The Wisdom of Application

November 30, 2011

The Wisdom of Application

Matthew 7:24-27
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

We have learned in life that to be successful at any endeavor or business, first you have to learn the principles of how to successfully work it, but if you learn those principles and never put them into application then you are doomed to failure.  Our Christian walk and life is really no different in that respect.  Many of us have set under the Word of God for years.  We have heard, read and seen more preaching, sermons and the Word than most will ever be privileged to know.  We are rich in the principles and resources of the Word, but are we as rich in the application of it.  Nearly every day the Lord is giving a precious Word from His Spirit, I hear it, write it, read it, but how much of it do I apply even to my own life?  With the knowledge and revelation that God gives us comes the responsibility to walk in the light of that truth.  I imagine there are times when we all look at our lives and some of our actions and ungodly ways and think what hypocrites we are.  Are we just pretenders of the faith?  Do we really embrace with all our heart and soul all that we say we believe?  Is it in our actions, words and deeds or simply the rhetoric of our speech and head knowledge?  What we know and understand, somehow, has to become substance in us if it is to produce life or we are as dead as the Pharisees and Sadducees of old.  Our self-righteous judgments we make on others, because we think we are so spiritual, will one day come back to judge us who say we have the truth, but then don’t walk in it.  Are we wise or foolish men and women today?  Are we building on rock or sand?  The day of testing and fire will determine it.  We can say amen to a good word all day long, but it is not our mental assent that is the proof of the pudding. It is the application of God’s Word and principles to our daily lives; that is where the rubber meets the road.  Husband, how do you respond when the wife is yelling at you and angry with you for something you did or failed to do?  Wife how do you respond when you are taken for granted or abused in some manor?  How do we deal with our everyday real life issues?  Are we filtering these through our flesh or our spirit?  Are we looking to give godly application and responses to our everyday circumstances?
The Lord once spoke to my wife and told her a spiritual walk and godliness is like playing the piano; you have to practice it over and over and over again till you get it right.  The problem isn’t that we don’t always get it right and that we make mistakes, the problem is when we know the notes, but we don’t want to practice applying them to the keys.  An accomplished pianist isn’t one who just knows the notes; it is one who knows how to translate those notes to a keyboard in the way they were intended to be heard.  This is what we must do with our faith if people around us are to truly see Christ in us.  I use to hate practicing piano.  I would much rater be playing.  Many of us try to learn just enough to get by and we become content with a mediocre faith and walk.  God is looking for a people that are hearers and doers, who are willing to pay the price to become accomplished in their Christian walk.  The Holy Spirit will help you, but He won’t do it for you.  We must make those choices and submit to His tutoring each step of the way, only then can we not only talk the talk, but we can walk the walk.  Are we learning the wisdom of application today or are we foolishly learning, but never able to come the full knowledge and application of the Truth?

Blessings,
kent

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Faith has Revealed its Sons

November 29, 2011

Galatians 3:23-29
Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
6You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Faith has Revealed its Sons

It is our faith in Christ Jesus that set us free from a law of sin and death and brought us into the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.  If we are still operating out of a mindset of being good enough or working hard enough to win God’s favor then we are operating under the law and not “in Christ”.  “In Christ” we have been baptized into a death of our former life and way of thinking and doing.  When we were brought up out of that  water or death, we became a new creature, born after the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.  In this place we please God and walk in righteousness because that is who we are in Him, not what we are any longer striving to be.  We do good works because that is now our nature, not so we can earn God’s acceptance, because we know that He has already accepted us in Christ.  When we come into the revelation of our identity in Christ we understand it is not about the old man trying to become the new man.  We are already the new man, sons of God, that walk in the faith of what the Word of God says we are and are becoming.
Some of us are confused because we don’t see ourselves this way, we don’t feel that way, we still struggle with the flesh.  One thing we have to realize is that an old identity is daily put upon the cross.  What satan has perpetrated upon Adam is the thing he still trying to perpetrate on us.  He is a great at identity theft.  He always tries to make you believe who your are not.  If he can succeed in that He will bring you again under that law of sin and death.  This is what was happening to the Galatians.  They had come into the liberty of Christ and now Judeaizer were attempting to rob that identity away from them and bring them again into bondage of the law.  It happens all of the time.  Satan is always feeding us the lie.  What we have to become so proficient in, is knowing, believing and operating out of what the Word of God says about us and not we see, think, feel or experience in outward circumstances.
What happens to us so often?  We forget our identity.  We mess up, fall short and fail.  Now what happens?  Condemnation comes in to call us failure, worthless, sinner, unworthy and just the same sinner we have always been.  Now, we can accept that and bring ourselves again under the law of sin and death or we can acknowledge our sin before God, ask His forgiveness and the cleansing of the blood of Jesus and know that we know that we are cleansed from all unrighteousness.  Then we continue on as a son, not as a servant or one tutored any longer under the law.  We fix our eyes back on the identity of who we are and continue by faith and reliance upon the Holy Spirit to walk in that identity.  God knows we all make our share of mistakes and that may be a mud puddle we step in from time to time, but we certainly don’t want to live there.  Let’s clean ourselves up in the blood of Jesus, repent of our sins and move on in the righteousness that Christ died to impart into us.  It is not about how good we are.  It is the goodness of Christ that gives me right standing before the Father and that is through no ability or goodness of my own.  It is faith in His finished work that enables me to become the fulfillment of the good work He began in me.  In Philippians 3:6 Paul tells the believers, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  We must maintain that same confidence, not in our ability or strength of the natural man, but in the ability of Christ in us.
Be confident in who you are.  Declare the scripture that affirms your identity over you and ‘let God be true and every man a liar.’  It is your faith that reveals you as a son.

Blessings,
kent

Gospel of the Kingdom

November 28, 2011

Matthew 6:9-10
“This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Gospel of the Kingdom

In Matthew 24:14 Jesus tells His disciples, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”  Often the gospel (meaning good news) of salvation is preached as the gospel of the kingdom.  Matthew 4:23 tells us, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”  What Jesus taught was not just the salvation message of ‘receive me as your Savior and you shall be saved.’ I don’t mean to demean that message in anyway, for indeed it is our entrance into the kingdom.  He taught the gospel of the kingdom which was a whole new paradigm in the way we think, perceive and respond to the Father.  He taught us that it is not being conformed to this world as Romans 12 teaches us, but being transformed through the renewing of our minds.
The entrance into the kingdom of God is through faith in Christ, but the message of the kingdom only begins there.  Romans 10:8-13 tells us plainly, “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The Word teaches us that if we sincerely confess Jesus is the Lord, Messiah and Savior and believe by faith in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead we will be saved.  It is not dependent upon how good we are, what works we have or have not done or any other priest or advocate to help us be saved.  It is just between our confession of faith and the Lord Himself.  He hears and receives that prayer of faith.  That is our entrance into the kingdom of God.
Once we enter into His kingdom then we experience and begin to lay hold of the gospel or good news of the kingdom.  It is a translation of our lives out of sin and darkness and into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love.  In spiritual reality our former lives of sin were crucified with Christ and we have been raised up in the righteousness of Christ in His resurrection.
Colossians 3:1-17 is a brief example of this gospel of the kingdom concept.  “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
When I pray the Lord’s prayer now I am not just praying that God’s kingdom come and His will be done in this whole earth, which I believe it ultimately shall.  I pray more personally, “Lord, let your kingdom come and Your will be done in this earthen man that I am.  First transform me with Your will and purpose.  As you and I are filled with His kingdom concepts and realities in our lives, we then become what the Father uses to dispense His kingdom in the earth till every last one hears, sees and knows its reality in us.  Then shall the end come.
We are not just to preach the gospel, but we are to become the kingdom of God in the earth.  Where the kingdom reigns there is power and authority evidenced.  Our lives are the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Blessings,
kent

The Kingdom Given

November 25, 2011

Luke 12:32
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

The Kingdom Given

In Christ Jesus believers have been given the kingdom of God.  In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus says,  “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”  The kingdom of God is much like receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, faith is the hand that reaches out and receives it.  Just as a gift given is not really received until it is accepted, unwrapped and possessed by the recipient.  The kingdom of God is much the same way.  It is ours in Christ, but we have perceived it to be just a realm reserved for us when we die and go to heaven.  If that is the case, why did Jesus tell us in the prior verses to seek first the kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you?  Jesus made it apparent that there is a “now” kingdom for us to possess and live into.  We so often get it backwards.  We put the kingdom secondary to our lives, our pursuits, our desires and our goals of becoming successful by wordly standards.  Yet , Jesus tells us to seek FIRST the kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you.
Abraham was taken up and God showed him the nation that he was to inherit.  He received it then by promise, but it was some hundreds of years later that the Isrealites, as a nation entered in and possessed their inheritance.   What was always the hindering factor to their possessing their kingdom?  They were always getting their eyes off of God and on to other things. Their unbelief robbed them of their posssession.  The same thing we do today.
I believe God is looking for a people in us that are so passionate about His kingdom that nothing less will do.  He is not looking for people with an appearance of spirituality, that are religious or that are good at playing church.  He is looking for a Church who is passionate about possessing His kingdom and all that is contained therein, but they have to have the heart to always seek that first. It is not God that is keeping the kingdom from us.  It is His good pleasure to give it to us, but is it in our hearts to enter in and fully possess it?  Just as church is not some building we have to go to several times a week, it is who we are.  If we never have the revelation or faith to believe what we are, how can we ever have the faith to become who we are?
We are are God’s kingdom in Christ Jesus, but “in”  means we are into Him and not ourselves. It means that life is first and always about “Him” and not just about me. Kingdom is a place where you live and most of us are content just to visit occasionally.  Kingdom is a state of mind, as state faith and a state of being.  It is the paradigm and the mindset we live in as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus, into kingdom thinking and living.  We begin grasp who we are as Sons and come to realize all that we have been trying to be good enough to attain is already ours.  God has already given it to us in Christ and now we are to simply live out of what He has already put inside of us.  What has He put inside of us?  Is not His own Spirit!   What does He tell us in Romans 8:13-17?  “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  What is the kingdom of God?  Romans 17:18-19 tells us, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.”  It is not about the external things, it is about the inward relationship of our lives hidden in Christ and lived out as Christ lives.
The kingdom of God is ours, but are we really willing to possess it?  Jesus said in Matthew 11:12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. ”  Are we the forceful men and women who in this hour will forcefully take hold of by faith what Father has already given us?  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”  It is up to us to believe that and enter in.

Blessings,
kent

Thankfulness

November 23, 2011

Job 1:21-22
He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”
22In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

Thankfulness


When life is good and the blessings flow it is easy to love God and praise Him for all of His goodness.  When it isn’t our pain and our suffering it is easy to feel sorry for those less fortunate.
Thankfulness is the expression of appreciation and gratitude for life and all that it holds for us, both good and bad.  For the one teaches us to better appreciate and be thankful for the other.  Always be thankful and appreciative of what you have while you have it, but know that nothing in this natural life is forever.
There comes a day when bad things can happen even to good people.  From our perspective we don’t always understand the “why”.  Somehow we have believed that if we lived good enough that none of those bad things that happen in the world around us would touch us.  But in those times when they do we are left with that nagging voice inside of us saying, “Why God???”  In our grief, our torment, our devastation, our hurt and our pain we may feel that our loving God has abandoned us.
When everything was stripped from Job; his livelihood, his children, his position in the community all gone in one foul swoop of the enemy’s hand; what we see that comes out of Job in this moment is a picture of someone who may not understand why, but who understands the character of God and respects His sovereignty and Lordship.  He understood that all that he had, and that he was belonged to God and it was God’s to give and it was God’s to take, so he did not sin by blaming God foolishly.  Our God sees the end from the beginning and from the highest perspective, who am I to say I know better than God?
You see it was never a matter of God not loving Job or disregarding his righteousness.  It was because of Job’s integrity and righteousness that He could allow a test that would bring Job to place of spiritual promotion.  In the end of the book Job gains the revelation that his righteousness, as good as it was, was as filthy rags when He saw God for who He was.   All through Job we see Job’s friends as like his accusers trying to find out where Job has sinned and Job defending his innocence by his righteousness.  In Job 30, Job is expressing to God that he doesn’t  understand God’s apparent cruelty to him.  Lastly Job encounters God himself who puts him to the test and questions him concerning all the mysteries of creation and where he was when all of this took place.  When Job gets a true revelation of just who God really is and how insignificant he is in comparison, Job makes the following statement in Job 42:1-6. “Then Job replied to the Lord: 2“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. 3You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’  It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.  4You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!  I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’  5I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
Who are we to question the wisdom and the workings of God?  “Shall the clay say to the Potter, “why have you made me like this?”  What we do have is the knowledge of God’s character, which is LOVE, and while I may not always understand His hand, I can always trust His heart.  We have the promise in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Philippians 2:13 declares to us, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”  No matter how bad things may seem, God is for us, not against us.  It is often the adversities in our lives that bring forth in us the greater measure of His character and being.
Job concludes by God having Job’s friends take their sacrifices to Job and Job now stands in the place of priest and intercessor on their behalf.  Job is then given a double portion restoration of all  that was lost to him.  I don’t know about you, but I see where Job’s great affliction resulted in Job’s both natural and spiritual promotion.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. (Hebrews 13:15)”.

Blessings and thankfulness for all of you!
kent

The Mystery of the Seed

November 22, 2011

The Mystery of the Seed

John 12:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Behold a mystery is in the seed,
If it remains alone it cannot feed.
Only buried in the earth can it grow,
Only in dying can its true-life flow.

Unplanted, a life for self is barren,
Planting in others is a life of sharing.
Only in giving are we made complete,
Only in dying can life bring forth seed.

Death brings a release of what is held in you.
The death of a seed gives life anew.
Life springs forth out of a forsaken shell,
For us it was released through a cross and nails.

As our Savior became a seed planted in the ground,
He released eternal life to those all around.
He was multiplied through the death that He died,
The resulting harvest is from death now glorified.

We, His believers, are now His seed.
We, likewise, must give our lives for those in need.
Through losing ourselves is our life truly found.
It is His life in us that springs from our ground.

Because we willing became a planted seed,
The Life in us can now meet other’s needs.
The death of the seed has a harvest brought,
It is the price that it is paid for all He has sought.

It is now for us to be the seed planted in the ground,
To loose the captive and those that are bound,
We pour out our lives that His life may through us give,
The mystery is: “that through one death, many may live.”
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
kent

The Light

November 21, 2011

John 1:4-5
In him was life and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not.

The light is Christ who is the light that has come to dispel the darkness of ignorance and sin.  Does darkness want to lay hold of light?  No.  Where light is the darkness can no longer remain.  The secret to overcoming sin, ignorance and the darkness that filled our hearts as a result is to let Christ fill every part; every nook and cranny and closet of our hearts.  Where He is, darkness has no place.
God’s Word and Holy Spirit are the guardians of our mind, heart, soul and spirit.  As we openly, minute by minute invite the Holy Spirit of God to abide in us and search us for any unclean or “dark” place He illuminates us with His grace and begins the process of unseating the strongholds of darkness that don’t want to be expelled.  It is my will submitted to His that is my strength.  I can not do it without Him.  Roman 8:13 “If you live after the flesh you must die: but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, we shall live.”  Life is Christ.  “In Him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28a

Blessings,

kent

Two Kinds of Life

November 18, 2011

Two Kinds of Life

John 12:25
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

There are two kinds of life that pertain to man.  It basically boils down to the one that he is living now in the form of a living and breathing soul.  In the Greek this word is psuche; that which pertains to the soul, life, mind and heart.  The other kind of life is that which in the Greek is called Zoë.  It is the God-life or what we might term eternal life.  If a man is only concerned for the psuche, the soul life that pertains to the here and now, then he will miss the Zoë.  Now when the body stops breathing the psuche lives on, but its state beyond this life is determined by whether is possesses the Zoë life within or not.  Jesus speaks to the fact that there will be a general resurrection of the soul or psuche life, in which all that have died in the body will be raised up.  In John 5:25-29 Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”  Who are the dead?  They are all of those who have possessed the psuche or soul life, but have not possessed the Zoë life, which can only be found through receiving Christ.  Jesus says in John 14:6, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life (Zoë): no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  Again, He says in John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  For us to possess eternal or Zoë life, we must possess the Son.  When we invite the Son of God into our psuche life then that life must give place to the Zoë.  Now, instead of living out of the soul life, we live out of the God life.  It is as the apostle Paul puts it in Romans 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life (Zoe) set me free from the law of sin and death.”  The psuche without Christ abides under the law of sin and death, but when the Zoë comes in, it brings us into the higher law of Zoë.
Simply put, our life without Christ is not life at all but, in reality, is living in death.  Christ in our lives has lifted us out of this death and set us in a place of living out of the eternal Zoë life of Christ.  We must distinguish between the two, so that our lives are no longer psuche centered, but Zoë centered.  “When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:4).”
Blessings,

kent

Where is Your Focus?

November 17, 2011

2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Where is Your Focus?

What is in store for us as we finish the course of this life?  Have we fought the good fight and finished the race in the faith and confidence of Christ?  In the busyness of everyday life we can often loose sight of what our life is for and what the purpose is that we are living for.  We can loose focus of Christ as we begin to focus on this world and being successful.  When life and the world around us become too much our focal point and the purpose for which God created us can quickly become distorted and out of focus.  The home, the marketplace and all of the places that our daily life takes us are really our place of ministry and purpose.  Often we will overlook them if we are not focused on them.
Life is filled with opportunities to bless, to speak encouraging words and to share the love and message of Christ with others.  If our life is in focus then what we are capturing in life will clearly depict Christ and His life in us.
The Lord has a crown of righteousness laid up for those who run the race, fight the good fight and long for His appearing.  What crown or reward is before us as we look at our goals and priorities.  What are we running for and are we in the right race?  At the heavenly awards ceremony we don’t want to be found empty and lacking because we spent our life pursuing the wrong things.  Come to know God’s purpose for your life and then pursue it with all of your heart and with His strength within you.   When we have come to the end of the race, let us not look back with regret because we focused and pursued the corruptible things rather than the incorruptible life and purpose of Christ in us.

Blessings,

Kent

You are the Light of the World

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

John 8:12 declares to us, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  When Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world then it is pretty obvious where the origin of that light is.   It is first in Christ and now abides in us by virtue of the fact that Christ is in us.  We are the lamps of God to show others the way of salvation and to bring His light to illuminate the souls of others so that they in turn may be lightbearers.  It is interesting that the Word doesn’t say that we necessarily share our light by preaching at people.  Jesus says, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  People often hear people saying a lot of things about Jesus and God, but what do you think that they look at to confirm the authenticity of what you may be speaking with your words?  They are going to observe your life.  If you are really this godly person that you speak of then the proof should be in the pudding.  They want to observe the reality of Christ in our lives in our daily living, actions and deeds.  There are many voices saying many things about the way to God.  Why would someone believe that maybe ours is the right way?  Could it be because they see in us someone who is not like the rest of the world?  Could it be because they are seeing someone living out of kingdom principles of love, giving, putting others first, compassion, kindness and self-control?  They probably aren’t going to see perfection, but they must be able to observe the difference through our good deeds.  That is what will draw men to the Lord and make the words you have to share about Christ and salvation more effectual.
Where the light is, there is a conviction of sin.  If the life of Christ is truly evident in our lives there will be those who don’t want to be around you because of the conviction just your presence brings.  You may not say or do anything that is condemning them and yet they will feel the conviction of their sin.  On the other hand others will be drawn to the light because they see that you possess something that can deliver them out of the power and destruction of sin.  Jesus says in John 3: 19-22
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”  Sin, by nature, abides in darkness.  Men that love their sin will not enjoy your company if you are bringing with it the light of God.
When we make the decision to live in truth, it doesn’t mean that there is not darkness left in us.  We experience through acceptance of Christ a cleansing, but there are still attitudes, behaviors and strongholds in our soul that are still in darkness.  The difference is that we have given the Holy Spirit permission to deal and convict us of those areas of sin so that we may gain freedom from their stronghold and influence.  This is an ongoing experience of salvation and work of the Holy Spirit in us.
1 John 1:7 tells us, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Our safety and salvation is walking in the light so that sin has no place to hide in us.  Our greatest place of danger is when we harbor our sins, our secret lust and desires in the darkness.  It is in the darkness that they feed and grow.  James 1:5 reveals the progression, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  We must think of sin as like a cancer.  Early detection and treatment is the key.  The body of Christ is not to be a rumor mill of gossip and condemnation.  It should be a safe haven where we can confess our sins one to another.  It should be a place of healing and restoration.  James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Our accountability to one another as well as to the Lord is what can help us when we are struggling with areas of sin in our lives.  We tend to all want to act like everything is fine with us when we are in Christian circles, because we are all suppose to be so spiritual.  We need times to get intimately real with one another and really confess and pray for one another in the areas where we struggle and we all do.  Find that Christian friend in your life of the same sex that you can bear the secrets of your heart too and they can share with you.  Pray for one another, be accountable to one another and help each other to walk in the light, for you are the light of the world.
Blessings,

Kent

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