Come into Your Gifting

June 29, 2012

2 Timothy 1:6-7
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Come into Your Gifting


    We know that the word teaches that to each one of who possess the Holy Spirit within us, we have gifts imparted to us through God.  Some of us know full well what they are and some of us may still be discovering them.  The important thing in this hour is to know that God has placed certain things in you for your ministry to the body and the world at large.  Often times, even if we know what some of our giftings are, we may not be moving in or exercising them. 
    Sadly, many of our churches do little to really stir up the gifts within us and help us to exercise and develop into the spiritual maturity of them.  What is in my spirit is that God is wanting to greater activate His body in this hour and bring her into a greater maturity.  So much of the church has been kept dumbed down with listening to others and perhaps doing religious activities, but not really moving out in the gifting and abilities that God has placed within each true believer.  God is wanting to activate you.  He is wanting to stir up that gift(s) inside of you and bring them to fruition and demonstration.
    It is important to remember that the gifts are nothing in themselves unless they operating out of love in the power of the Holy Spirit. My sense is that God is beginning to baptize us into a greater revelation, expression and demonstration of the Agape’ love of God than we have ever experienced before.  Get ready, because in this love, self is lost and it becomes all about Jesus and the expression of who He is.  For so long, most of our religious experience has been all about us.  What meets our needs, how we like to worship and what we want to hear.  When we don’t get what we want or someone offends us by what they say or how they act, we simply go somewhere else and the process starts all over.  It is important today to ask God where He wants you and to be faithful and committed to that place until He releases you or moves you elsewhere.  Remember it may not be everything you want.  It may not tickle your ears.  You may even find offense and discomfort there, but instead of leaving and running away you need to stay and grow through it.  You grow through it by exercising the love of Christ with all of its attributes.  You will never come into that if you are always pursuing the path of least resistance. 
    What is important for each  of us as believers is to begin to discern and recognize the giftings in one another.  As we recognize these, we need to acknowledge and affirm them in our brothers and sisters, encouraging them and stirring them up to operate and exercise the giftings that they carry.  The spirit of timidity and fear is reluctant to express itself for fear of failure or rejection.  We need to create a culture of love that provides a safe place for others to develop and come into their gifts.  Obviously this is a maturing process and mistakes can be made along the way.  The mistakes are not to our detriment, but for our growth.  Don’t be afraid of rejection and failure.  Step out in what you know and have by faith.  Holy Spirit will help you fine tune it along the way.  The main thing is always operate your gift out of love, the ultimate edification of others and glory of God.  Our gifts can be a two-edged sword with which we can wound, maim and kill as well as give life and blessing.  How it is used depends upon your heart and the love of God that fills it. 
    As we step into this arena of using the weaponry of our gifts, we cast off of us the spirit of fear and timidity as we embrace the spirit of power, of love and the sound mind of discipline that should go with those gifts and abilities.  They should not be neglected, nor should they be used without the proper leading of the Holy Spirit in the attitude and heart of love. 
    God wants to stir up your gift today.  Don’t fear it, embrace it, but along with it embrace His power, His love and the sound mind of discipline in how to properly operate in it to give life and do the work of God through it. 

Blessings,
kent

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James 2:12-13
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

Exhortation to True Faith and Love

Dig deep into the depth of your heart.
There you will find the love I placed to impart.
Remove the cobwebs of prejudice and scorn.
Be careful how you judge as I have forewarned.

Love isn’t just a pretty lollipop on a stick.
It is the bread and butter of giving that makes it tick.
It isn’t pretentious smiles and greetings so warm.
It is loving the sick, the wounded, the broken, the torn.

Faith is not elegant words spoken to sound great with reason,
It is seed planted by works of love, harvested in due season,
It is seen in obedience and its acts of love,
It is lived out of the Christ within and the grace from above.

God does not pick favorites between the rich and the poor,
The rich is favored most when he gives the more.
The poor and despised inherit a kingdom to come.
He has chosen the foolish to confound the wisdom of some.

Walk in love toward all that are without,
It is kindness and love that will remove the doubt.
It is My loving-kindness that leads men to repentance,
And sets them free from their death sentence.

Be the light in every dark place,
Fill the earth with My glory and grace.
Let not your deeds be evil spoken of,
but walk toward all men in grace and love.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,
kent

Each Day a Page

June 27, 2012

 

Each Day a Page

John 20:30-31
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Today is a gift from the Lord,
A new page in life, clean and pure.
Today life is still attached to that silver cord.
Life continues on for you to endure.

What words today are written on that page?
Are they words of life that you speak and say?
What meaning is life and how do you gage,
The difference you make by words written today.

Will your life speak in a meaningful way?
Or will it be wasted on words without rhyme?
Can lives be changed by the things you pray,
Or is it all written about me and mine?

What will you write upon this clean page today?
Will it add to the book of a God filled life?
Will it speak to others of a Christ centered way?
Or will the words written be of sin and strife?

Every day we choose the words that we write.
Every day is a clean page to begin again.
Will we write of love, hope and all that is right,
Or will we write on our page selfishness and sin?
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
kent

Deceitful Beauty of Sin

June 26, 2012

Matthew 14:3-8
Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet.
6On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much 7that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”

Deceitful Beauty of Sin


As this scripture came before me this morning I was thinking about Herod, being like man, is in charge and king over his life.  Yet, he is not really sovereign, but subject to the influences of the spirits working through people and circumstances around him.
On one hand there is John the Baptist, a type of the Spirit of God that is bringing conviction of sin.  While Herod is resistant to the message, there is that knowing in his spirit that what John is saying is right and that he is in sin, separated from God.  The Spirit of God is drawing him and revealing Itself to him.
On the other hand you have the seducing and manipulating spirit of the flesh represented in Herodias.  She represents the soulish realm and by her very name you can see that she is representative of Herod’s lust and flesh.  She is anti-Christ in her nature, being the one responsible for having John arrested. It doesn’t stop there, while she doesn’t have the authority and power in herself to behead the Spirit of God from Herod’s life, that is her goal.  She must somehow capture the will of Herod to move in only the authority that he has to take John’s life.
It is much how satan moves in our lives.  He can’t directly cause us to turn from God, choose to sin or renounce our faith, but if he can manipulate us into a position that will cause us, by our own will to do so, then he has obtained his victory, enslaving that individual in sin.
So we see in this story how Herodias was the master, sinister manipulator who uses her offspring, her daughter as the instrument of lust to seduce and capture Herod’s will.  Through Herod’s  oath and commitment to that lust, it cost John his head and effectively cut the influence of God out of Herod’s life.  It is interesting that Herodias later persuaded Herod to go to Rome, which was his demise, for he was exiled to Gaul, where she followed him.
Ted Haggard used to say, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”
What a picture of the beauty of sin that seeks to capture our heart and destroy our life.  The ugliness and death of sin is often cloaked in outward beauty, but it is a manipulator and captivator of souls.  Proverbs 7:21-27 portrays it so well, ” With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.  22He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; 23Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.  24Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.  25Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.  26For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. 27Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”  Such was the case of Herod.
The warning is for us to recognize the divisive ways of how satan will lure us into the snare, using our lust and attractive bait.  Behind that veil of beauty and desire is a monster that seeks to devour and destroy our soul.  Beware, that we, like Herod are not led astray by such things.

Blessings,
kent

God’s Epoxy

June 25, 2012

Colossians 3:1-14
Therefore, 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.

God’s Epoxy


How should a child of God clothe themselves?  Religion would take that question and make it about the outward apparel, but God makes that question about how we should clothe our hearts.  We are exhorted to clothe ourselves with godly attributes such as compassion, which is a heart and empathy for others, how they feel, what they are going through, what their needs are.    Kindness speaks to moral goodness, integrity and gentleness.  Humility speaks to the attitude of mind that doesn’t exalt itself over another, not high minded or focused on self abilities. Gentleness is a mildness and meekness with how we interact with others. One definition I heard is that ‘meekness is strength under control’.   Patience is really the ability to walk in these other attributes.  It is the longsuffering, the constancy, the steadfastness and faithfulness to endure long without giving up or changing heart.  Let’s be honest, we can aggravate, wear and agitate one another.  If we allow it, offenses can spring up in a heartbeat.  Our garden of godly attributes can be quickly overgrown with the weeds of offense, strife and unforgiveness.
The epoxy that holds all of these godly attributes together is love; not our selfish, conditional love, but God’s AGAPE love.  Without the epoxy of God’s love the other attributes can’t stand, because it is out of that love that they operate and are maintained.  When we are exhausted and at the end of ourselves where do we go to get this love?  We have to get in His presence.  We have to soak in that nature that supercedes the limitations of our human nature. In that place we re-member ourselves with His body and remember it is not about us, it is about Christ in us.  The death that works in us works the life and love of God in others around us.  Our flesh doesn’t like it and it may well scream of injustice  and unfairness, but it is the love of Father that must come forth from the crushing of the grapes.  He is the new wine and we are the new wineskin.  God’s love is the binding ingredient that keeps the godly attributes from separating  and loosing their potency.  Abiding in the vine is where we feed from the sap of God’s love to maintain our walk of godliness.  Human efforts will fail, but His love will prevail.

Blessings,
kent

Kingdom of Heaven-3
A Matter of the Heart


Mathew 13:19
While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside.

“Our mind must bring our mortal man into agreement with who we are as a spiritual being.”  Jesus likens the gospel of the kingdom unto a seed planted in the ground.  The type of soil that it falls into has everything to do with its success in taking root, growing up and bearing fruit.  This has to do with the condition of our hearts.  In this parable from Mathew 13 Jesus describes a number of conditions in which the seed doesn’t take root or if it does, why it doesn’t remain and become fruitful.
Our hearts, spiritually speaking, are made up of our soul and spirit.  We have already discussed how Christ came to reside in our spirits when we asked him into our hearts.  Our souls are made up or our mind, will and emotions.  These constitute how we relate to the Lord both initially and throughout our relationship with Christ.  It is the realm of the soul wherein lies the battle for the kingdom of heaven.  A person who has received Christ and given themselves to God, has the desire to press in with their soul and possess what they already possess in the spirit.  This is what the Bible terms walking in the Spirit.  What was not possible before, is now made possible because of the power of Christ in us.  Romans 8:2-5 puts it in this perspective, “2For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], 4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. 5For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and  seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.”  Self has been dethroned and Christ has been enthroned in our hearts.  We now operate under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  What we could not do in ourselves, Christ has done for us, so it is now a matter of bringing the soul into alignment with the law that has been written upon our hearts.  It is the law of the kingdom and the Holy Spirit is its administrator.
In this lower realm of heaven where the souls of natural men abide we find that there is still a war going on for our souls.  In this realm we find principalities, powers and rulers of darkness still in operation and launching assaults first to keep us from coming into the kingdom of God, but then once we have, there is still the assaults to rob it from us.  It is our soul that is caught between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.  The difference is that now that we are in Christ we are equipped with spiritual armor, the Word of God and the power of God to do battle with this enemy of our soul.  Still there is a responsibility that lies with each of God’s children to utilize what God has provided us.  There is the need for continual vigilance to align our minds and our thinking with mind of Christ and the Word of God.  If satan can deceive or get a hold of our minds then he can pull us down from our relationship and intimacy with Christ.  He can pervert and pollute our walk and put us again under the bondage of the flesh.  He desires to bring us back again under the mindset of the law of sin and death.  On one hand he seeks to corrupt us and on the other he seeks to condemn us when we step in his corruption.  The more condemnation we feel and give place too the less faith we have to lay hold of God’s promises and His Word.  There is a war in the heavenlies of our soul.  In this realm of the kingdom of heaven the battle is still going on.  We are in it and we must be mindful of it.  Ephesians 6:10-18 exhorts us, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. 14Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace, 16Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. 18Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”  Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”
The soul is the spiritual battleground where the war must be won and the kingdom of God established.  Christ has given us the victory and He has sat down at the right hand of the Father till His enemies be made His footstool.  We are the feet and the body that must carry out the victory and establish the kingdom of heaven in this earth through the power of Christ within.

Blessings,
kent

Life Goals

June 21, 2012

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Life Goals


What  is  a goal, but a target in life that you are aiming at.  The purpose is to hit as near to the center of that target or goal as you possibly can.  Paul gives us His life’s goal here.  This goal isn’t attained in a day, month or year; it is the goal of a life time.  Everyday, every hour and every moment is centered and directed into reaching this goal.  Paul says it is to win the prize.  According to this Greek word, prize (brä-bā’-on) it is a an award to the victor in the games.  This metaphor  is used one other place in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
The exhortation here is that we not live our lives half-heartedly.  You could never win a race that way.  The only way is in the training and discipline of godly living.  Paul is speaking of something higher here than just salvation.  He is speaking to those running to come into the full measure of who they have been called to be in Christ Jesus.  Many of us want to live to just get by and get into heaven.  In that vain you have already disqualified yourself from this race.  The race we are in is not just to go to heaven; it is to set the place for our position in eternity.  If we are willing to be content like the chickens to scratch out our rewards of this earth, then we will never have the vision to soar among the eagles and conquer the heavens.  Paul is exhorting us to have a greater vision, a greater goal and a greater purpose.  He ran with all the fervency and strength of Christ in Him to attain this goal and to wholly be spent on achieving it.  The person who has a revelation of this calling will give everything, be everything, spend everything, because they realize that there is no greater prize than to be all that they can be for Jesus.
Paul is not looking back at past failures that would condemn him and he is not settling in complacency with the things that he has already accomplished.  His eyes are ever forward and upward as he pursues his Savior, the forerunner, example and fullness of his salvation.  Paul is exhorting us to have the goal to be all that Christ has called us too and let all else become secondary to that pursuit of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.  Christ laid hold upon us for His purpose and He is calling us up into His highest.  Do we have the heart and vision to pursue Him into that place?
Paul is so dedicated to this race that he says previously in Philippians 3:7-11, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  Paul had many degrees, accolades, pedigrees and earthly qualification, but he counted all of that but rubbish, because it wasn’t those things that were going to help him to reach his goal.  The primary thing is to know Christ, our Lord, and be found in Him having the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.  It is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.  This is the goal.
The word “know” here is the Greek word “genosko” meaning, to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of, perceive, feel, understand, to become known.  We want to be so much in the face of Jesus that we can’t help but to know Him and He can’t help but know us.  This knowing can be of the most intimate kind.  It is to know the resurrection out of the dead things of this world and this life. We become identified with Christ in every way even to sharing of His suffering and laying down our lives even unto death.  There are places in Christ some of us have only touched on, but Paul is telling us what the heart of a son of God really looks like.  It has the same intense love and purpose as the Son of God.  Partakers of the first resurrection are the one’s coming in Christ to set creation free.  Not all who are believers will be in this company.  Revelation 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”
Christ is calling a people up  higher!  Catch the vision and the calling.  Like Paul, let us set our goal to pursue this high calling in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:15-16 goes on to say, “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”  Let us walk in what we have and know, but let us not be content to stay there.  Come people, let’s press in!  We have a goal before us.

Blessings,
kent


Why does God not answer when we call?


Isaiah 58:3-14
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD ? 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-
when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the LORD , and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

When we pray and seek the Lord do we wonder why He doesn’t respond to us and answer us in our prayers, fasting and seeking Him?  God really brings it home to Israel and to us as spiritual Israel why He may not be answering us.  It is easy for all of us to want to deal with life and religion on a surface level, but God is always dealing with the issues of the heart.   For us to understand how God sees us and responds to us we must be able to honestly evaluate our own hearts.  We think it is our words, or even our actions that God responds too.  The real issue and what every motive, desire and deed stems from are the condition of our heart.  If our hearts aren’t right before the Lord then nothing else in our life will be either.  It doesn’t matter how much we go to church, sing and talk about God if our heart isn’t right before Him.
This passage brings out a number of issues where our hearts need to be in alignment with God’s heart if we are to see Him respond to us and hear our cry?  Are there any areas of unfogiveness, injustice or oppression in our hearts and relationships with others?  Are their areas where we are controlling, overbearing, manipulating?  Are there areas where we lack integrity, honesty and putting our own good before another’s, if so, we need to deal with it?
Where is our heart concerning the homeless, the hungry, the lonely, the imprisoned or the naked?  Do they have any type of priority in our lives?  Are we personally involved in their lives?
What about our own family, do we neglect them, ignore them, turn them away, continually strive with them and fail to meet even their needs?
Do we talk maliciously about others?  Are we critical, backbiting, gossips, or storytellers?  Do our tongues bring life or death in what we speak?
Do we truly fear and reverence Lord and His day?  Do we treat the Holy Day of the Lord as common?  We go to church, if we go to church, pay our respects and our dues and then we are off to do our own pleasures and delights.
Perhaps these are very good reasons that God has given us why we don’t hear from Him and why He doesn’t respond to our prayers and seeking Him.  It starts with the condition of our hearts.
A righteous heart that fears the Lord and honors Him in all its ways will gain the respect of God.   We have to truly be willing to examine our heart in the light of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word if we want true relationship with Him.  Our faithfulness and heartfelt obedience must be the order of each day.  Today is perhaps the day we need to take a true inventory of our hearts.

Blessings,
kent

Exercise

June 19, 2012

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Exercise


In this day and age of predominantly overweight people, physical exercise and health are hot topics.  We all know and recognize their value whether we participate in them or not.  Paul is saying here that, yes, these things have their value, but of even greater and lasting value is the value of godliness or we might say “God likeness”.  In this exercise and image there is promise both in this life and the life to come.
Acts 24:16 says, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.”  Isn’t this an exercise of godliness?  In this attitude, it is not about me, it is about how I affect God and others.  Am I walking in a way that is pleasing to God and loving my fellow man?  Am I walking in identity of who I am in Christ?  Exercise is then seen in the decisions that we make in how we live and conduct our life.  The greater sensitivity we have to the Spirit, the greater agape’ love that we walk in, the more we can walk in the conduct and attitude of godliness.
Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5, “But as for you, you must exercise habitual self-control, and not live a self-indulgent life, but do the duty of an evangelist and fully discharge the obligations of your office.”  Godliness is an exercise of vigilance in our relationship with the Lord.  It is not giving license to the flesh or self-indulgence.  The closer we walk in the light and the practice or exercise of the truth the more we will be developed in this virtue of godliness.  Godliness is the practice and exercise of living in the presence of Jesus and hosting His Spirit in all that we do.
We should honor our temples, be moderate and healthy in our eating and get physical exercise.  More importantly, focus on the exercise of living a godly life.

Blessings,
kent

The Gospel

June 18, 2012

Romans 1:16-17
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

The Gospel


The gospel.  What a familiar subject to most of us.  Maybe it is what we feel like we have heard or even shared a good part of our Christian life.  Let’s just focus in on what it is the Holy Spirit would teach us about it today.
Gospel is the Greek word, “euaggelion”.  It has different aspects of the meaning, but one of the first I found is, “a reward for good tidings”.   If we carry the best news in the world, why should we be ashamed of what others may think of us.  If you found the cure to cancer and you knew it worked, would you be ashamed to share that news with anyone and everyone you thought it might benefit?  The knowledge and revelation that you have could save people’s lives. We would be selfish not to share it with as many cancer patients as we could. Jesus has given us the cure for spiritual death and so much more besides.  Should we not be excited to share it?
Paul goes on to say that this gospel or good tiding is in effect the “power of God for salvation for everyone who believes.”  Should we be concerned that others might reject it or us for having shared it?  No.  It is the Holy Spirit’s job to bring conviction upon those who hear it and even says some will and some won’t receive.  What gives the gospel this God’s power of salvation is that it is a gospel of righteousness revealed by faith.  The great news is, it is not incumbent upon us or others to be good enough to receive or that we must earn it by our goodness.  The righteousness that we need for God’s acceptance is imparted to us by faith in Christ’s righteousness.  Jesus took our sin and imparted His righteousness upon us.  That is the best trade ever.  We traded sin, judgement and condemnation for righteousness, peace and joy along with the acceptance of God to become His sons and daughter and to become the kingdom of God.  Why would we not want the kind of deal where someone takes all of your garbage and gives you all of their riches.  That’s what they call a “no brainer”.  All that is required of us is to believe Jesus is who He says He is, has done what He said He would do and wants to be the fullness of God in me.
The gospel is also the good tidings of the kingdom of God.  It is what Jesus taught throughout His spiritual ministry.  Again and again He gave parables of the kingdom of God to give us word pictures of what He wants us to live and come into.  We comprise His kingdom on the earth, because we are the body of Christ and the expression of the Head.  Each of us, that are in Christ, can express in our own unique ways, Christ, the Spirit of God that indwells us.  We have purpose, direction and meaning in our lives, because we are coming into the identity of who we are in Him.  We  are righteous and are being transformed into righteousness, because we have discovered that Christ is the reason we live, move and have our being.  That righteousness is revealed in faith, because our dependence to live God rightness isn’t dependent upon our ability.  It is the ability of the one who now indwells us by faith as we give way to our natural life and way of thinking to allow Christ through the Holy Spirit to conform us to His mind, His will and His thoughts.  We do that as we walk each day, believing by faith that He who began a good work in us is fully able to complete it unto the day of salvation when we will be caught up fully in His likeness and image.
The good tidings of God’s salvation is the most beautiful thing that could ever happened in our lives.  It is a life altering and life changing event.  It changes the whole course and direction of life in those truly believe and embrace its power through faith.
One of our problems is that religion has often made the gospel very sterile and mandated.  It has become our obligation rather than our joy.  It has become often structured and regimented rather than imparted out of joy and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  For many, getting people saved is like putting notches on their spiritual belt for all the people that they persuaded to come to Christ.  Jesus never taught us to just get people to come to Him, but to make disciples of all men.  Discipleship is a commitment to relationship whereby you can impart into others what Christ has imparted into you.  The Bible doesn’t say that it is the church organizations responsibility.  God says you are the church and as such it is our responsibility.  ‘Wherever two or more are gathered together, there am I in the midst.’  You can have and be the church any time you are breaking bread with others in the name, nature or purpose of Christ.
When we carry the gospel to others, we carry the power to transform and change their lives forever.  That is the power of God in us.  Our faithfulness is in sharing the joy of our salvation and God’s faithfulness is in drawing all men to Himself when Jesus is lifted up.  May we never be ashamed to do our part.  It can make all the difference in the world.

Blessings,
kent

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