The Problem between Our Ears

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he…

Self- perception is based on many things.  It comes from our experiences, our relationships and the input we receive from the world around us.  What we believe about ourselves is not always true, but it is true to us, because that is the reality that we see in our own mind.  What makes a young lady that is bulimic and anorexic to the point that she is skin and bones, continue to believe in her own mind that she is still fat.  It is not a reality issue; it is a perception issue.  As a photographer I have people come in quite often that are very critical of themselves in their images.  They will pick out perceived flaws that no one else would see.  So often our perceptions are formed by the input we get back from the world around us.  We are using that to evaluate if we are acceptable, or smart, or pretty, or successful.  Our dependency upon the world around us to shape our self-perception and values is often what cripples us.  Those we are looking too in shaping our perception are often flawed in their own perceptions so our premise for evaluating our worth based on the input of others is like building a house on sand.  Add to this the condemnation, accusations and the lies of satan, we can get pretty messed up.  The Word tells us that’ faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God’ (Romans 10:17).  The way we form a well-rounded perception of ourselves is through the Word of God.  If you are going to believe what somebody says about you, then believe what God says about you, because He doesn’t lie. 

There are a lot of us that are carrying a lot of baggage around with us that is tearing us up and it is destroying our relationships with the people that we care about and that we really love.  Sometimes we don’t even understand why we act and respond the way that we do.  This is where the Lord wants to set us free.  Often it is a lot of these misperceptions that we have formed from past negative experiences that we are using to evaluate our relationships now.  Because of the pain, hurt, abuse or disappointment of past relationships and experiences we allow fear to come in and tell us that our current relationships are going to happen the same way. We become convinced that we are going to get hurt, so we transfer that past negative experience into our present one and start responding defensively to protect ourselves from perceived hurt.  Often we can end up sabotaging a meaningful relationship and even marriage, because of these past experiences that we are bringing into the present.

I don’t pretend to be a psychiatrist, but the thing that is going to set us free is when we recognize that our values and perceptions are often warped.  We need a plumb line so that we can establish values and perception that are based on truth and not on a lie.  It is the Word of God that is that plumb line for us.  We have to align ourselves with what God thinks of us and what His values are for us.  Many of us need to really ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and reveal where our values are distorted and wrong.  Sometimes we need to look back at our past to honestly evaluate where certain values and feelings about things were formed.  As the Holy Spirit reveals these things then we can give those issues and perceptions to Him and ask for the Lord’s healing and change in those areas. 

You see, it is not the outward that is really you.  We can outwardly act many different ways.  The true man is as he thinks he is in his heart.  Heart change comes from a heart relationship with the Lord.  He wants to make you and your relationships whole and healthy.  He wants to give right perspective and the perception of who He says you are.  He probably has a much higher opinion of you than you have of yourself.  He values you and He wants you to be able value yourself based on what He is and is becoming within you.  Allow Him the place and open up your heart so that He can come in and begin to heal you and make you whole again.  Feed on what God has to say to you through His Word rather than what others say to you or about you.  Start responding to what the Word says rather than to feelings and emotions that surface in certain situations.  He can give us the balance we need in our lives and He alone can fix that problem we have between our ears.

 

Blessingd,

#kent

Restoration

August 16, 2017

Jeremiah 31:18-20

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined.

Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. 19 After I strayed, I repented;

after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

20 Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.

Restoration

Ephraim, for point of reference, was the younger one of the two sons of Joseph.  Jacob blessed him and his older brother Manasseh and the two were counted as one of the tribes of Israel.  Ephraim, though, he was the younger, Jacob blessed as the older, declaring that in him Israel would be blessed (Genesis 48).  Ephraim is often used as a name synonymous with Israel.  Jeremiah speaks this passage toward the end of Israel’s captivity in Babylon as they look forward to a time of freedom and restoration. 

It is the loving discipline of the Father that prevents us from reaping our own destruction.  If God tears down and destroys, He does it for the purpose of discipline, cleansing and restoration.  God’s discipline deals with the unruliness of our hearts as they stray from Him and forget His precepts and His ways.  It is God’s discipline that leads us to repentance and repentance leads us to restoration of fellowship and relationship lost through our sin and rebellion. 

God dealt very harshly with His nation Israel.  He allowed the destruction of their country, of their city, Jerusalem and even the glorious temple, which Solomon had built.  God will destroy the flesh, so that He may preserve the spirit.  Even in God’s anger, His love runs deep for His people.  We can readily see that in Jeremiah 31: 20 as God says, “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.” 

God’s heart is for us even when we have sinned and turned away from Him.  He ever abides faithful, even when we have been faithless.  Hebrews 12:4-12 is such a rich encouragement to us as God’s children that God disciplines us out of His love and not His anger.  “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Many of us are already in a place of discipline or soon will be.  Judgement begins at the house of God.  God is disciplining and judging us so that His house may be in order before He judges the world.  It is our discipline and godly correction that will prepare our hearts and lives for a great ingathering of souls into the kingdom.  We are His sons and as much as Papa loves us, He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.  Let us faint not or feel condemned of the Lord.  God is dealing, exposing and judging us so that our repentance will lead us to a restoration into the fullness of His purpose and plan for our lives.  Father is all about our restoration and not our destruction, but sometimes old things have to be torn down that better things might be built.  If you are undergoing urban renewal in your life then rejoice, for the Father is at work in you to do His good will and pleasure.  You are the son of His love and the product of His restoration and grace.

 

Blessings,

#kent

2 Corinthians 6 14-18

14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Touch not the Unclean Thing

Yesterday my daughter called me.  She is a single mom with two sons, Josiah and Zion.  She asked me if I could talk with Josiah, as he was giving her a hard time.  She doesn’t allow him to watch and read things like Harry Potter, but he had checked out a book at the school library and read about four chapters when he brought it home and she confronted him about it.  Josiah is a very sensitive and precious guy, but he has this side about him that can become a very ugly and disagreeable attitude when it rises up.  I’ve given this spirit a name.  I call him Mr. Whiny.  I’m always telling Josiah he can come over, but he has to leave Mr. Whiny at home.  I’ve always instilled in Josiah that he is a man of God and he does love the Lord. 

When I began speaking to Josiah about the Harry Potter book, Mr. Whiny was very much present.  “Why can’t I read this book Grandpa?” he asked.  The first thing I asked Josiah was, “Josiah, who are you?”  He knew exactly what I was asking.  “Quietly he replied, “I’m a man of God.”  I began to share with him from today’s scripture about what fellowship has light with darkness and Christ with the devil or the things of darkness?  I asked him if went to church would he bring snakes, bugs, mice and things like that into the church?  He said, “no”.   I told him that he was the temple and sanctuary of the Lord and we have to be careful about what we bring into God’s temple. 

“But I want to read it”, he protested.

I explained that even things that don’t seem that bad, but are not in line with God’s word can open up access for spiritual darkness, compromise and deception to come into us.  I reminded him of Adam and how the serpent tempted him and it didn’t sound that bad, but his decision to yield to temptation, brought all of humanity into sin and death. 

Still, Josiah didn’t want to give up on reading the book.  I reminded him that God had placed people like his mom and myself in his life because He loved him so much.  “God wants the very best for you Josiah,” I reminded him.  When you rebel and want your way, it isn’t your mom or I that you are really rebelling against and disobeying, it is the Lord you are saying no, too.  I said you know that what I am saying is right, but you have to be willing to come into obedience to the Lord.  That is dying to yourself and putting God’s ways before your own.  Then I told him to pray about it and I said, “I know you will do the right thing.”

I think God uses correcting our children to speak to our own hearts.  I can remember many times correcting my children when they were growing up that I was feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit as if He were saying, “Do you hear yourself and are you doing what you are telling them they should do?”  Most of us aren’t under our parents anymore, but we don’t want to become hardened in our hearts so that we can’t hear and respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction about the things we do, think upon and participate in.  Many of us allow a lot of the world and the spirits of darkness into our mind and thinking, by what we watch, read and listen too.  We are not unlike little Josiah.  Even though we know what is right and wrong, we still want to do what we want to do.  Like Josiah we need to be reminded of who we are and the calling upon our lives. 

The Lord speaks to us today and He is saying to us, “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:17)”

 

blessings,

#kent

Tell Them I Am Coming!

August 14, 2017

Tell Them I Am Coming!

2 Thessalonians 1:4-12

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 11With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We experience tribulations and trials to varying degrees, but we see a level of persecution in the early church that most of us have not yet seen, nor do we hope too.  The truth of the matter is that when the body of Christ begins to move into her position of authority and begins to quit playing church and starts to fulfill her destiny being the church, she will meet again with tremendous opposition.  Currently, in this time and in this nation we see the church sometimes mocked and taunted, but with relatively little true persecution.  Maybe that is because we are viewed as just being another religious form of the world. 

When the church truly awakens and comes out of her slumber the door of true persecution will again be opened.  The reason is because there will be an increased polarization of good and evil.  Today we, the Church, live largely in a place of compromise where our values are not viewed so differently than the world.  Many live together outside of marriage, our divorce rate isn’t any better than that of the world, our integrity is often viewed as less than the world’s and we just project a form of godliness, but too many times with no substance. There is not the action of distinction that sets us apart from the world we live in, so our power and life has been neutralized.  We don’t really offer that much of a threat to the enemy, so why should there be much persecution.  We are often mocked by the world for the hypocrisy that they see in our midst when they see sin revealed and even some of our most prominent leaders fall.  Slowly, but surely we see the darkness overtaking our land as God is removed farther and father from our government and public life.  What we will soon wake up too is a very hostile foe, especially when we begin to stand in who we are in Christ. 

Persecution and tribulation is often a sieve that sifts and strains out those who are fair weather Christians who follow Christ just for convenience and blessing from those who are truly committed to Christ in life and in death. 

The Word teaches us that Christ is coming to be glorified in His saints and if we suffer with Him we will also be glorified with Him.  Many of us have the concept that when things start getting rough and nasty for Christianity, the Lord will come and rescue us out and take us away to glory.  As I read the Word, I see the pattern being that God will take His people through the fire, but He doesn’t necessarily rescue them out of it. 

The exhortation and the encouragement of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians was that they were to be commended for their faithfulness in the midst of the tribulation that they endured.  They continued steadfast and it was their love and charity they had for one another that they were known by.  The Lord is coming soon, but are we the people of God that the Thessalonians were, that are patient and faithful in the midst of great tribulation?  The Lord is giving us many exhortations and warnings to prepare our hearts for the time of His presence.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 says, “1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”  Regardless of your theology concerning the Lord’s coming, if you are missing the Lord warning and telling you to prepare your heart and come into intimate relationship with Him you are missing the coming of Christ.  We are being called to prepare the temple for the full habitation of the King of Glory.  The Lord is coming.  Stand steadfast and rock solid in your faith, because it will most likely be shaken first.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Beware the Seductress of Your Soul

Proverbs 7:1-5

1MY SON, keep my words; lay up within you my commandments [for use when needed] and treasure them. 2Keep my commandments and live, and keep my law and teaching as the apple (the pupil) of your eye. 3Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4Say to skillful and godly Wisdom, You are my sister, and regard understanding or insight as your intimate friend– 5That they may keep you from the loose woman, from the adventuress who flatters with and makes smooth her words.

Proverbs 7 is an exhortation and an illustration of what can happen to any one of us, at anytime as we travel through life.  God has called us to be fishers of men to bring the gospel and the good news of the kingdom to our world and sphere of influence.  We are the lights and the instruments of God’s choosing and using to draw men to Him.  Even as men are persuaded to righteousness and faith in Christ by the drawing of the Holy Spirit unto life, there is an antithesis that works unto death.  Satan is a fisherman also, continually casting the lure and bait that appeals to our base appetites.  It is rare that one is so foolish to walk into an obvious trap, so what we get caught up in usually starts out very unthreatening and alluring.  We’ve no doubt all been there at one time or another and to one degree or another.  Some of us, by the grace of God, have been delivered in areas of our life where the enemy was able to bring great devastation and damage because he was able to get his hook into us and we couldn’t seem to get loose.  Some of us may well still be experiencing the prison of this entrapment are still battling issues in our lives from wrong choices that we made or others that were close to us have made.  How many of us have felt the effects in our lives from alcohol, drug, sexual addictions, fraud, lying, cheating, stealing and just plain selfishness?  Sin has touched all of us directly and indirectly. 

Listen to how the seductress and loose woman of Proverbs 7 seduces and ensnares her prey.  The young man is vulnerable because he is simple, empty-headed and empty-hearted.

“And behold, there met him a woman, dressed as a harlot and sly and cunning of heart. 11She is turbulent and willful; her feet stay not in her house; 12Now in the streets, now in the marketplaces, she sets her ambush at every corner. 13So she caught him and kissed him and with impudent face she said to him, 14Sacrifices of peace offerings were due from me; this day I paid my vows. 15So I came forth to meet you [that you might share with me the feast from my offering]; diligently I sought your face, and I have found you. 16I have spread my couch with rugs and cushions of tapestry, with striped sheets of fine linen of Egypt. 17I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; let us console and delight ourselves with love. 19For the man is not at home; he is gone on a long journey; 20He has taken a bag of money with him and will come home at the day appointed [at the full moon]. 21With much justifying and enticing argument she persuades him, with the allurements of her lips she leads him [to overcome his conscience and his fears] and forces him along.”  This woman is a chameleon and will take on the guise of whatever is necessary to capture your heart.  She is a savage beast in beautiful array.  Her one intent is to draw you into temptation that she may destroy your faith and devour you.  Her ways are death and lead to hell.  She has entered the backdoor of your soul in order to drive her dagger into your spirit.  In verses 22-27 we see his end, “Suddenly he [yields and] follows her reluctantly like an ox moving to the slaughter, like one in fetters going to the correction [to be given] to a fool or like a dog enticed by food to the muzzle 23Till a dart [of passion] pierces and inflames his vitals; then like a bird fluttering straight into the net [he hastens], not knowing that it will cost him his life. 24Listen to me now therefore, O you sons, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25Let not your heart incline toward her ways, do not stray into her paths. 26For she has cast down many wounded; indeed, all her slain are a mighty host 27Her house is the way to Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead), going down to the chambers of death.” 

Our exhortation is to avoid her and not to even flirt with her, for her ways are death.  The way we avoid her is by not being simple minded, but Christ minded.  We set our mind on things above.  We fill our hearts with word of God and His wisdom and discernment.  We do not allow ourselves to become ignorant or naïve concerning the ways of the world and the enticements that it holds.  We keep our hearts humble and trembling before the Lord, for we know that ‘pride preceedth a fall’.  In all humility we seek to warn others lest they also become the prey of satan and their faith is shipwrecked.  Hold fast to the Word of Life.  It is the anchor and preserver of your soul.

 

Blessings,

#kent

I Never Knew You

August 10, 2017

I Never Knew You

Matthew 7:23

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

How do we know Jesus?  Do we know Him in name only or do we know Him in intimate relationship?  The Greek word for “knew” used here in our verse means to “have knowledge of, perceive and understand.”  It is also the Jewish idiom for sexual relations.  So it carries not the sense of a casual acquaintance, or just knowing about someone.  It is about knowing someone intimately, relationally, up close and personal.  There are many in this nation and world that would identify themselves as “Christians”.  That qualification isn’t often really based on the quality of relationship with the person of Christ.  It may be based on the culture they grew up in, a general belief in God or because they’ve gone to church. 

There is a commercial where a man that has won a great sum of money is suddenly confronted by all of these strangers that are popping up in his life claiming to be related to him.  It is obvious that there motive is based on what they hope to gain from this now rich individual rather than what they can add to his life.  Many people are “Christians” for the same reason.  What can God do for me?  How can He bless me or answer my prayer in time of crisis or need?  The people that really love you aren’t just there for what you can give them; they are there to share in relationship with you.  Both parties are interested in how they might bless and meet the other’s needs.  Obviously in regards to the Lord He has far greater resources than we do, but there are elements by which He identifies those that really love Him and are in relationship with Him.  In John 14:15 Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  Listen as He goes on to explain how this plays into the relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit as well.  “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being [yet] present with you. But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:16-26).”

Jesus also brings out another primary element of relationship and discipleship in John 17:8, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received [them], and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Through these scriptures and many others like them we gain an understanding that ” knowing” Christ is based on faith and obedience to Him and the Word He has given us.  It is about abiding in relationship, communion and fellowship with Him as you would with a close friend or lover. 

Jesus lets us know that there is a general “Christian crowd” out there that really doesn’t know Him. They may have experienced His power, or done things in His name, but they aren’t in relationship with Him.  Let us summarize by expanding on our opening scripture, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:15-23).”  Do we really know Him today? If not, He really wants to know you.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so

Psalms 107:2

Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.

Psalms 104:5-7, “Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.”  We are the redeemed of the Lord who have experienced His unfailing and undeserved goodness, blessing and deliverance in our lives.  If all of us who read this gathered together, how long could we sit and share testimonies and stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness to us.  No doubt the stories could continue for hours if not days, for the Lord has been faithful and true to each one of us, sometimes when we least deserved it.  He has loved us with an everlasting, unfailing and undying love.  Chances are we don’t say enough about the goodness and faithfulness of our God.  We are His redeemed, His Children and the apple of His eye.  Do we bless and profess Him with the testimony of our mouths? Do we lift up His name in the earth and before men that He might be our praise, our banner, our song and exaltation? 

The other day we were strolling through some vendor’s booths at a festival held here in town.  My wife had found some dresses that interested her and we were discussing buying them.  In passing,  she mentioned that she had a helium business.  The lady thought she said healing business.  She began to tell her about these special shaped devices that hang and are supposed to have healing power.  Immediately, Sharon said, “The Lord healed me almost thirty years ago from breast cancer.  He is my healer and I don’t need another.”  Needless to say, the lady didn’t pursue that avenue of conversation further, but she heard the testimony of God’s goodness, because the redeemed of the Lord said so.  I was able to share this same testimony of Sharon’s healing with a spiritual healer that I photographed about a week prior to this.  We have testimonies because we have been through the tests and through it we have experienced God’s hand of faithfulness and deliverance.  We have a story to tell and good news to give as the Lord provides us opportunities to share.  We are the ones that must declare His praise in the earth.  We are on our way to Mount Zion, the City of the living God.  We want to take as many as will listen and respond with us.  The world needs to know our God is not dead, but living, active and the same, “yesterday, today and forever”.  Some of us are going through a trial today where the hand of the enemy is out to destroy us, but God is going to give us a testimony, a story to tell of how He redeemed us from the hand of the enemy.  Some of the things we go through are tough and everything outwardly is telling us, “God has failed, He’s not there, He doesn’t care,” but we must have a single eye to see the faithfulness of our God and trust in His character and in His name.  God wants us to give us a testimony to tell, so that His praise can go out through the earth. 

The Lord is speaking to us today to not be silent anymore.  Romans 10:11-18 tells us, “11The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed.  12[No one] for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The same Lord is Lord over all [of us] and He generously bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him [in faith].

13For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved. 14But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!] 16But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? 

17So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself). 18But I ask, Have they not heard? Indeed they have; [for the Scripture says] Their voice [that of nature bearing God’s message] has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the far bounds of the world.” ” Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”

Blessings,

#kent

Luke 15:1-7

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4″Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Do You Love what God Loves?

I have the joy of photographing many people.  We jokingly tell our clients that we have one rule when they view their photographs.  They can criticize anyone else but themselves.  Why do we say that?  Invariably, the ones we are the most critical and judgmental of is ourselves.  We can see faults and weaknesses in us that no else would even notice or pay attention too.  Self is sometimes the hardest person we have to live with and accept. Sometimes it is hard to love your neighbor as your self, because you don’t really love yourself. 

God sent Jesus Christ to tell you that you have extreme value and worth in His eyes.  We often judge ourselves according to worldly standards of acceptance.  We may hate ourselves because we don’t fit into the right weight class, physical appearance, intellectual ability, race or social –economic status.  There are numerous reasons we may feel condemned and rejected.  We may be struggling with hidden sins or urges we know are perverse or unclean.  We may have done things that we are ashamed of or feel dirty and condemned for.  Do you know why these sinners and publicans liked to hang around Jesus?  It wasn’t because He told them what scumbags and worthless people they were and that they were all going to hell.  They were attracted by the Love.  It was a love that they had never seen or known for themselves.  It was a love that was unconditional and that could look past their sin and shame and see their heart.  It was a love that spoke to them that they were not just refuse and rejects, but that they had value and were precious in the eyes of the Father.  John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”   God didn’t come after us with a big stick.  He came after us with the greatest act of Love ever demonstrated to man.  God isn’t trying to reject you; He is trying to accept you.  We already stand rejected and condemned because of our sin, but God’s love says come to me, trust in My Son and His blood will cover your sin and shame.  His blood, shed for your sin, can wash you as white as snow if you will embrace Him in faith.  God’s heart is to save and redeem a lost and dying world.  It is not His desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and eternal life.  We have a will that He has given us and He will not violate our will.  He doesn’t force us to receive salvation, He simply invites us to receive the provision He has provided for us to be delivered out of the judgement that is already in place for sin and come into His life, receiving His forgiveness. 

Many that have walked in darkness for a time are really sick and tired of it. They realize the emptiness it leaves inside of them.  It is fun for the moment, but then it leaves us feeling unclean, used and worthless.  So we come back to that attitude so many of us have about ourselves, for various reasons.  The truth is that God wants you to love and respect what He loves, and that is you.  His heart beats for you, His arms are open to you and He wants to receive you and transform your life.  It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, the important thing for you to know is that He loves you and He can forgive you if you ask Him too.  Simply give your heart to Him.  Ask Him to forgive those past sins,  to come and live in your heart and to give you His life.  He has a destiny and purpose for your life that you will never know or find in the places of darkness and self –loathing.  It is in His love and His light that He will teach you the path of righteousness and show you the great value that you can have in His kingdom.    

Do you love what God loves?  Isn’t it time that you did? You are the object of His love.

 

Blessings,

#kent

August 7, 2017

Making Healthy Choices

Joshua 24:15

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Life is made up of a series of choices we make everyday.  Much like what we choose to eat, our lives eventually begin to show forth physically the fruit of what we have eaten or not eaten.  One or two good choices or bad choices do not determine our fate, it is the overall direction that we go with a pattern of decision making that really begins to define who we are outwardly and who we are inwardly. 

The best and the healthiest choice any of us made was when we asked Christ to come into our hearts and be our Lord and Savior.  That should have began us down a path and a pattern of making much more healthy choices for ourselves and those for whom we are responsible.  Why do we read God’s Word, why do we pray, why do we listen to sermons and the messages that come out of those who speak God’s Word to the Church?  Isn’t it because we want the mind of Christ to make healthy choices and right decisions?  We know that over time these choices will define our life, who we are and what we are with regards to the Kingdom of God. 

Let’s be honest, most of us like junk food and fast food.  I’m certainly no exception there.  We are educated enough to know that a steady diet of this kind of food will result in an unhealthy end.  Some of us are already experiencing the effects of those types of choices.  And we can’t turn around and sue God because He made them available to us.  All of our choices have consequences and we bear the responsibility for those choices.  They can be good or bad depending on what they produce.  One of the greatest gifts or curses God gave to man was the right and ability to make their own choices.

Joshua is saying in our verse today to the children of Israel, you all have to make a choice about who you want to serve in life.  If it doesn’t seem good to you to really serve the Lord, then you can choose other gods, whether that be another religion or the god of self, or some other god, “but as for me and my house (those I’m responsible for) we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua had made his choice long before he ever spoke these words and his life was the result of the choices he had made.  We all have to make our own choices in life and consequently we all have to answer for them rather in this life or that which is come. 

Are you making healthy choices spiritually today?  Are Christ, His Word, His Truth, His Life and His Ways what you are feeding on daily?  I believe God has given us this life to enjoy His blessings and the goodness around us, but if we have chose Him and continue to choose Him, then all of our other choices will be centered in His will and purpose for us and not our own.  “For in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).”   May the Lord help each of us daily to make healthy choices in every arena of life so that our lives may be blessed and we may be partakers of all the goodness He has for us.

 

Blessings,

#Kent

Light and Truth

August 4, 2017

Psalms 119:97-105

Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.

100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.

101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.

102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.

103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Light and Truth

Light and truth are ways of life to the believer.  They both illuminate the way and guide the steps of your feet so that you do not stumble.  We walk in a world that is full of darkness and pitfalls so it is essential that we keep light and truth before us so that we do not stumble and fall into error and sin. 

The Lord will establish our ways if we walk in His principles and precepts.  Every day we want to put His Word before us and absorb His truth into us.  We don’t want just a mental ascent to the truth or of the truth, we want that truth to become substance within us.  It is so easy for us to become like the man described in the book of James 1: 22-25, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”  This is God’s intent for our lives and what we must endeavor to practice. 

The Holy Spirit has been given to lead us into all truth, but truth is like building stones, they have to be built one upon another.  If we fail to establish truth in one area, then there is no sure foundation to support deeper and higher truth.  There is a breech in our wall that becomes a place of weakness and access for the enemy of our soul.  Our building will go askew and will not follow the design of the Master Builder.  God’s Word is truth; therefore we continually go back to the Word that orders our steps in the ways of righteousness and life.  2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Truth is not just about learning or gaining knowledge, but about implementing the knowledge and fear of the Lord into your life and daily walk.  Paul warns Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-9 about the mindset of how many will think in the last days.  “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” 

True salvation and a relationship with Christ have nothing to do with how much you know about the truth, it has to do with how much you are experiencing and walking in the truth.  Truth is like that holy meat taken from the altar, it is not the touching or contact with it that sanctifies and makes you holy.  It is the partaking of it, so that it becomes flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone.  Truth is not something we are just learning about; it is what we are becoming. 

 

Blessings,

#kent

%d bloggers like this: