Everything We Need

September 21, 2017

Everything We Need

2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

It goes without saying that we as people and as children of God specifically, all struggle with our problems and issues.  They can come in many shapes, sizes, colors and varieties.  As many and varied as they can be, God’s has an answer for them.  When you meditate upon our scripture today, the power and potential of what is said here is almost unimaginable. 

I have to admit that far too many times I am an expert at seeing my glass half empty.  I can see all of the reasons why something won’t work or why I can’t accomplish it, but that is a pessimistic point of view.  We can look at our lives and problems much the same way and determine this is just the cross I have to bear or we can begin to lay hold of the potential powerhouse of the God that has given us all that we need for life and godliness and that Christ has already hung the cross for us to provide us with the very great and precious promises that are ours in Him.

How do we lay hold of that “all that we need”?  It says it is “through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness”.  In order for us to truly comprehend and lay hold of who we are and what we have, we have to have knowledge (precise and correct knowledge of those things ethical and divine) of Him. 

You get a flat tire going down the road, you are in the middle of nowhere and no one else is around.  Now if you don’t know that you have a jack and spare tire, then you are stuck where you are at.  And even if you know that you have it, but you don’t have the slightest idea of how to use it, then you are really no better off.  We have heard that we all have these things that pertain to life and godliness and yet many of us have little clue as to how we can lay hold of them and apply them to our life situations.  As a result we get stuck in our ruts and our problems never get resolved.  How many of us are setting along the roadside of life with flat tires?  The thing is, we have the resources to fix the problem, but we need the knowledge of how to do it.  We have the Holy Spirit of God inside of us and within the short reach of most of us there is a Holy Bible, the instruction manual of God’s Word.  If I don’t know how to change a tire, but I have an owners manual that will walk me through it and give me examples and illustrations, then I’m pretty much a fool if I don’t attempt to try to put that knowledge into practice and resolve my problem.  On the other hand I may say, “I don’t understand that stuff”, besides that, “it’s not really even my car, it’s my husband’s car, “besides that “I have my good clothes on” and besides that, “I’ll just pray and ask God to send somebody else to do it for me.”  In affect, isn’t that how we approach a good many of our problems in life?  If we don’t want to solve our problems, God says it isn’t because I haven’t given you the resources; they are all yours, but you have to Know Me to know how to put them into affect.  Along with that knowledge we need the “will and do” of His good desire for us.  The more we know the Lord, not only are we going to know what we have, but who we are.   What does this knowledge of Him empower us to do and be?  4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  He is saying that He has given you and I the power to put on Christ, the divine nature, and put off sin, the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.  The basics of being a successful Christian is in knowing who you are and what you have.  That comes through knowledge, gained through intimate relationship and understanding, both mentally and spiritually of who you are in Christ.  The biggest reason we are broken down beside the road is because we still haven’t really traded that old Junker in for the vehicle that God wants to put us in.  His vehicle runs on a whole different set of laws and dynamics than the old one and you need to “know Him” to understand how they work.  We have all that we need, we just need to know and learn how to use it.

 

Blessings,

#kent

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John 4:1-3

The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

The Journey is as Important as the Destination

Here is a scripture that we often read right over and don’t really think about as being significant.  There are events that happen in life that cause us to go from destination to destination.  Often, especially as men, we become only focused upon the destination and not the journey.  As Christians our ultimate destination is heaven and eternal life in Christ Jesus.  If that is all that we see then we will miss the importance of the journey that takes us there.

In John 4 it as Jesus is traveling to the destination of Galilee, He passes through Samaria and encounters the woman at the well.  That encounter was a life changing moment for this woman and for her entire town.  Most all of the miracles and works that Jesus did were while He was on His way from one place to another.  It is important for us to not only focus on our destination, but to be open to the Holy Spirit’s work and movement through us as we journey to our destination.  The journey is where we grow in experience and exercise of where we are going too.  Divine providence often accompanies us upon our journeys and it is important that we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He brings people into our lives that may just seem an inconvenience and annoyance to us.  The Lord has just brought to mind a story I recently read that illustrates this very thing.  I believe it is His purpose today to share this with you.

HAIRBRUSH EXPERIENCE OF BETH MOORE AT THE AIRPORT

      For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.

This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane. I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord.  I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least

of which is your ego.

  I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight.  Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier.  His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair

hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back.  His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face.  As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I’d just had a Howard Hughes sighting.  Then, I remembered that he was dead.  So this man in the airport… An impersonator maybe?  Was a camera on somewhere?  There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let’s admit it.  Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern,and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.

I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall.I’ve learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my

spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. ‘Oh, no, God, please,no.’ I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, ‘Don’t make me witness to this man.  Not right here and now.  Please.  I’ll do anything.  Put me on the same plane, but don’t make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience.  Please, Lord!’ There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, ‘Please don’t make me witness to this man.  Not now.  I’ll do it on the plane.’Then I heard it….’I don’t want you to witness to him.  I want you to brush his hair.’

The words were so clear, my heart leap into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top.  Do I witness to the man or brush his hair?  No-brainier.  I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, ‘God,as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I’m on this Lord.  I’m your girl!  You’ve never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life.  What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed?  I am going to witness to this man.’

Again as clearly as I’ve ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. ‘That is not what I said,Beth.  I don’t want you to witness to him.  I want you to go brush his hair.’

I looked up at God and quipped, ‘I don’t have a hairbrush.  It’s in my suitcase on the plane.  How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?’  God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God’s word: ‘I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies.  I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, ‘Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’

He looked back at me and said, ‘What did you say?’

‘May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’ To which he responded in volume ten, ‘Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you’re going to have to talk louder than that’

At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, ‘SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?’  At which point every eye in the place darted right at me.  I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Long Locks.  Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, ‘If you really want to.’

Are you kidding? Of course I didn’t want to.  But God didn’t seem interested in my personal preference right about then.  He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, ‘Yes, sir, I would be pleased.  But I have one little problem.  I don’t have a hairbrush.’

‘I have one in my bag,’ he responded.

I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger’s old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing.  I stood up and started brushing the old man’s hair.  It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted.  I don’t do many things well, but must admit I’ve had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls.  Like I’d done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands,remembering to take my time not to pull.  A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man’s hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared.  There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me.  I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair.  I know this soun ds so strange, but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life.  I believe with all my heart, I – for that few minutes – felt a portion of the very

love of God.  That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.

The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God’s.  His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant’s. I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him.  I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said,’Sir, do you know my Jesus?’

He said, ‘Yes, I do’

Well, that figures, I thought.

He explained, ‘I’ve known Him since I married my bride.  She

wouldn’t marry me until I got to know the Savior.’  He said, ‘You see, the problem is, I haven’t seen my bride in months.  I’ve had open-heart surgery, and she’s been too ill to come see me.  I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.’

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we’re completely unaware of the significance.  This, on the other hand,was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known.  It was a God moment, and I’ll never forget it.

Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane.  I was deeply ashamed of how I’d acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.

I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks.  She said, ‘That old man’s sitting on the plane, sobbing.  Why did you do that?  What made you do that?’

I said, ‘Do you know Jesus?  He can be the bossiest thing!’

And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day.  He knows if you’re exhausted,you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge.  He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected.  He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation.  Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed.  He sees you as an individual.  Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way … all because I didn’t want people to think I was strange.  God didn’t send me to that old man.  He sent that old man to me.

John 1:14 ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,full of grace and truth’

Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting,’Wow!  What a ride!  Thank You, Lord!’

Blessings,

#kent

Overcoming Temptation

September 19, 2017

1 Peter 5:8

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Overcoming Temptation

If you have an enemy or an opponent that you are up against what is it that you must do to defeat them?  Obviously you won’t assault them in their strengths; you will look for their weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  This is how satan stalks us, looking for our weaknesses and vulnerabilities where he might find entrance and gain ground to ultimately defeat and destroy us.  Jesus is very clear about the purpose of the enemy and His purpose in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”  Satan’s purpose and mission is to take us out.  Knowing this the Word exhorts us to be self-controlled and alert.  I took the time to look up the root meaning of the Greek words that were used here and basically it is telling us to not get caught up in our passions and  feelings, but to always be looking at ourselves objectively and with introspection.  In other words let the spirit man judge your intent, actions and life.  Be prudent and wise in all of the decisions and choices that you make.  Consider the consequences of all that you do.   How many of us have wanted to do something so bad that we just shut out the voices of reason and restraint and just did it anyway.  It was great for the moment, but then at some point the consequences of our actions caught up with us and we may have later greatly regretted that action or decision, but we can’t ever take it back.  The enemy is always out to ensnare and entrap you.  Jesus says, “be wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.”  You have to understand the mind and intent of your adversary and guard your heart, so that you don’t stumble into the temptations that are placed before you. 

There are those times we find ourselves head to head with our adversary. There is a wrestling and a battle going on.  This is where we must resist and oppose the strong urges of temptation and sin.  James 4:7 exhorts us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  2 Timothy 2:22-23 exhorts us, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

This is our strategy for opposing our adversary.  We don’t sit and reason with him, we oppose him and flee from his temptations.  If we start to reason and rationalize our mind will justify our actions.  The enemy is like that prostitute that wants to woo us into sin.  Proverbs 7 describes her very well and the end of her ways is the grave and the pathway to hell.   

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11-12)”

 

Blessings,

#kent

Bridge over Troubled Waters

September 18, 2017

Bridge over Troubled Waters

John 14:1

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Our hearts are often burdened and troubled with many things, our children, our marriage, our loved ones, our finances, our health and the list goes on.  Jesus tells us this is a part of this earthly life.  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)” It is true to the selfless nature of Christ that in the last hours before His apprehension and subsequent crucifixion Jesus is not trying to find comfort for Himself, He is instead comforting and reassuring His disciples, preparing them for what is to come.  In our lives we will come to these crossroads of great tribulation when our world will get turned upside down.  It will be hard to make sense out of the devastation that we feel and heartache we may incur, but Jesus wants us to know that He has not forsaken us in these times.  The Holy Spirit has been given to us to be our comforter, our peace, our reassurance that God has not left us or forsaken us.  Our Father doesn’t rescue us from all of the tragedies of life.  We are destined to walk through them and the consequences that sin has had in the earth.  The peace we have is that our Christ lives in us.  He is the source and the resource of our ability to walk through the fires and trials of life and not have the smell of smoke upon us.  Invariably our first inclination is to begin reasoning and fighting in the power of our flesh, but our salvation is not in us, it is in Him.  It is entering into the rest of our God and knowing ‘He is working all things to the good of them that love Him and that are called according to His purpose.’  Our peace comes only as we enter into that place of faith and trust.  We know that we serve a great God, who is sovereign over all the earth and the affairs of men and while God doesn’t always change the course of history or events for our particular circumstances, that doesn’t mean He isn’t at work in them.  We get so nervous when we are not in the driver’s seat, but God is well able to guide and direct our situation far better than we are.  When Job was met with the tremendous tragedies that took his children, his wealth and his health, was he effected emotionally?  You bet that he was  What made the difference with Job is that he knew life was not about the things of this earth, it was about his relationship with the Father.  Job 1:20-22,”20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. [c] The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”  How different from so many today who face trials only to blame God and turn away from him because He let these bad things happen to seemingly good people.  Even as the second set of trials were laid upon Job with the afflictions of his flesh, his response bore out his rest and full relinquishment of his life to God.  Job 2:7-10, “7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish  woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” 

Our peace in the midst of our tribulation comes from not being devastated by what is happening without, but by turning within.  It is by worshipping our God in the midst of trials, by placing ourselves fully within His hands to perform whatever it is He would work out through what we may only see as evil.  He is our ark of safety, our fortress, our high tower, our shield and buckler.  The Overcomer dwells within us.  He has conquered death and the grave; He ever lives to make intercession our behalf.  If our eyes and our heart are upon Him, then we are already looking at our victory regardless of what is happening without. 

Is your heart troubled today?  We have become anxious about many things.  Perhaps we are angry with others because they are not doing something to help us.  Martha was upset with Mary, her sister, because she was setting at the feet of Jesus feeding off of His words, rather than helping with the natural food preparation.  Complaining to Jesus, He tells her, ““Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” Instead of being anxious, we also need to choose the one thing that is needed, which is feeding off of the Word of God and sitting in His presence.  If you need that peace today, you will find it there in His presence as you rest in Him.  He is that bridge over troubled waters.

Blessings,

 

#kent

 

Romans 5:6-8

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

God Loves Us Even when We are Ugly

Isn’t it wonderful that God didn’t just limit His love and grace to the few us humans that are cute and cuddly?  He didn’t just love us when we loved Him and didn’t withhold His greatest expression of love toward us even when we least deserved or merited it. 

Have you ever been around someone that was hard to love and get along with?  On any given day that could probably apply to any one of us.  We can all have our ugly times and our ugly ways.  Then there are some with which it has become a way of life.  You know the ironic thing is that it is usually with the people that we love the most that we are often the most ugly.   We can be ripping our spouse or children up all-day and then come to a stranger and be perfectly nice and polite. 

Why is that?  Perhaps it is because we feel safe venting our anger, frustration and anxieties upon the ones that we love because we feel we are safe doing it with them.  Maybe it is because the ones we “love” aren’t meeting our expectations or living up to our standards.  Perhaps we feel those loved ones will still love me even when my raw side is showing.  Unfortunately, what was maybe a once-in-a-while bad hair day, can become a habitual bad hair life.  We can become abusive on a continual basis to the ones we should love and respect the most.  It may be our husband, our wife, our children, parents, family or friends. 

There is a great lesson here as we look at God’s love.  We see His love is unconditional and that He did love us in spite of our inward ugliness.  He teaches us to be the same in our love for others.  We see it coming through in the attributes of His Holy Spirit, love, joy, longsuffering, self-control, kindness, goodness, peace, meekness, faith and gentleness.  As His people, these attributes should be an ever-increasing part of our lives.  When others are ugly toward us we have to look with the eyes of the Spirit into their hearts and ask why is this person hurting so bad that they treat others this way? Is there anything I can do in Christ to minister and help to heal those inner hurts, wounds and scars? 

In our closer personal relationships perhaps we may be reaping in our loved one seeds of discontent and strife that we have sown by our own actions or insensitivity.  Perhaps we have played a big part in why this loved one has become that not so lovely person.  What do we need to do out of the love of Christ and the love we have for them to change our dynamics toward them to relieve these angry and resentful feelings that they may be expressing?  So often anger and emotion keep us from coming to a resolution of our issues.  Sometimes the expression of our anger and emotion only serve to drive those we love further away from us and cause them to withdraw.  You will never bring the head of a turtle out of his shell when he knows he is going to get clubbed as soon as He shows it.  We need a truce, a cease-fire and to lay our emotions aside.  We need to reconcile ourselves through the love of God to really hear and respond to the issues of the heart.  Most all of us are creatures of habits and it may be those habits that are a constant source of irritation and dysfunction.  Let us love one another enough to change those habits and behaviors for their sake and to help them become that lovely person again that we once knew. 

What is love?  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  Let us love one another as God in Christ has so loved us.

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Heart of a Servant

September 14, 2017

The Heart of a Servant

Luke 22:25-27

And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. “For who is greater, the one who reclines {at the table} or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines {at the table?} But I am among you as the one who serves.”

The economy of the Kingdom of God works under different principles than that of the world.  In this passage Jesus makes lordship and the place of a servant a case and point.  In the world we are taught and value that the one who has the greatest wealth, power, dominion and authority is the greatest.  People bow down and worship and admire earthly dignitaries, celebrities and those of world renown.  The disciples arguing about the position and greatness in heaven prompt the remarks that Jesus made here.  Jesus is saying the Kingdom of God doesn’t work like that.  In that place there is only One who is sovereign and Lord of all.  Their greatness, their worthiness or their leadership qualities do not establish those that rule under Him; they are established by their heart as a servant.  For him that would be great in the Kingdom of God, the first order of service and servitude is vertical toward the Almighty Himself, inclusive of Christ, the King of Kings.

If our hearts are not first right before Him it is doubtful that they will be fully right before others.  Deuteronomy 10: 12 says, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”  Jesus declares that this is the first and great commandment. This expresses our worship and service to God, which is foremost and utmost in the heart of a believer.  Then Jesus goes on in Matthew 22:39-40 to express the horizontal aspect of a servant of God, “And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The apostle Paul expresses it like this in Galatians 5:13, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”  The call of God on our lives is not first a call to greatness, it a call to service.  We are called to, “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)”

Indeed our God has called us to greatness, but it is not the way of man, it is the way of the cross.  It is the place where we loose ourselves in the pursuit of being and doing what our God values of importance.  As we come to see even in these two great commandments that He gives they are represented in the vertical and horizontal aspects of the cross, which looks up to God as we reach out to our fellow man.  The crossroad and the intersection of the cross takes place in the heart of each one of our lives as the love of God is expressed through us even as it was through His Son.  We die to ourselves that others may live.  Paul expresses it in 2 Corinthians 5:13-17, “For whether we be beside ourselves, [it is] to God: or whether we be sober, [it is] for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more. Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

For us to truly possess the heart of a servant there has to be an exchange of our heart for His.  We cease to see and judge men outwardly, but we begin to look into their inward man.  What is the true need and heart cry of each individual and how can we be God’s instrument in meeting that need.  The Lord would have us develop sensitivity in each of us to those within and without the body of Christ.  The way up to greatness is the way down.  Sometimes to find the highest heaven you must be willing to tread through the lowest hell.  Remember even Christ, the King of Kings, took upon Himself the form of a servant. He tasted death and experienced hell for us that He might set the captives free, bring liberty in place of bondage, and through selfless love lift us to be joint heirs with Him.   Would you be great?  Then we need the heart of a servant.  “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all.

(Mark 9:35)”  ” And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark10:44-45).”

Blessings,

#kent

Walking in Truth

September 13, 2017

3 John 2-4

Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.  For I rejoiced greatly, when brethren came and bare witness unto thy truth, even as thou walkest in truth.  Greater joy have I none than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

Walking in Truth

What is truth but the Word of God and that which is true to that Word.  We know that Jesus Christ is Truth because He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)” We are a people called in Christ to Truth.  Truth is the nature and character of God and when we put on and walk in truth we are walking in the integrity and character of our Lord.  In order to be conformed to the truth we can’t think as the natural man thinks or even reason with conventional wisdom.  The truth of God doesn’t fit well in that paradigm.  This is why we are a called out people and a people separated unto God.   The world that we live in and the way of its thinking isn’t truth, because John 3:19-21 says, “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, lest his works should be reproved.  But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God.”  God is looking among us for Truth lovers, those that esteem His Word as better than life.  Nothing pleases the Father like those who hold fast to the Truth.  Truth is the light in which there is no darkness or shadow of turning.  It is manifesting the glory of His life.  It is the road that we are on and the destination of our being.  This is why we covet the fellowship of the Spirit within us because He is the One that will lead us into all Truth.  John 16: 13 says, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He shall guide you into all the truth: for He shall not speak from Himself; but what things so ever He shall hear, these shall He speak: and He shall glorify Me: for He shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you.” Truth is the possession we most want to lay hold of because it leads out of darkness and into His marvelous light.  As we walk by the Spirit we walk in Truth.  In God’s Truth lies our redemption, our wisdom and our grounds for fellowship with the Almighty.  God delights in those who delight in His Truth.  Are we like these ones spoken of in John 3 who walk in the Truth?

 

Blessings,

#kent

Failures that don’t end in Defeat

Micah 7:7-10

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. 9 Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.

We have all known times of failure in our life and most of us have experienced the Lord’s rod of correction.  There are times when we have stubbornly pursued our own interests and pleasures to only find bitterness and sorrow at the end of what we thought we had to have.  Our sin has consequences and many of us can testify of the great pain and suffering we have had to endure because of our foolish disobedience. 

In those moments of failure, when the house that we have built upon the sand is washed away, we may stand in utter shame and humiliation that we have come to this point in our lives.  We may almost think the world and the ones that we loved would be better off without us.  We have had to fully confront our iniquity and the failure which has resulted from it.  How can we even face God or the ones who loved and respected us?   We see failure written all over us, what do we have to live for and have to offer now? 

Our scripture today is one of hope and encouragement to the person who feels like a failure. In this scripture we have a nation of God that failed Him and had to suffer the reproach and the discipline of His correction.  The one thing we have to know about our God is though He will discipline us; He will never stop loving us.  He has a tender heart for the one who is truly repentant and will set their heart upon Him again.  After all, that is what discipline is for, to show us the error of our ways and bring us back to righteousness.  No matter how low we go, God never stops loving us, but a man without hope or faith is dead.  Without hope there is no way but down.  Hope causes us to look up into the loving eyes and heart of our Heavenly Father and say; “Can you still use this broken pot?”  It is our hope and faith in the Lord that believes that though we sit in darkness the Lord will be our light.  Christ will plead our cause and will be our advocate.  He will lift me again out of my place of darkness and bring me back into the light of His salvation.  All those who cursed me and judged me will be put to shame for though I was defeated I don’t have to fail.  The Lord is our victory and He is our good success.  When we were willing, through repentance, to relinquish the failure that we were; God begins to form a new man fashioned in the form of victory and uprightness.  He is a man that rises out of the ashes of failure to find victory and purpose again in His God. 

Only God can take our failures and defeats and turn them for good.  When our enemies think they have nailed our coffin shut, then God will raise us up to their shame.  You can trust that it won’t be in our time, it will be in His time.  No matter how bad we mess up and no matter how bad we fail God, our loved ones and even ourselves, all hope is not lost if we will put our eyes back on Jesus.  His love and forgiveness can reach into the deepest hell and depravity and set the captive free.    No one else and no other God can do that but Him.  Our failures don’t have to end in defeat, in fact they may be what bring us to our ultimate victory in Christ and our enemies will be put to shame before us. God can still brings us back into the light of His salvation and grace.  ‘As long as there is life, there is hope.’

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Good Shepherd

September 11, 2017

Psalms 23:1

The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Good Shepherd

The Lord is sufficient for every need that we have.  One of the hardest things for us to do at times is to lie down in green pastures when in our perception is, all there is dead grass.  One of the most important things that the Lord wants to teach all of us is to rest in Him.  That is hard to process when the natural world around us is falling apart, bills need to be paid, physical afflictions are besetting us.  It is hard for us to rest when our children are in rebellion or jepordy, our spouse is leaving us or that special someone is in critical condition. 

God is not in our fears, He is in our faith and faith causes us to rest when everyone else is franticly trying to do something to solve the problem.  Some problems are out of our control.  They are bigger than we are and there is nothing else we can do except believe and trust in the Lord.  We can never put God in a box and say if I just do this, then He will do that.  Sometimes He doesn’t rescue us out of our disasters, but He will always be there with us as we go through them.  Sometimes God works through miracles and sometimes it is through our hard life experiences.  The important place for us to be is in the Shepherds arms.  The Psalmist David rested in the profound truth that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He knew from the experience of being a shepherd that a good shepherd would always act in the best interest of His sheep.  Sometimes that meant rescuing them out of trouble and sometimes it might mean breaking their leg, so that they would learn not to stray.  Whatever was necessary the shepherd would act out of his love for the sheep.  They were an extension of him and his purpose, just as we are an extension of Christ and His purpose. 

Today, the good Shepherd is watching over you.  If you truly believe and rest in Him, then you shall not want.  ‘He is able to meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory.’  “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

 

Blessings,

#kent

An Act of Obedience

September 8, 2017

1 King 17:8-16

Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

12 “As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.’ ”

15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.

An Act of Obedience

When Elijah came to this widow woman he asked of her a very hard thing, “take the only food you have and feed me first.”  I guess her only other recourse was to feed it to her and her son and then die.  Often our obedience is an act of faith.  It is something that doesn’t make sense to the natural mind and it may even seem foolish.  Nevertheless, if the Holy Spirit is speaking to us do something then we must obey.  That obedience is our seed faith that will produce the miracle that we need.  Sometimes the hardest thing the Lord requires of us is to let go of something that we consider our security and our life.  If this woman had never given what she lacked most, she never would have experienced God’s never-ending supply.

I am the kind of guy that always sees my needs as greater than my resources.  If my needs are not greater right now then I am sure they will be down the road, so I better hold on tight and not let go of what I get when times are good.   If I am my supply then I will always be in want, but if God is my supply, even in hard times I will have enough.  Our obedience in giving to the Lord is an expression of our trust that He is our supply.  We must remain continually mindful that our lives are simply a stewardship of God’s gift and provisions.  It is all His, but He has given us dominion over it.  Most of us have learned that a river flows fresh when it allows what flows into it to flow out of it, but if the water collects and stands it grows stagnant and putrid.  May we be obedient to allow God’s life and provisions to flow through us as He directs.   We are blessed, as we become the blessing.  May we maintain an open hand and an open heart of obedience unto Him.

 

Blessings,

#kent

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