t even think, “I need to really be aware and respect the purity and cleanness of this window.  I can look through it, but I don’t want to put my hands on it or I will dirty it.”  If it was a sliding glass door then there would be a proper means by which we would pass through it, open and close it, without placing our hands on the glass.  This is a rough illustration of what David did and why Uzza died when He touched the Ark.  In Leviticus 20:26 God speaks of His desire for His people, “And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD [am] holy, and have severed you from [other] people, that ye should be mine.”

The Ark of the Covenant was the most sacred of the pieces of the Tabernacle.  Its place was in the Holy of Holies and it represented the very presence and place of God.  Throughout the Word there is an awesome respect and fear that is directed toward it, for what it represented.  It wasn’t that David’s heart was not in the right place because He wanted to bring the Ark up to Jerusalem, it was his methods that were wrong.  There are right ways and wrong ways to handle the things of God.  When we get careless and sloppy in our walk with God, we find ourselves incurring judgements and disciplines for the way we are handling the things of God.  Hopefully it won’t be as severe as Uzza, Nadab and Abihu, or Ananias and Sapphira.  These people gave their lives to be examples to us not to take the things of God lightly and not to do things our own way.  Many of us are far guiltier of this than we realize and I’m feeling the conviction that the Lord wants us to really begin to examine our relationship and our action concerning the things of God.  There was a right way that David should have been transporting that Ark.  That was a priesthood function that was laid out very explicitly by God in Exodus.  Do we fully realize that we are the priesthood of God that carry about the Ark of God in our spirits?  How are we handling the precious entrustment God has placed upon us to carry His name and His testimony in our daily lives.  Have we grown careless in our commitment and our obedience to Him?  Are we doing many of the things in our lives, both spiritually and naturally, our way instead of His?  Are we putting our dirty little hands of selfishness all over the window of His Holiness?  God wants us to transport His life in these bodies with immense joy, rejoicing and gladness, but He wants us to take special care that we do it His way and not ours, no matter how good it may seem.  Let’s ask the Lord to show us the areas of our lives where we may be dishonoring and disobeying Him.  Let’s covet His Holiness and Righteousness, seeking to be well pleasing and compliant with His will and His ways.  God has extended much grace toward us, but that is not our license for sin and dishonor concerning the Holy Life He has placed in our keeping.

“Lord, help us not to be foolish concerning our lives and walk in You.  Help us to always look upon You with the utmost reverence and respect.  Help us to honor and obey you, searching out Your will and Your ways of godly and righteous living.”

Blessings,

#kent

Unity in Diversity

January 7, 2020

 

Unity in Diversity

 

Romans 12:16

[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

 

Why is it we struggle so much with our human relationships with other people?  Wouldn’t it be so much easier if everyone thought just like us, even if they could just see that the way that we think is the best way to do things?  Unfortunately, and maybe fortunately, we are quite diverse in how we solve our problems and deal with the issues of life.  While that is not so much a problem if we are dealing with just us, it becomes quite a challenge when we are in relationships where we need to be in one accord concerning decisions and policies of how we want to do things.  We all have different ideas of how something should be.  Often it is not a question of one being right and one being wrong, except perhaps in their own eyes, it is more a matter of being in one accord and reaching a common ground where we can share and come into agreement though we differ in opinion and logic.  This is the crux of life, whether it is in business and working relationships, marriage, family, the body of Christ, no matter what the relations, it is often a challenge to come into one mind.  How do we find unity in the diversity of our personalities and ways of thinking and viewing things?  Well, obviously the world has come up with many ways of dealing with these issues, monarchies, dictatorships, socialism, totalitarianism, democracies and even theocracy.

Perhaps you are struggling in a relationship today.  In our secular relationships we seek to have the mind of Christ and as Romans 12:18 puts it, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”   What about our Christian relationships, our marriages and our families, these areas that we all struggle with daily?  Unfortunately, we don’t have a much better record at these relationships than the world does, but we should because we have what they don’t have, Christ.   If we have committed ourselves to live our lives under the theocracy of God’s will then what our efforts should be focused on is not what my will or my way is, or what yours is, but what is the mind of God concerning our decisions.   Do we come to the bargaining table with different agendas and different priorities?  How do we arrive at peaceable solutions?  First, are all parties willing to lay down their rights, agendas and opinions to submit to what God’s will is in a particular area of dissension?  Are we willing to approach our differences with respect for one another and our differences of opinion, realizing that we are all made up of strengths and weaknesses?  Are we willing to give place to someone else’s gifting or strength in an area?  Are we willing to lay these differences at the altar and unselfishly pursue the Lord’s will through praying together and seeking the mind of the Lord?  That’s probably not normally our way, but it should be.  Are we all honest in our dealings and can we bring our feelings under submission to the Lord?  We often want to resolve our differences emotionally which usually only further polarizes us rather than unifying us.  Are we willing to come with unselfishness in our hearts and pursue the end that best meets the needs of all concerned?  Our God is a God of Peace and He wants us to pursue peaceable means through His love that is within us by being longsuffering, courteous, respectful and giving place to one another.

It comes back to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5).”  He became a servant though He was Lord of all and laid down His life for us.  We need this mind to be the servant of one another working, living and giving what is best for the benefit of others and not just ourselves.  When we get ourselves out of the picture then resolution to our conflicts and differences becomes much easier.  Love is about our desire to give and not just to get.  The more this love is working in the hearts of all concerned the easier our differences will be resolved and we will find unity in our diversity.

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:13-16).”

Blessings,

#kent

Worthy of this Calling

January 6, 2020

 

Worthy of this Calling

 

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

I would like for us to be very real and practical today as we consider our calling in Christ Jesus.  We often try and talk spiritual and be spiritual around what we consider spiritual people or environments, but what is every day life like for us?  How does our real faith play out in the everyday activities of our lives?  In the light of that, many of us may not feel too spiritual.  We may see ourselves getting angry, losing patience, arguing with the kids and the spouse.  A lot of times we see some pretty unattractive words and attitudes demonstrated in our lives.  Nothing we could really take much pride in as far as being spiritual or glorifying the Lord.  We may get pretty down on ourselves in the light of our many shortcomings and feel there is really no hope that I could be anything in Christ.  “Look what a mess I am and how totally unchristian I can act.”  Most of us can have those “flesh days” when we are just a mess spiritually.  Our spiritual enemy preys on our vulnerabilities.  I believe situations are often set up by the enemy, just to push our buttons and lead us off into unspiritual actions and attitudes.  You may have really felt that you were drawing close to the Lord and then you are attacked in the areas of your vulnerabilities.  You are tempted in the areas of your greatest weaknesses.  As much as you don’t want too, perhaps you fail and stumble again in those areas where you thought you were experiencing victory.  What follows is nothing less than a barrage of condemnation and discouragement as the devil condemns you for your failures.  Perhaps he even uses those around you to assist in heaping on you the condemnation and failure you already feel.  With feelings of shame, disgrace, added failure and guilt we become discouraged.  We think, “Why am I trying to be something I can never be?”  Exactly the state of mind the enemy wants to bring us too.

Realistically our lives are a never-ending struggle of flesh and spirit.  We hear about who we are and who we should be in Christ, but then we struggle to live our faith in Christ, often with feelings of being so unsuccessful.  These are the reasons why we often grow weary, discouraged and want to just give up.  You know what?  We all have these feelings, discouragement, and setbacks.  Our God is not just writing us off because we do, but He does want to use them to allow us to recognize our weakness, so that we may better lay hold of His strength.   The Word tells us that the efforts of the flesh can never produce the righteousness of God.  That is why religion is so futile.  It is our attempt at finding and pleasing God in our own works.

We find in life that we are most influenced by those we associate ourselves with.  If we hang around a worldly and ungodly crowd, it is not long before we find our own actions and attitudes becoming more and more conformed to theirs.  It is that same old principle of sowing and reaping.  What we are sowing into our lives is what we are reaping in our attitudes and actions.  Hosea 10:2 tells us, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for [it is] time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”  Galatians 5:25 tells us, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  While we will have those times where we will experience failure and discouragement we must stubbornly and uncompromisingly not relinquish who we know ourselves to be in Christ.  Our only hope of this is in our identification and relationship with our Lord.  No matter how we may get sidetracked and bushwhacked by the enemy of our soul, our inner man must turn back to Father.  He assures us forgiveness when we repent and promises to wash our sin away.  Christ in you is your hope of glory.  With all that is within us we must cling to Him, relinquish our lives to Him and stay in close fellowship and relationship with Him.  He alone is the one that transforms us into His image and likeness.  In order to be worthy of His calling, it is our patient and enduring faith in Him that is the manifest token of our salvation.  It is maintaining the place of intimacy and relationship that we truly know our God and experience the workings of His righteousness in us.  The reality of our faith and walk in the Spirit must be the greatest reality of our lives.  Even when we wander or fail, it is the faithfulness of His Spirit in us that continually keeps us returning and drawing near to Him.  “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: [Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer (2 Thessalonians 1:3-5).”

Blessings,

#kent

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